CCO - Retention (Deep Read)

These resources provide in-depth information and strategies to help you retain students in your programs. View other resource collections designed for Community Colleges. To view resources en Español, visit our Latinas in Technology page.

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This poster highlights the importance of community colleges to educating the computing workforce. It connects various pathways into community colleges, outlines some of key components of the community college experience, and details some of the high paying technical careers these students will be working toward. The poster was developed in collaboration with the Academic Alliance's Community College Subcommittee.

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Article in CACM describing the obstacles girls face in entering computing and how the Aspirations program seeks to overcome those. Great overview of issues, the Aspirations program and ways individuals can get involved with the program.

EngageCSEdu

EngageCSEdu is a website that encourages the development of more inclusive learning environments in introductory computer science (CS) courses by helping faculty to easily share their most effective retention practices. EngageCSEdu offers thousands of projects, homework assignments, and other course materials that are searchable by computer science knowledge area, programming language, and more. All course materials are developed by faculty members nationwide and evaluated for quality by an interdisciplinary team of computer scientists, learning scientists, and diversity experts.

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Encouragement increases self-efficacy, which is the belief in one’s ability to successfully perform a task. Because we are more likely to engage in tasks that we believe we can perform successfully, encouragement may be especially useful for attracting women to male-stereotyped fields such as computing.

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Stereotype threat harms both performance and motivation by reducing our feelings of competence, belonging, and trust in our colleagues. However, careful thought, education, and regular assessment of diversity practices can help minimize incidents of stereotype threat.

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Women and minority students are not in computing courses under the same conditions as their white male classmates. Instructional practices offer opportunities to level the playing field and improve the retention of underrepresented students.

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Making curricula more relevant to students, introducing collaborative learning into the classroom, and tailoring courses to different student experience levels benefit female as well as male students. 

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The décor of physical spaces conveys messages about the kinds of people who belong there and the kinds of activities that should be done there. Understanding this influence allows us to actively craft an environment that makes a broad range of people feel welcome in computing.

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Talking Points
Institutional barriers (IBs) are policies, procedures, or situations that systematically disadvantage certain groups of people. IBs exist in any majority-minority group situation. When an initial population is fairly similar (e.g., in male-dominated professions), systems naturally emerge to meet the needs of this population. If these systems do not change with the times, they can inhibit the success of new members with different needs. IBs often seem natural or “just the way things are around here.”
Pair Programming-in-a-Box: The Power of Collaborative Learning

Pair programming is a collaborative learning method in which students program in pairs instead of individually. This approach significantly improves college students' programming competency and increases the likelihood that both male and female students become and remain computer science majors. During pair programming, students work in tandem at one computer while completing regular programming assignments. The "driver" controls the mouse and keyboard while the "navigator" makes suggestions, points out errors, and asks questions.

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Regional Celebrations-in-a-Box contains resources for organizing small conferences designed to increase the participation, retention, and advancement of technical women. This program-in-a-box is a compilation of materials and practices from Regional Celebrations around the country that bring women together in supportive communities for professional growth. The box includes advice about planning and materials for program elements such as intentional role modeling, group and individual mentoring, networking, and ways to share accurate career information.

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This guide, created by the Extension Services program, helps you find resources for attracting undergraduate women into computing and retaining them through graduation, including tools for assessing your efforts. For more information on the Extension Services program, visit https://www.ncwit.org/project/extension-services-undergraduate-programs.

REU-in-a-Box

REU-in-A-Box: Expanding the Pool of Computing Researchers explains the benefits of undergraduate research in computing with content developed by experienced computing faculty mentors and undergraduate researchers. This resource focuses on the interactions of a faculty mentor with one or a few students and the processes by which they conduct and share the outcomes of their research. 

Strategic Planning for Retaining Women in Undergraduate Computing
This workbook presents some guidelines for strategically planning a multi-pronged approach to retain females — and all students — in undergraduate computing programs of study. For more information on the Extension Services program, visit https://www.ncwit.org/project/extension-services-undergraduate-programs.
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One of NCWIT’s most popular reports has been updated for 2016. See what’s changed and what hasn’t. Women in Tech: The Facts brings together the latest findings from recent research on technical women including the current state of affairs for technical women, a summary of the key barriers to women's participation in technology, promising practices for addressing these barriers, and tools to support your organization's change efforts.