AnitaB.org Insights

NAS Report Helps Universities Support Their Students

Computer science departments across the nation have seen a surge in course enrollments over the last few years. Many wonder what this will mean in terms of providing resources to students, and how this surge will affect both the field of computing and our society as a whole.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) conducted a study to not only explore these questions but to find “relationships between the surge and current and potential gains in diversity in the field.” By looking at existing data and key findings, the Committee on the Growth of Computer Science Undergraduate Enrollments came up with action items and strategies for computer science departments to best support their students.

“While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, all institutions of higher education need to make strategic plans to realistically and effectively address the growing student demand for these courses,” said Dr. Susanne Hambrusch, Co-chair of the committee and Professor of Computer Science at Purdue University.

Supporting and increasing diversity within our academic community is an important part of the AnitaB.org mission. One of the ways we achieve this is through our BRAID (Building, Recruiting, And Inclusion for Diversity) initiative. Co-led by AnitaB.org and Harvey Mudd College, BRAID partners with 15 universities across the nation, helping computer science departments increase the percentage of women and underrepresented minority students in undergraduate programs. Our 15 BRAID schools also participate in a groundbreaking research study that documents the changes that take place within these departments over the course of the initiative.

Dr. Ann Gates, a BRAID Department Chair, was one of the committee members who worked on the NAS report. Dr. Tracy Camp and Dr. Jodi Tims, members of the AnitaB.org Academic Advisory Council, and Dr. Valerie Taylor, an AnitaB.org Board member, also served on the committee.

We at AnitaB.org encourage academic leaders to learn more about how they can best support their computer science students during this surge in enrollments. Read the full NAS Report, and learn how you can support BRAID.