“Increasing Women’s Participation in Computing at Harvey Mudd College,” by Christine Alvarado, Zachary Dodds & Ran Libeskind-Hadas, 2012
The shortage of women and minorities in computer science (CS) is well documented. Although success stories exist , few colleges and universities are realizing substantial, sustained changes. Harvey Mudd College (HMC), a small liberal-arts college with a focus on science and engineering, is an exception to this trend. Starting 7 years ago, HMC has increased the percentage of women students in the computer science major from an average near 12% to around 40%, where it has remained steady for the past four years. We achieved this growth through three pervasive, yet straightforward, changes to our program targeting first-year students, each addressing a common problem that prevents women (and many men) from pursuing computing-related majors. This paper details these three changes in the hope that they might help broaden participation at other institutions. We describe the obstacles overcome and lessons learned, and we present specific results and recommendations for adapting them to different environments.
SDG Topics: Quality Education / Gender Equality.