Did You Know?

Did you know that women now earn more graduate degrees than men?  A new report (PDF) from the Council of Graduate Schools, as reported on by The Washington Post this week, shows that for the academic year 2008-2009 women earned 60% of master’s degrees and 50.4% of doctorates overall, the first time that women have surpassed men in number of doctorates earned.  Also for the first time this year, the Council reported on Computer and Information Sciences as a distinct field, with interesting findings.  For example, during the last academic year there were 12,288 students counted as first-time graduate students in CIS, of whom 5,996 were temporary residents and 3,249 were women. The number of women in CIS programs declined 3.5% from 2008, while the number of men inched up 0.2%. Up until 2009, the average annual rate of increase from 2004 for women had been 4.8%, versus 2.9% for men. The overall year-to-year growth in computer science enrollments was less than 1%.

Do you think of yourself as a collaborator? You should: as a member of NCWIT’s K-12 Alliance, you’re collaborating across secondary/post-secondary, curricular/extra-curricular, public/private, and education/corporation lines to increase the contributions of girls and women in computing. This week we were interested to see several announcements of similar collaborations: “HP Awards $5M for STEM Education,” “Intel Awards $1M to Schools,” and “Samsung Launches $1M Educational Initiative.” Do you have experience with collaborations like these? How can organizations best combine their resources and expertise to have significant impact?

In case you’re not a subscriber to IEEE’s Computer magazine, we’re pleased to be able to share with you an article from the June 2010 issue, authored by Lecia Barker, Joanne Cohoon, and Lucy Sanders, called “Strategy Trumps Money: Recruiting Undergraduate Women into Computing.” This article describes how computing departments can maximize recruitment of qualified female students with a low-cost, “high yield in the short term” strategy. Among the recommendations: focus on students likely to succeed; provide relevant information; and reach your audience. Read the article (PDF).

Entrepreneurial Alliance member Astia announced this week that it has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, representing “a commitment from both organizations to strategically work together to advance the participation of women in high-growth entrepreneurship.” Astia will use funds from the grant to extend its “Doing It Right”  program, a support program for entrepreneurs currently offered in Silicon Valley, New York, London, and Bangalore. (Applications currently are being accepted for Silicon Valley’s November 1-6, 2010 program).  We happily congratulate Astia, and thank the Kauffman Foundation for its support for women entrepreneurs!

Did you know that as an NCWIT member, you’re part of a public-private partnership? Increasingly, public-private partnerships are emerging as one way to make collective national progress on stubborn societal issues. This week President Obama announced the launch of Change the Equation, a CEO-led non-profit organization dedicated to increasing U.S. participation and performance in STEM fields. The organization’s founding members include The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the CEOs of more than 100 prominent corporations. Like NCWIT, the organization was formed to achieve accelerated change in the “pipeline,” from K-12 education to business and innovation.
NCWIT is unique in being the only partnership of this kind to focus specifically on the “T” in STEM – the backbone for nearly every other STEM discipline – as well as the only one to focus on women as the source of technology’s largest, most under-utilized talent pool.
Did You Know? is a brief round-up of news, events, resources, and other factoids that crossed our radar this week and we think are worth sharing. Got an interesting conversation-starter to share? Let us know.

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