Fall 2009

Revolutionizing the Face of Technology

In This Issue

Member Site

Happy Holidays

Save the Date!

The next NCWIT Practices Summit will be held May 18-20, 2010 at Intel’s offices outside Portland, Oregon. Confirmed speakers include:

  • Dr. Christine Alvarado, Assistant Professor, Computer Science Department, Harvey Mudd College
  • Dr. Tim Bell, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Canterbury
  • Angela Byron, Drupal 7 Core Maintainer
  • Dr. Jim Cohoon, Department of Computer Science, School of Engineering & Applied Science, University of Virginia
  • Dr. Wendy Faulkner, Reader, Social Studies Unit, The Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation (ISSTI)
  • Dr. Wayne Jones, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Michigan
  • Dr. Ed Lazowska, Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering; Director, University of Washington eScience Institute; Chair, Computing Community Consortium
  • Dr. Ran Libeskind-Hadas, Professor of Computer Science, Associate Dean of Faculty, Harvey Mudd College
  • Shireen Mitchell, Founder and Executive Director, Digital Sisters/ Sistas, Inc.
  • Dr. David Notkin, Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Washington
  • Denise Paolucci, Founder, Dreamwidth
  • Kirrily Robert, Author, Blogger and Open Source Generalist
  • Joyce Roché, President and CEO, Girls Inc.
  • Dr. Kimberly Scott, Executive Director, Compugirls

Stay tuned for more details to come!


NCWIT Pacesetters

Efforts to increase women’s participation in computing have existed for decades, while women’s presence in classrooms, labs, and boardrooms has stagnated or declined. NCWIT Pacesetters is an aggressive new program that will finally “move the needle,” both within organizations and on a national scale, to diversify IT through the accelerated recruitment and retention of women. Twenty-three organizations from higher education and industry are inventing and implementing change models for use by themselves and others. Senior leaders within these organizations have committed to building teams, actively funding their reform programs, and personally attending regular meetings. These teams came together at the first Pacesetters Roundtable on November 9-10 at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. NCWIT is providing the infrastructure for Pacesetters teams to interact, report on their progress, and hold
each other accountable for measurable results.

At the Roundtable, members developed concepts for the Pacesetters “Net New Women” campaign. This campaign will provide an exciting focus for the program, offering a window into members’ strategies for recruiting, retaining and advancing women in technical leadership roles, and shining a public spotlight on their successes. Each Pacesetters organization will commit to adding a specific number of “new” women to the national technology talent pool through innovative programs in recruiting, curriculum reform, job training, and on-ramping of talent. Finally, after watching the percentage of women in IT decline since the mid-1980s, Pacesetters Net New Women gives us the opportunity to show that we are visibly “moving the national needle” on women’s participation.


Women in IT: The Facts

The United States Department of Labor estimates that by 2016 there will be more than 1.5 million computer-related jobs available. Highly-qualified women are well-positioned to move into these open jobs, yet the industry is failing to attract this talent. Furthermore, women already employed in the technology industry are leaving at staggering rates. Failing to capitalize on this talent threatens U.S. productivity, innovation, and competitiveness.

Women in IT: The Facts brings together the latest findings from recent research on technical women to:

  • Tell a “coherent story” about the current state of affairs for technical women, synthesizing the best available data into one, easy-to-access resource.
  • Provide an overall summary of the key barriers to women’s participation in technology and promising practices for addressing these barriers.
  • Serve as a benchmark for measuring the future effects of national industry efforts to increase women’s participation.
  • Serve as a benchmark for companies who wish to use the report to gauge their own internal progress.

Women in IT: The Facts is sponsored by the NCWIT Workforce Alliance, whose input was crucial in determining how available data could be used to help companies take action and change their departments to attract, retain, and advance more women. The full, 48-page report and a dynamic-fold “teaser” card is being targeted for distribution to hiring managers, executives, and the broad spectrum of companies with integral IT departments.


NEW Program-in-a-Box: Supervising for Diversity

Research has found that the supervisory relationship is one of the most significant factors in an employee’s decision to leave or stay with an organization. To help prepare supervisors for this responsibility, NCWIT has created its first Program-in-a-Box “box set”: Supervising-in-a-Box.

Supervising-in-a-Box is designed to create highly productive teams that reduce employee turnover, capitalize on diverse innovative thinking, and ultimately strengthen their bottom lines. The Supervising box set provides resources for addressing unconscious bias and institutional barriers that affect five different supervisory job functions. Each box in the set focuses on a single job function:

  • Employee Development focuses on ensuring that employees contribute their best ideas and talents to the team.
  • Employee Recruitment/Selection focuses on hiring the best talent.
  • Team/Project Management focuses on running an effective, innovative, and productive team.
  • Performance Review/Promotion Processes focuses on equitably advancing the best talent.
  • Supervisors as Agents of Change focuses on working for cultural reform with other managers and company leaders.

The first two of these five boxes were launched at the 2009 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, and the rest will follow in the months to come. This box set is particularly targeted to corporations and fills an important niche for resources that help companies retain and advance women in IT.


NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing

Competition for the next NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing just closed with over 2,500 girls in the system, which is up 700% from last year! We’ll shortly begin reviewing and scoring applications using an automated graded system and we could use your help. This is a short-term volunteer opportunity for technical and non-technical employees, college students, and faculty. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact Ruthe Farmer at ruthe.farmer@colorado.edu by Monday, November 30.

The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing, sponsored by Bank of America, recognizes young women at the high-school level for their computing-related achievements and interests. The Award was designed to enrich the IT talent pool by encouraging young women’s computing pursuits, providing social networking cohorts for applicants and award-winners, and connecting award-winners with universities and employers. Since the Award’s inception in 2007, NCWIT has honored 81 winners from 14 different states in five cycles. This fall, with support from the Motorola Foundation and Google, NCWIT is offering both the national award and three pilot “local affiliate” competitions in the states of Texas, Illinois, and Florida. With this “franchise” model we hope to scale the Award so that we are recognizing more than 1,500 students annually by 2012, with continued growth to follow.


2010 House Caucus

On February 18, 2010, NCWIT will partner with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) to host a U.S. House of Representatives Diversity and Innovation Caucus session on K-12 computing education. This U.S. House Caucus already is focused on diversity and innovation in STEM, but our goal with this session will be to bring their attention to the technology part, or “T”, of STEM. We are planning an action-oriented session that makes the case for teaching computer science in K-12 public education; talks about the importance of innovation and diversity of thought in computing; and provides real data sets and resources that U.S. House members and staff can use in their districts to spread the message about the critical need to teach computing in K-12 schools. Currently we are compiling data from College Board on computer science advanced placement (AP) exam-takers and intended CS majors, sorted by congressional district; and we plan to match these data against other data sets, such as the available computing jobs in each district. We also created a new Talking Points card, Moving Beyond Computer Literacy: Why Schools Should Teach Computer Science, and are developing other resources for House members and the general public to use in talking about the importance of computing and defining computing as an educational discipline.


FREE Advice from Experts in Your Field

Are you a computing educator or industry professional who wants to recruit and retain women and underrepresented minorities in your organization? Do you have questions about what’s the right way to do it? Would you like to discuss your plans and programs one-on-one with an expert social scientist?

NCWIT manages a FREE service for members of its Alliances that supports two hours (and a few more if needed) of telephone consultation with a member of the NCWIT Social Science Advisory Board (or another member of the NCWIT community with relevant knowledge, if an SSAB member is not available). The service is funded by the National Science Foundation. NCWIT Alliance Members need only complete this survey to request the service.

Consultation is available on a variety of topics, and the NCWIT SSAB is made up of social scientists with a wide range of expertise. Examples of consultation topics include:

  • Research and Assessment Design and Implementation (evaluation planning; survey development; program/event evaluation and assessment; diversity assessment)
  • Recruitment and Outreach (developing a focused strategic plan for recruitment; recruitment material development; developing outreach programs; targeted hiring of faculty)
  • Data and Research on Women in Computing (statistical data on women in sciences, computing, and related disciplines; pedagogical research; gender as related to work and promotions; research on women and technology entrepreneurship)

Who doesn’t love free, expert advice? If you’re interested in taking advantage of this service, but have questions before you complete the survey, please contact Stephanie Hamilton at stephanie.hamilton@colorado.edu.


NCWIT Symons Innovator Award

The NCWIT Symons Innovator Award honors an outstanding woman who has successfully grown and funded an IT business. The Award is named in memory of Jeanette Symons, founder of Industrious Kid, Zhone Technologies, and Ascend Communications. The 2009 winner of the NCWIT Symons Innovator Award is Anousheh Ansari -– Chair, CEO, and Co-founder of Prodea Systems, former Co-founder and CEO of Telecom Technologies, Inc., and the first woman private explorer in space.

We will announce and honor the winner of the 2010 Symons Innovator Award at NCWIT’s annual summit, May 18-20, in Portland, Oregon, in conjunction with the Oregon Software Association. Sponsorship of the NCWIT Symons Innovator Award is a distinctive way of showing support for technical innovation, technical entrepreneurship, and a rich, diverse, talent pipeline. By spotlighting women who start IT companies, this award offers sponsoring organizations a one-of-a-kind opportunity to receive national recognition and publicity for supporting innovation. If you or your company is interested in participating as a sponsor of the Symons Innovator Award, please contact Ruthe Farmer at ruthe.farmer@colorado.edu.




ISTE NECC 2009: Gotta Have IT

The 30th Annual National Educational Computing Conference (NECC), sponsored by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), was once again the destination for one of NCWIT’s largest resource distribution projects. As it did two summers earlier, the NCWIT K-12 Alliance commissioned 5,000 Gotta Have IT kits to give away at NECC 2009. Gotta Have IT is an all-in-one computing resource kit designed to give educators a select set of high-quality posters, computing and careers information, digital media and more. The kit’s materials are designed to build awareness and inspire interest in computing for all students, but are especially inclusive of girls.

In conjunction with ISTE we also hosted a free Gotta Have IT webinar in October, intended to raise awareness about girls and computing and to advise Gotta Have IT kit recipients about how to make the best use of the kit. NCWIT collected the contact information for all kit recipients and plans to use these data in extensive follow-up evaluations, so that we can learn more about how computing educators use the resources, which ones are most effective, and what resources might be lacking.


NCWIT Alliance Updates

NCWIT’s Alliances bring to bear the experience of nearly 200 organizations nationwide. Together they comprise the community of practitioners who identify, contribute, and pilot promising practices, and who undertake institutional change. The NCWIT Social Science Advisory Board provides these Alliances with a firm footing of research and advisory expertise. By sharing resources and leveraging successes, this national community of practitioners helps NCWIT to create an amplified voice for women in IT.

Our alliances continue to grow as they develop programs and strategies for increasing women’s participation in IT. The K-12 Alliance Strategic Planning Subcommittee is preparing for an upcoming conference call to discuss leveraging its member organizations to increase diversity. The Academic Alliance (AA) is forming a new organizational structure that will include an Executive Committee comprised of the AA Co-Chairs and AA Project Leaders. The Workforce Alliance will hear from guest speaker Dr. Caroline Simard, Vice President of Research and Executive Programs at the Anita Borg Institute, who will share insights from her latest research report, Retaining a Diverse Technical Pipeline, During and After a Recession. The Entrepreneurial Alliance members are taking par in Astia’s initiative – We Own It Summit, a one-day invitational summit exploring the motivations, metrics, money, and myths around women entrepreneurs in high-growth companies.

New alliance members include Botball, DePaul University, Illinois State University, Kean University, North Carolina State University, Salish Kootenai College, St. Louis University, University of South Carolina Upstate, University of Central Florida, University of Illinois Chicago, University of New Haven, Zynga, GalaxeSolutions, Girls in Tech, The Next Women, Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship, Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, and Women 2.0.

Interested in joining an NCWIT Alliance? Please email us at info@ncwit.org.


NCWIT 2009 Conference Presence

NCWIT members have represented us at a broad range of conferences and events in 2009, including:

January Chicks Who Click Boulder, CO
January Rebooting Computing Conference Mountain View, CA
February Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day Chicago, IL
March Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education Chattanooga, TN
March Women Business Leaders Conference Scottsdale, AZ
March Information Technology Research Institute Fayettville, AR
March YouthSx: Tech Conference San Francisco, CA
March Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship London
March National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair St. Paul, MN
April Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Portland, OR
April American Educational Research Association San Diego, CA
May NCWIT Meetings at Google Palo Alto, CA
June NSF Joint Annual Meeting Washington, D.C.
June NSF/NCWIT BPC Meeting Washington, D.C.
June Women in Engineering Pro-Active Network Conference Austin, TX
June American Association for the Advancement of Science/ Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology Minority Women Faculty Workshop Washington, D.C.
June Future of Computing Conference Washington, D.C.
July National Educational Computing Conference Washington, D.C.
July Microsoft Faculty Summit Redmond, WA
August National Academies of Engineering Panel San Diego, CA
September MESA Teacher Training Boulder, CO
October Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Tucson, AZ
October Frontiers in Education San Antonio, TX

Have ideas for upcoming conferences where you think we should be? Let us know at info@ncwit.org.


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