NCWIT Newsletter — August 2010




Encourage Students to Choose Computer Science


NCWIT Member Spotlight: Columbia University
Collaborative learning in CS can increase retention and shrink the gender gap

The Emerging Scholars Program (ESP) at Columbia University is a peer-led workshop designed to encourage talented students to stay in the CS major after introductory classes. Following the Peer-Led Team Learning teaching paradigm, a student leads the workshops with one or more problems from the CS field — from robotics to natural language processing. Students work as a group to analyze the problems and brainstorm solutions.

Since its founding in 2008, results appear successful. Fifty-seven students have completed ESP in nine different sections. Of those students who have participated in ESP and declared majors, 45% of them have declared CS. ESP student Diana Cimino commented: “Through the varied workshops, I was exposed to interesting people and ideas, realizing the breadth of an entirely fascinating subject in which I had no previous experience.”

Visit Columbia’s ESP program at and for more about Peer Led Team Learning (PLTL) check out the great resources at

Columbia University is a NCWIT Academic Alliance (AA) member and a Round 3 Seed Fund Recipient.



NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund: Apply Now for Round 7!

The NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund awards members of NCWIT’s Academic Alliance (AA) with start-up funds (up to $10,000 per project) to develop and implement initiatives for recruiting and retaining women in computing and information technology. To-date, 19 AA member organizations have received a total of more than $265,000 over the first six rounds. We thank Microsoft Research for its support for the Seed Fund.
Seed Fund Submit proposals for Round 7 by October 18, 2010! To apply:

  • Become a NCWIT AA member
  • Submit a 3-page proposal focused on recruiting women or under-represented populations into computing
  • Submit a letter of support from your department chair or dean

Review the complete proposal submission guidelines at

The NCWIT Academic Alliance is a growing community of more than 120 post-secondary institutions seeing to increase the recruitment and retention of women within their departments. Academic Alliance members receive evaluation and assessment assistance, access to leading-edge best practices, and support for acting as change agents in their home institutions. Project teams currently focus on the following areas: New Member Recruitment and Engagement, Sharing Practices, Webinar Series, REU Toolkit, and the Seed Fund. To find out more about the Academic Alliance, including how to join, visit us here.


NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing: Get Involved This Fall

Award The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing recognizes the computing aspirations of young women and introduces them to leadership opportunities in the field. By generating visibility for these young women in their local communities, the Award encourages their continued interest in computing while attracting the attention and support of educational and corporate organizations.
Applications for the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing open on September 13, 2010! All U.S. high-school young women in grades 9-12 are eligible to apply for the National Award or a local Affiliate Award. Visit for more information.

NCWIT members are invited to engage with the Affiliate Award programs as volunteers, sponsors, and committee members. Visit to connect with an Affiliate Award.

The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing is sponsored by NCWIT Investment Partner Bank of America at the national level and by NCWIT Strategic Partner Microsoft at the local level, with additional support from the Motorola Foundation and Google.


Find the Right NCWIT Resource for You

NCWIT resources are researched, effective, and FREE. Find the right NCWIT tool for recruitment and retention. Here are some examples of recent and relevant resources for encouraging students to choose computer science:
  • Pair Programming-in-a-Box provides all the components needed to successfully use pair programming methods in courses. View all Boxes at


New NCWIT Alliance Members

NCWIT’s Alliances bring to bear the experience of over 200 organizations nationwide. Together they comprise the learning community that contributes and pilots promising practices, guides NCWIT’s research and strategy, convenes at NCWIT’s annual summit, and undertakes institutional change.

Interested in joining an alliance? Please email us at

New members include:

  4-H Avon Barclays
  California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo California State University Monterey Bay California State University Pomona
  EMC Fort Valley State University GalaxE.Solutions
  Golden Seeds Harrison College Hiram College
  ITA Software Kent State University KISS Institute for Practical Robotics
  Lewis & Clark College MOUSE, Inc. MTV Networks
  Northwest Missouri State University Oracle Roger Williams University
  Rowan University Seattle Central Community College Southern Polytechnic State University
  Springworks Tennessee Technology
Center at Shelbyville
Thomson Reuters
  University of Arkansas-Information Technology Research Institute University of Maryland University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  Virginia State University Webgrrls International WellPoint
  Women Who Tech    


* NCWIT (2010). America’s Got Talent but Not Enough Is Going into Computer Science.


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Copyright @ 2010. National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)
University of Colorado, Campus Box 322 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0322 • 303.735.6671


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