The NEXT Awards celebrate past and present Extension Services (ES) clients for excellence in recruiting and retaining women in computing education. The awards reflect and reward practices that NCWIT recognizes as having the most significant impact on the long-term goal of increasing the number of women in information technology and other computing-related fields.
Grand Prize recipients receive up to $100,000 for a strong commitment to and proven results in recruiting and retaining women into undergraduate computing programs. The University of Pennsylvania, Department of Computer and Information Science utilizes multiple strategies aligned with the NCWIT Undergraduate Systemic Change Model to influence its recruitment and retention of women. Included in those strategies are intro classes for students with or without prior programming experience; multiple major paths through either engineering or arts and sciences; strong relationships with teachers and counselors at more than 1,000 area high schools; faculty and teaching assistants’ engagement in conversations about active learning and inclusion; and intentional partnerships with the Office of Admissions to convey a commitment to gender parity. Also, strategies and policies in curriculum, pedagogy, and student support have significantly reduced women’s attrition in the major from 13.6 percent in 2006 to 6.1 percent in 2017.
The Collaborative Team includes Dr. Zachary Ives and Dr. Christian Murphy. The team’s Extension Services Consultant is Dr. Rita Powell.
Second Place recipients receive up to $50,000 for a strong commitment to and proven results in recruiting and retaining women into undergraduate computing programs but have not yet achieved the magnitude of results seen in the first place recipient. New York University Tandon School of Engineering, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, assembled a strong leadership team to address their challenges and align their strategic plan with NCWIT strategies for research-based recruitment, retention, and evaluation. Focusing on pedagogical and student support activities, Tandon revised the CS introductory course sequence; increased the use of undergraduate students, including many female students, to help less advanced students; and initiated community building activities to create a more welcoming environment. Utilizing their baseline Tracking Tool data, the team pinpointed where to focus their recruitment efforts and implemented strategies to convert admitted women into enrolled students. The result was an increase from 10.7 percent women enrolling in CS in 2014 to 44 percent for the fall 2019 cohort.
The Collaborative Team includes Dr. Phyllis Frankl, Ms. Nicole Johnson, Ms. Cindy Lewis, and Ms. Elizabeth Ensweiler. The team’s Extension Services Consultant is Dr. Jennifer Goodall.
Honorable Mention was awarded to Michigan Technological University, Department of Computer Science.