Seminar #2 Prompt #3

This is the third "CPATH Milestone" from the success matrix. Please consider the questions and post your answers here. If you prefer to see the original document as a grid see the "Success Matrix #3" link on the right side of the blog under "Meeting Notes."

CPATH Milestones:
Recognize the changes in student demographic

ICER Strategic Initiatives: Improve the quality of computing education; Attract more people to the field; Improve retention in the major; Strengthen interdisciplinary connections; Meet human and infrastructure needs

Success Indicators:
What are the 3-4 indicators that show we understand the ICER initiatives and are in a better position to address them?

Key Action Steps:
What are the steps needed to enable us to align with our success indicators?


Responsibility: Group, Subgroup, or Individual


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  1. Sam Says:

    It would be great to quantify some of the qualitative statements we all agreed on by establishing base lines so that we can measure our progress.

    One of the ICER strategic initiatives is:

    Improve the quality of computing education
    - Attract more people
    - Improve retention
    - Strengthen interdisciplinary connection
    - Meet needs

    It would be great to get some historical data about the number of students who entered college as computer majors, overall college drop out rates, and inter-major transfer rate for those who switched majors and stayed in college. Computer knowledge is so valuable and many employers do not require a completed college degree from talented hires.

    Data would really help us gage the success of any initiative we might pursue. The data will enable us to get a “before and after” snap shot to measure the impact of any pilot project we implement locally.

    Sam Batarseh- Intel Corporation

  2. Sam Says:

    Recognizing the changes in students’ demographics can also be viewed by private employers as recognizing the savings of off-shoring.

    Our future needs for computer educated individuals might increase or even decrease based on the changes in the economic and political systems around the world.

    With traditionally closed countries becoming more open like China and Russia, many private companies might opt for the least expensive solution to the low number of gradates from engineering schools in the US. That can be easily supported with the advancements in communication methods and low cost global virtual work teams.

    On the other hand, off-shoring of critical computer jobs can have negative impact on our local and national communities:

    • The challenges of cultural and language barriers when engineers do not understand the requirements from management and the needs of the target market
    • Dependence on foreign talent and its impact on corporate and national security

    Private employers respond well to changes that impact their financial statements. Thus, private employers need to see a win-win situation. Private employers’ vested interest would be protecting intellectual property and the impact of hiring globally on a company’s long term viability and survivability in a market.

  3. Walter Di Mantova Says:

    The difficulty in following students as they disenroll or move to other majors is daunting -- and getting this information is something that all educators would like to do more of.

    The Los Rios Department of Institutional Research is going to attempt such a research project on student enrollment in CIS over the next few months; perhaps we can invite the head of research to attend?

  4. Walter Di Mantova Says:

    If our experience with other students in other high-pressure (e.g. nursing) degrees is any indication, intellectual challenge is only part of the story. Attrition is often tied to so-called "life issues" and this likely cuts across disciplines. We can not assume that we are losing engineers just becuase of academic factors.

  5. Marc Olsen Says:

    Along with obtaining historical data, we should set a pathway for continuing to collect this data to track immediate changes in student enrollment.

    It may also be good to know some background on the students. For example, knowing when they began to pursue a track which would lead them to the CIS and Engineering fields. This may help us to determine better when and where our efforts could best be applied.