Sunday, March 16, 2008

Will They Stay or Will They Go?

Here is a neat article from a recent conference in Computing Science and Engineering Education (Cohoon, Wu, and Luo, published in Proceedings of SIGCSE) about the factors affecting attrition rates for women in Computing Science /Engineering graduate programs. Factors noted by the paper include female student's confidence in their technical abilities, the likelihood of female students to ask questions in class, and their relationships with their advisers.

It's interesting to me that these, and some of the other factors mentioned in the paper, have come up often in conversations with my female peers, but not always in the context of likelihood to complete our programs or even when discussing low rates of women in Computing Science in general. I don't think I've really discussed these with my male peers at all. The paper ends with this statement: "As Lovitts (2001) demonstrated, much of the fault for student attrition from doctoral programs lies not with students, but with the structure and practice of graduate education. The findings of the Cohort study point toward similar conclusions for CSE."

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