New UCLA Initiatives Aims to Increase Women in Computing Education and Technology Careers

The UCLA School of Education and Information Studies has launched “Momentum: Accelerating Equity in Computing and Technology,” a research initiative to diversify computing and technology, with an intensive focus on the recruitment of women and people of color into computing education and technology career pathways. The effort is sorely needed. Women currently hold just 26 percent of computing jobs.

“The persistent lack of diversity in computing and technology requires that we achieve greater momentum in seeking evidence-based solutions,” said Linda Sax, a professor of higher education at UCLA and founding director of Momentum.

Momentum will engage in critical research and actions to diversify participation in computing and technology fields. Their work, supported by Pivotal Ventures (an incubation and innovation company founded by Melinda Gates), the National Science Foundation, and others, will examine interventions from the perspectives of students, faculty, administrators, and academic leaders, catalog what is known about efforts to diversify computing, and inform best practices for broadening participation in computing.

The first step will be to conduct a baseline survey of first- and second-year students enrolled in computing courses at the Center of Inclusive Computing institutions, beginning in Spring of 2021. The goal is to learn about their college experiences and exposure to “best practices,” including efforts to promote inclusive environments and make introductory computing courses accessible to students without prior computing experience.

“Focusing on the first- and second-year students taking any computing courses will allow us to gather detailed data on the experiences that promote and discourage students’ recruitment and retention in computing fields, especially for women, women of color in particular, and students from other marginalized groups, including those who do not start out as computing majors,” Professor Sax said.

Dr. Sax is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. She earned a Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Filed Under: DiversitySTEM Fields


RSSComments (0)

Leave a Reply