Mines awarded Academic Alliance Seed Fund grant from NCWIT and Microsoft Research
GOLDEN, Colo., Jan. 20, 2010 – Colorado School of Mines has been awarded $10,000 in funding from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Academic Alliance Seed Fund. The Seed Fund, which was founded in 2007 with capital from Microsoft Research, provides academic institutions with funding to develop initiatives to increase the participation of women in the fields of computer science and information technology.
Through an initiative titled “Recruiting Women into Computer Science through Student Collaboration in CS101,” Mines will use the funding to recruit women into computer science by offering an innovative approach to instruction in its introductory computer science class. The project will investigate the use of formal learning groups as well as in-class computer games that require teamwork and cooperation among classmates. NCWIT studies show that collaborative learning can improve student-retention rates and help women gain confidence in the male-dominated field of computer science.
The Seed Fund grant will support the thesis work of Julie Krause, a computer science graduate student at Mines, who will work closely with Assistant Professor of Mathematical & Computer Sciences Irene Polycarpou, who is leading the NCWIT-funded initiative at Mines.
“The percentage of women completing bachelor’s degrees in computing-related fields in the U.S. is low and declining,” Polycarpou said. “An introductory-level course that is appealing to women is essential to help motivate female students to pursue a degree or continue their studies in computer science.”
Currently, only 15 percent of undergraduate students enrolled in Mines’ computer science program are female.
NCWIT is a national coalition of over 200 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to strengthen the computing workforce and cultivate technology innovation by increasing the participation of women. NCWIT’s work connects efforts to increase women’s participation in technology along the entire pipeline, from K-12 and higher education through industry, academic, and entrepreneurial careers. For more information, visit www.ncwit.org.
ABOUT COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES
Founded in 1874, Colorado School of Mines was established to serve the needs of the local mining industry. Today, the school has an international reputation for excellence in both engineering education and the applied sciences, with special expertise in focus areas of earth, energy and environment. For more information, visit www.mines.edu
Irene Polycarpou, Assistant Professor of Mathematical & Computer Sciences / 303.273.3462 / firstname.lastname@example.org