ASSESSING AND RESPONDING TO THE
Growth of Computer Science
Committee on the Growth of
Computer Science Undergraduate Enrollments
Board on Higher Education and Workforce
Policy and Global Affairs
Computer Science and Telecommunications Board
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
A Consensus Study Report of
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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This activity was supported by the National Science Foundation, Grant Number 1551227. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-46702-5
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-46702-0
Library of Congress Control Number 2018930771
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/24926
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Assessing and Responding to the Growth of Computer Science Undergraduate Enrollments. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC. https://doi.org/10.17226/24926.
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COMMITTEE ON THE GROWTH OF COMPUTER SCIENCE UNDERGRADUATE ENROLLMENTS
JARED COHON, NAE,1 Carnegie Mellon University, Co-Chair
SUSANNE HAMBRUSCH, Purdue University, Co-Chair
M. BRIAN BLAKE, Drexel University
TRACY CAMP, Colorado School of Mines
DAVID E. CULLER, NAE, University of California, Berkeley
SUSAN B. DAVIDSON, University of Pennsylvania
BRIAN K. FITZGERALD, Business-Higher Education Forum
ANN Q. GATES, University of Texas, El Paso
CHARLES ISBELL, Georgia Institute of Technology
CLAS A. JACOBSON, United Technologies Corporation
MICHAEL McPHERSON, Spencer Foundation
ERIC ROBERTS, Stanford University
VALERIE TAYLOR, Argonne National Laboratory
JODI TIMS, Baldwin Wallace University
SARAH E. TURNER, University of Virginia
EMILY GRUMBLING, Program Officer, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB)
ADRIANA COUREMBIS, Financial Manager, Board on Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW)
JANEL DEAR, Administrative Assistant, CSTB
JON EISENBERG, Director, CSTB
KATIRIA ORTIZ, Research Associate, CSTB
TOM RUDIN, Director, BHEW
1 Member, National Academy of Engineering.
BOARD ON HIGHER EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE
RICHARD K. MILLER, NAE,1 Olin College of Engineering, Chair
LAWRENCE D. BOBO, NAS,2 Harvard University
ANGELA BYARS-WINSTON, University of Wisconsin, Madison
JAIME CURTIS-FISK, The Dow Chemical Company
APRILLE ERICSSON, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
RICHARD FREEMAN, Harvard University
PAUL J. LEBLANC, Southern New Hampshire University
SALLY F. MASON, University of Iowa
FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ, Los Angeles Community College District
SUBHASH SINGHAL, NAE, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
KUMBLE R. SUBBASWAMY, University of Massachusetts Amherst
SHELLEY WESTMAN, Protegrity
MARY WOOLLEY, NAM,3 Research!America
TOM RUDIN, Director
AUSTEN APPLEGATE, Senior Program Assistant
ASHLEY BEAR, Program Officer
LIDA BENINSON, Program Officer
FRAZIER BENYA, Program Officer
JAIME COLMAN, Senior Program Assistant
MARIA LUND DAHLBERG, Associate Program Officer
LEIGH MILES JACKSON, Senior Program Officer
IRENE NGUN, Research Associate
LAYNE SCHERER, Program Officer
1 Member, National Academy of Engineering.
2 Member, National Academy of Sciences.
3 Member, National Academy of Medicine.
COMPUTER SCIENCE AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS BOARD
FARNAM JAHANIAN, Carnegie Mellon University, Chair
LUIZ ANDRÉ BARRASO, Google, Inc.
STEVEN M. BELLOVIN, NAE,1 Columbia University
ROBERT F. BRAMMER, Brammer Technology, LLC
DAVID CULLER, NAE, University of California, Berkeley
EDWARD FRANK, Cloud Parity, Inc.
LAURA HAAS, NAE, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
MARK HOROWITZ, NAE, Stanford University
ERIC HORVITZ, NAE, Microsoft Research
VIJAY KUMAR, NAE, University of Pennsylvania
BETH MYNATT, Georgia Institute of Technology
CRAIG PARTRIDGE, Raytheon BBN Technologies
DANIELA RUS, NAE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
FRED B. SCHNEIDER, NAE, Cornell University
MARGO SELTZER, Harvard University
JOHN STANKOVIC, University of Virginia
MOSHE VARDI, NAS2/NAE, Rice University
KATHERINE YELICK, NAE, University of California, Berkeley
JON EISENBERG, Director
LYNETTE I. MILLETT, Associate Director
VIRGINIA BACON TALATI, Program Officer
SHENAE BRADLEY, Administrative Assistant
JANEL DEAR, Senior Program Assistant
EMILY GRUMBLING, Program Officer
RENEE HAWKINS, Financial and Administrative Manager
KATIRIA ORTIZ, Research Associate
For more information on the CSTB, see its website at http://www.cstb.org, write to CSTB, National Research Council, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001, call (202) 334-2605, or e-mail the CSTB at email@example.com.
1 Member, National Academy of Engineering.
2 Member, National Academy of Sciences.
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Acknowledgment of Reviewers
This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: W. Richards Adrion, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Fiona Doyle, University of California, Berkeley; Michael Franklin, University of Chicago; Mary Hall, University of Utah; Jennifer Hunt, Rutgers University; Louise Kirkbride, Broad Daylight, Inc.; Edward Lazowska, University of Washington; Greg Morrisett, Cornell University; Linda Sax, University of California, Los Angeles; Chris Stephenson, Google, Inc.; and Telle Whitney, Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.
Although the reviewers listed here provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Susan Curry, University of Iowa, and Philip Neches, Teradata Corporation. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.
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Computer science (CS) and information technologies have transformed all sectors of society, businesses, and government. Today, the transformation continues and much is driven by artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, information security, and data science. A wide range of jobs in virtually all sectors demand computing skills to an unprecedented extent. And every academic discipline finds itself incorporating computing into its research and educational mission.
The centrality of computing has manifested itself in dramatic increases in enrollment in undergraduate computer science courses in colleges and universities. Institutions have to make decisions ranging from allocating resources to accommodate demand to imposing limits on course enrollments and course offerings, and managing increasing enrollment of non-majors. In addition, with industry hiring the majority of new Ph.D.s, growing the number of faculty is a challenge for many departments. Strains on educational institutions are significant; there is a growing sense of an impending crisis in many universities.
This committee was created at the request of the National Science Foundation to explore this enrollment crisis and to make recommendations to address it. The charge to the committee prompted the committee to address three sets of questions:
- Computer science enrollments are at an all-time high and non-majors are increasingly seeking to enroll in not only introductory but also more advanced CS courses. How can institutions best manage high enrollments? What are drivers of the increased interest in CS courses? What predictions can we make about future enrollments?
- The pressures and demands felt in computer science departments and their universities are real, severe, and current. What strategies and tactics can institutions adopt to respond in the short as well as the long term?
- Computer science is among the least diverse disciplines in terms of both gender and minority representation. Most institutions have adopted strategies to increase diversity, but what will the increase in enrollments mean for diversity? How can the surge of interest enhance or provide new opportunities for increasing diversity?
The committee, with input from several participants in a workshop convened for that purpose and the support of Academies staff, worked diligently to respond to these questions. We hope this report and our findings and recommendations will assist the academic community, the National Science Foundation, and others to formulate and implement effective actions for what is a pressing and important problem.
PLAN OF ATTACK
The committee, which comprised experts with a wide range of perspectives and experiences, tapped data sets and reports from many different sources. A public workshop was held in August 2016 to bring before the committee additional experts from government, industry, and academia.1 The committee sought to marshal evidence to determine the extent of the enrollment crisis, to form a view of future enrollment trends, and to understand the effects of enrollment growth on diversity. Not surprisingly, the data sets were not as complete or extensive as the committee would have liked. Nevertheless, the committee believes its conclusions and recommendations are well supported. The limitations of the evidence are identified and discussed in the relevant chapters.
This report is the result of a group effort by the Committee on the Growth of Computer Science Undergraduate Enrollments. The committee recognizes that its analyses, deliberations, and results would not have been possible without the insights and contributions from a number of briefers and agents of the Academies. First, the committee thanks staff and members of the Computing Research Association, especially Betsy Bizot and Jane Stout for their assistance in interpreting the results of their recent CS enrollments surveys, and for stimulating discussion of this topic more broadly, and to Yan Timanovsky for assisting with data from the Association for Computing Machinery’s NDC survey (a survey of “Non-Doctoral-Granting Departments in Computing”). The committee also thanks all
1 See Appendix B for the workshop agenda and list of panelists.
of the speakers at the August 2016 workshop for their insights—they stimulated important discussions among members of the committee, and provided helpful data and perspectives.
Special thanks go to Professor John Bound and Nicolas Morales from the University of Michigan for their thoughtful analysis on the computing labor market in the Academies-commissioned paper appended to this report. Professor Lynne Molter and Allan Moser with the Consortium for Undergraduate STEM Success also contributed a commissioned summary analysis of undergraduate participation in computing at the sample of institutions in the consortium. Professor Linda Sax and Dr. Ellen Stolzenberg each helpfully provided information from the Higher Education Research Institute’s Freshman survey about student intent to major in computer science. Last, Professor Jennifer Hunt of Rutgers University also provided a helpful assessment on the economics of enrollment in computing in the form of a white paper, which has also been appended to this report.
Jared Cohon and Susanne Hambrusch, Co-Chairs
Committee on the Growth of Computer Science
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Context on the Computing Disciplines
Data Used in the Development of This Report
2 HISTORICAL DEGREE PRODUCTION IN COMPUTING
Historical Production of CIS and CE Bachelor’s Degrees
CIS Bachelor’s Degrees Going to Foreign Students
Variation in CIS Bachelor’s Degree Production by Institution Type
Responding to Enrollment Surges
3 THE CURRENT LANDSCAPE OF COMPUTER SCIENCE ENROLLMENTS
Bachelor’s Degree Enrollment in Computer Science
Hybrid Models of Computer Science Majors
Challenges with Faculty Hiring
Actions Taken or Considered in the Face of Current Enrollment Growth
4 DRIVERS OF THE RECENT INCREASE IN ENROLLMENTS IN COMPUTING
The Changing Landscape of Computing
5 IMPACTS OF ENROLLMENT GROWTH ON DIVERSITY IN COMPUTING
Historical Diversity of Undergraduate CIS Degree Recipients
Recent Degree Production for Women and Underrepresented Minorities in Core CS, CE, and IS
Diversity of Computer Science Enrollments
Diversity Impacts Associated with Enrollment Growth
Active Efforts to Increase Diversity in Computing
Leveraging Booming Enrollments to Increase Diversity in Computer Science and Related Fields
Institutional Resources and Constraints
Institutional Mission and Character
Institutional Responses to Increasing Computer Science Enrollments
A Template for Assessing the Current Computer Science Enrollment Challenge
C Commissioned Paper: Workforce Trends in Computer Science
D White Paper: Does the Recent Increase in Computer Science Degrees Reflect Increased Demand?
E Summary of Data from the Consortium for Undergraduate STEM Success
F List of WebCASPAR/IPEDS Database Query Parameters Used to Obtain Data in Report Plots
Boxes, Figures, and Tables
1.2 The Scope of Computer Science and Related Disciplines
3.1 UIUC: A Case Study of a Hybrid Program
2.1 Historical year-to-year U.S. production of bachelor’s degrees in computer and information science and support services
2.1.1 Number of CS majors before and after enrollment limitations at two universities in the 1980s
2.2 Number and share of U.S. degrees in CIS awarded to students designated as temporary residents of the United States (foreign students)
2.3 Bachelor’s degree production from 1987 to 2015 in CIS and CE at public, private, and for-profit institutions reporting to IPEDS
2.4 Total annual bachelor’s degree production over time for public, private, and for-profit institutions (all academic fields)
2.5 CIS bachelor’s degree production by category of institution
2.6 Historical CIS bachelor’s degree production at not-for-profit doctoral (Ph.D.-granting) institutions, including very-high-research-activity institutions, high-research-activity institutions, and other doctoral institutions, 1987-2017
2.7 Historical annual degree production in CIS by level of degree
3.1 Average number of declared CS majors (freshman through seniors) per unit at U.S. Taulbee (computing Ph.D.-granting) institutions since 2006
3.2 Share of undergraduates participating in CS bachelor’s degree programs at the beginning and end of the undergraduate career
3.3 Non-major enrollment and major enrollment in computing courses in 2005, 2010, and 2015 at doctoral- and non-doctoral-granting units responding to the CRA Enrollment Survey
3.4 Average enrollment by CS majors in three representative computing courses at a subset of doctoral-granting units from 2005 to 2015
3.5 Average enrollment by CS majors in computing courses at a subset of non-doctoral-granting units from 2005 to 2015
3.6 Growth in the number of non-majors per course at responding doctoral institutions from 2005 to 2015
3.7 Non-major growth in computing courses at a subset of non-doctoral institutions from 2005 to 2015
3.8 Total B.S. enrollments in CS and CE degree programs for the CAHSI founding departments, 2011-2016
3.9 Aggregate enrollment in introductory, intermediate, and advanced computing courses by course level during the period 2009-2014 for eight historically black colleges and universities, five liberal arts colleges, and one large public university
3.10 Percent of non-majors (STEM and non-STEM) in three levels of courses at small samples of different institution types, taken from aggregate (by institution type, averaged between 2009 and 2014) data
3.11 Percentage of students responding to CRA Student Enrollments Survey in an introductory computing course who stated that the course was required for their degree program, by major
3.12 Change in the average number of CS majors, CS teaching faculty, and CS tenure-track faculty per department relative to 2006 levels, for institutions responding to the 2016 CRA Taulbee Survey
3.13 U.S. degree production for 2015 in several STEM fields, defined using the “detailed” CIPs from IPEDS (here, “Computer Science” corresponds to the entire 11 series of CIPs)
3.14 Employment distribution for 2016 CS Ph.D. graduates at Taulbee institutions
3.15 Ph.D. production in CS and related fields; for-profit Ph.D.s have been excluded
3.16 Actions taken to manage access to courses or major at doctoral-granting institutions
3.17 Actions taken to manage access to courses or major at non-doctoral-granting institutions
4.1 The number of computer workers (defined as “Computer Systems Analysts,” “Computer Scientists,” and “Computer Software Developers”) holding bachelor’s degrees (in any field) over time compared to the cumulative number of CIS bachelor’s degrees awarded over time (1994-2015), in millions
4.2 Share of computer workers who hold bachelor’s degrees (in any field) between 23 and 29 years of age, and share of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in CIS each year from 1994 to 2015
4.3 Share of workers in computer and mathematics and other occupations, for (A) all workers (age 18-64); (B) all college graduates; (C) young college graduates (age 22-26); and (D) young native (U.S.) college graduates
4.4 Relative median wages for bachelor’s degree holders (in any field) working in computer occupations (relative to those of all employed bachelor’s degree holders) for two age groups: 25-29 and 30-34
4.5 Median hourly wages of workers in computer/mathematics and other occupations for (A) all workers (age 18-64); (B) all college graduates; (C) young college graduates (age 22-26); and (D) young native college graduates
4.6 Projected employment growth for occupations in STEM and STEM-related fields (social sciences not included), 2014-2024
4.7 Percentage of 2015 job openings that value coding skills, by income level
4.8 Projected annual job openings and current degree production in broad STEM fields
5.1 Overview of diversity in the U.S. tech workforce
5.2 Percentage of reported CIS bachelor’s degrees conferred to women at for-profit, not-for-profit, and all institutions
5.3 Share of all reported U.S. CIS bachelor’s degrees conferred, by race/ethnicity for all institutions and not-for-profit institutions
5.4 Share of reported CIS bachelor’s degrees conferred to underrepresented minority groups at all and not-for-profit institutions
5.5 Number of CIS bachelor’s degrees reported from 1990 to 2015 for Hispanic or Latino, non-Hispanic black, American Indian or Alaska Native, and non-Hispanic white students, by “institutional control,” including for-profit status of institution
5.6 Number of CIS bachelor’s degrees reported (1990-2015) for female and underrepresented minority female students, by for-profit status of institution
5.7 Number of computing bachelor’s degrees awarded by CAHSI institutions: total and broken out for women, Hispanics, and underrepresented minorities, 2005-2016
5.8 Reported share of bachelor’s degrees in core CS, CE, and IS at not-for-profit institutions conferred to women between 2009 and 2015
5.9 Share of bachelor’s degrees in core CS, CE, and IS at not-for-profit institutions reported for black, non-Hispanic students between 2009 and 2015
5.10 Share of bachelor’s degrees in core CS, CE, and IS at not-for-profit institutions reported for American Indian or Alaska Native (non-Hispanic) students between 2009 and 2015
5.11 Share of bachelor’s degrees in core CS, CE, and IS at not-for-profit institutions reported for Hispanic or Latino students between 2009 and 2015
5.12 Share of female and male undergraduates at U.S. not-for-profit institutions participating in CS bachelor’s degree programs at the beginning and end of the undergraduate career
5.13 Percentage of students in underrepresented groups at U.S. not-for-profit institutions participating in CS bachelor’s degree programs at the beginning and end of the undergraduate career
5.14 Median percentage of female students in courses surveyed—doctoral and non-doctoral granting units
5.15 Median percentage of female students in courses surveyed in doctoral-granting units—public versus private
5.16 Number of underrepresented minority students in representative courses in doctoral-granting units
5.17 Median percentage of underrepresented minority students in courses surveyed (excluding MSI)—doctoral-granting and non-doctoral-granting units
5.18 Share of all U.S. CIS associate’s degrees conferred by race/ethnicity
5.19 Share of all U.S. CIS associate’s degrees conferred to women and to underrepresented minority groups
C.1 Relative median earnings in IT occupations, 1976-2006
C.2 Employment in computer science
C.3 Relative median annual wage by age group
C.4 Share of immigrants by occupation
C.5 Number of bachelor’s degrees by field
C.6 Degrees in computer science versus workers in computer science by graduation year
D.1 Degrees awarded by field. CS denotes computer and information science; EE denotes electrical engineering
D.2 Bachelor’s degrees awarded by field and citizenship. CS denotes computer and information science; green card denotes lawful permanent residents
D.3 Bachelor’s degrees awarded by field as a share of all bachelor’s degrees
D.4 Difference between shares of bachelor’s degrees awarded in engineering and computer science. CS denotes computer and information science
D.5 Share of workers in computer and related occupations
D.6 Median hourly wages of workers in computer and related occupations
2.1 Change in Average Number and Institutional Share of CIS Bachelor’s Degrees Produced per Institution by Not-for-Profit Institution Type, 2009-2015
4.1 Main Bachelor’s Degree for Those Working as Computer Scientists (2009-2014)
4.2 Share of CS Bachelor’s Degree Holders Employed in Select Industries (2009-2014)
5.1 Demographics of CS Undergraduate Program Enrollments at Taulbee (Subset of CS Ph.D.-Granting) Institutions
5.2 Demographics of CS Undergraduate Program Enrollments at NDC (Non-CS Doctoral) Institutions
5.3 Number and Mean Scores of AP Computer Science-A Test Takers by Ethnicity (2010-2015)
6.1 Partial List of Schools and Colleges of Computing That Include a Computer Science Department
C.1 Main Bachelor’s Degree for Those Working as Computer Scientists (2009-2014)
C.2 Occupation for Those Who Obtained a Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree (2009-2014)
C.3 Degree Wage Premium for Those Working as Computer Scientists (2009-2014)
C.4 Occupation Wage Premium for Those Who Have a Computer Science-Related Degree (2009-2014)
C.5 Diversity Measures by Occupation and Bachelor’s Degree (2009-2014)
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