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NCWIT Pacesetters University of Washington - Ed Lazowska
I'm Ed Lazowka and I'm a professor of computer science and
engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Here's our philosophy at the University of Washington. Yes,
including more women is important from an equity point of view, and
yes, it's important from a work force point of view. It's
particularly important from a quality point of view. We're
producing computer systems that the whole world is going to use and
we have to have the whole world in its full diversity involved in
creating those systems.
At the University of Washington, students enroll in majors after
they've been there for a year and fulfilled a set of prerequisites.
What we particularly do is to target freshmen and students in our
introductory courses. A few of the things we've done are to
introduce a new freshman honors course that looks at the societal,
and economic, and technological impact of computing. Sort of the
full breathe of impact of the field.
We have a special new honors freshman seminar, it's called Brave
New World, Scientific, Economic and Social Implications of
Computing. We send emails that encourage the high performing
students to consider the major. A set of social events that get,
particularly women, together with faculty, with other students,
with graduate students, with industry professionals, to understand
what the field in like. A forum where they can discuss what their
experience has been in the classes. In general, provide a really
encouraging and supportive environment for prospective students in
hope that they chose to join the major.
One of the indications of the impact of this is we've learned
through watching things carefully over the past few years that
close to half of the students who chose to become majors in
computer science or computer engineering at the University of
Washington, enrolled in the introductory course with no intention
at all of becoming a computer science major.
This encouragement plays a huge roll in reaching out to these
students and causing them to climb on board and realize that they
can contribute to this field and it's a great place for them to
We've added these new initiatives to a set of existing programs,
for example, a Google sponsored summer institute for high school
teachers of math and science. An inspirational teacher event, in
which we invite teachers who've been nominated by our students, and
their partners, in for a dinner with those students, where we talk
to them about what computer science and computational thinking do,
a set of other programs like this.
We haven't met our Pacesetter goals yet but we're well on the way
and we're absolutely committed to it.
Transcription by CastingWords
I sat to share progress on our work to, 1) create a new course called "Brave New World: scientific, economic, and social impact of CS", and 2) create honors sections to intro to programming courses, which attracted higher numbers of female students, and 3) increase female student networking opportunities with faculty.