“Achieving Gender Balance through Creative Expression” by Bares, Manaris, McCauley and Moore

  • ©William Bares, Bill Manaris, Renee McCauley, and Christine Moore




    Achieving Gender Balance through Creative Expression



    Increasing gender balance in computing is widely recognized by academic institutions, industry, and government agencies as an imperative. This paper describes how providing opportunities for creative expression early on and throughout the four years of an undergraduate computing degree achieves this goal. Prior studies have demonstrated that opportunity for creative expression has a positive effect on recruitment and retention of women, while conversely, lack of opportunity for creative expression has a negative effect. We describe our approach, integrated into a four-course sequence combining computing and the arts, so that other institutions may consider adopting it. Results of a six-year longitudinal study show that these courses attract, retain, and graduate 46% female students, while the corresponding number in our ABET-accredited Computer Science curriculum is approximately 20%. The paper concludes with general observations and suggests directions for future action in CS curricula design.

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