June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Minorities in Engineering
14.388.1 - 14.388.11
CSTEP: Transferring Computer Science Community College Students to Four-year Universities
Computer Science Transfer Programs (CSTEP) is a series of coordinated programs and activities specifically designed to successfully bridge computer science students from community colleges to four-year universities and beyond. In this paper we describe the program and its main objectives, present some evaluation results, and include the lessons that we learned. We found that the personalized advising service is crucial for the success of the program and identified specific adjustments that community college instructor and students need to make when they come to a four- year university.
In recent years, alarming national statistics and trends have shown declining graduate and undergraduate enrollment, graduation rates, and participation of minority groups in Science and Engineering (S&E) fields, and in Computer Science in particular. According to NSF’s Science and Engineering indicators 2006, underrepresented minorities did not enroll in or complete college at the same rate as Caucasians. In 2003, the percentage of African-Americans and Hispanics who completed a bachelor’s or higher degree were 18% and 10% respectively, compared with 34% of Caucasians3. In addition, the graduation rate for African-Americans and Hispanics in Engineering has remained at 11% over the last ten years1. Underrepresented minority students are also less likely than other ethnic groups to be enrolled in research institutions and instead, a high percentage of them (47%) enroll in two-year institutions. The intentions of first-year undergraduate students to major in S&E3 are equally alarming. Although 9% of these students planned to major in engineering in 2004, only 2%-5% had plans to major in Computer Science. At the graduate level, enrollment in S&E has declined since 2003 mainly as a consequence of the decline observed in foreign students attending US universities, which declined 12% in Engineering and 23% in Computer Science.
Motivated by these statistics and trends showing a dramatic decrease in undergraduate and graduate enrollment in Computer Science, the University of South Florida (USF) together with Hillsborough Community College (HCC) has implemented a series of coordinated programs designed to broaden the participation of Hispanics as well as other underrepresented minority students in Computer Science. The proposed programs, called CSTEP (Computer Science Transfer Programs), establish an educational pathway and provide the support that students need to make successful transitions at critical points in their educational journey from community college to the baccalaureate level and from the baccalaureate level to the graduate level. As enrollment in computer science decreases and the State University System of Florida puts more demanding admission restrictions on community college students, it is crucial for these transfer students to have programs such as CSTEP to prepare and support them in this transfer process.
Kobus, M., & Guerrero, C., & Labrador, M., & Perez, R. (2009, June), Cstep: Transferring Computer Science Community College Students To Four Year Universities Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5865
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