Since 2007, student enrollment in computer science (CS) at the university level has increased by about 120%. However, despite this level of interest, there are major gaps in CS education that result in fewer girls and students from underrepresented minority groups entering the field, argues Marie desJardins, associate dean in UMBC’s College of Engineering and Information Technology and professor of computer science, in The Conversation.
desJardins has worked to improve CS education at the K-12, undergraduate and graduate levels. She particularly sees boosting the availability of K-12 CS education, and the skills of teachers teaching CS at that level, as necessary to engage more diverse students in the field. While these students have great potential, she writes, they often “do not have the preparation or encouragement to succeed in college-level work.”
In her article, desJardins notes that New York City recently announced a plan to invest $81 million to establish CS instruction in every public school by 2025. Other cities, including Chicago and San Francisco, have dedicated funding to bolster CS instruction in public schools.
As the demand for CS classes has increased, teachers with little CS in their background have been asked to teach these courses. desJardins emphasizes a need for consistent standards across states to attract and retain highly qualified CS teachers.