In September 2017, Drexel University’s College of Computing & Informatics (CCI) launched a major strategic initiative to grow the number of women students across the College. The Women in Tech Initiative is centered on the recruitment and retention of women in undergraduate majors, with the expressed goal of increasing women students in CCI by 50% in five years. To achieve this objective, CCI is poised to lead a cadre of partners at this seminal moment in the history of technology and education. Dean and Isaac L. Auerbach Professor Yi Deng, PhD, is sending a bold message about the future of computing not only in CCI, but across higher education and industry. “With the ever-increasing need for technology talent across industries, and the invaluable perspective and skills that women bring to the field, we cannot afford to ignore the current imbalance in our classrooms and in the workforce,” says Dean Deng. “We will work with our University, College, and industry colleagues and partners to address this need head on, in building robust programs and resources that are both scalable and sustainable.”
Setting forth a rigorous strategy grounded in in the analysis and assessment of data, CCI has identified several key areas of focus for the program.
- A strengthened pipeline of women students will be established through new and reinvigorated relationships with high school and two-year colleges, as well as through an enhanced approach to recruitment and marketing driven by deepened engagement and targeted messaging.
- The creation of 100 scholarships for women pursuing information and technology education at CCI will serve as the foundation of expanded financial support and increased access. These may range in scholarships for women in computer science, software engineering, and across all of our computing programs.
- Innovations in curriculum and pedagogy coupled with expanded student support systems will ensure an inclusive culture that advances and encourages the social and professional development of all CCI students, while purposefully fostering retention and bolstering college-wide interactions of women students and faculty members. “It’s really important for women to inspire and motive each other—especially in a fast-changing industry like technology,” says Farheen Zehra, BS computer science '18.
Why We Need More Women in Tech
The lack of women in the technology field is not only a social issue, but it is also an economic issue. As information and technology (I&T) continues to transform the nation’s economy, the lack of women in the I&T workforce directly affects the nation’s economic future. Drexel University’s College of Computing & Informatics (CCI) understands that the underrepresentation of women in these fields is among the largest contributors to the worsening I&T talent shortage.
The Women in Tech Initiative addresses head on a problem that has not only persisted, but worsened in recent years. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 26 percent of professional computing positions in the U.S. workforce are held by women. With 3.5 million computing-related job openings expected by 2026, it is more important than ever to recruit, retain, and advance women in the technology field.
CCI's Competitive Advantage
As one of the major and most comprehensive I&T programs in the country, CCI features a rich portfolio of academic programs in the computing and information science fields with a large, dedicated and world-class faculty. Situated in an industrial and technological hub and the 6th largest city in the nation, Drexel offers tremendous opportunities for students. In addition to a commitment to diversity and inclusion within the College, CCI aims to significantly increase the number of women receiving I&T training across the University through its Drexel Techforce Initiative in the coming years.
Proud Member of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Academic Alliance and Pacesetter Program
Drexel CCI is a member of the National Center for Women & Information Technology’s (NCWIT) Pacesetter Program—an elite and unique fast-track program where committed corporate, entrepreneurial, and academic leaders work across organizational boundaries, finding innovative solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems in an intensive, uncompromising, and accelerated pursuit of advocacy and change.
As an Academic Alliance (AA) member of NCWIT, CCI is one of more than 575 distinguished colleges and universities charged with implementing institutional change in higher education. For more information, please visit the Academic Alliance at NCWIT website.
CCI Faculty NCWIT Academic Alliance Representatives