Westminster Aims to Increase Women in Tech Through NCWIT Pacesetters

Oct 28, 2016

Oct. 28, 2016 College is selected to join the National Center for Women & Information Technology's elite Pacesetters SALT LAKE CITY - Westminster has been selected as one of 28 colleges and universities in the nation for the National Center for Women & Information Technology's (NCWIT) Pacesetters program, which will run through 2018.   The first of its kind, the Pacesetters program brings organizations together to work across corporate and academic organizational boundaries and identify effective ways to recruit or retain a specific number of technical women. These efforts are made within an aggressive timeframe in which the organizations hold shared accountability to themselves and the public for achieving a common quantifiable goal.   "We are committed to increasing our efforts to attract women and traditionally underrepresented students to our computing programs," said Dr. Helen Hu, Westminster professor of computer science. "Whether it's through initiatives like introducing student-centered collaborative learning into our introductory CS classes or our efforts to make homework assignments more engaging and relevant to our students, we are proud that NCWIT has recognized our ongoing initiatives to attract women to STEM."   Thanks to these efforts, the number of female students graduating with Westminster's Computer Science and Computer & Information Systems degrees is increasing. In the 10 years before these initiatives, only 14% of Westminster's computing degrees were earned by women. The graduating classes of 2015, 2016 and 2017 have had over 28% female students.   In 2014, while women held 57% of all professional occupations in the U.S. workforce, they held only 26% of professional computing occupations. Additionally, in 2013, while women held 57% of all bachelor's degrees, they held only 18% of computer and information sciences bachelor's degrees. These numbers often mirror the demographics of individual technology institutions. Pacesetters work to change the gender imbalance within their organizations through strategies that result in large and sustainable impact.   "Real, progressive change doesn't happen in siloes, and what gets measured, gets done," said NCWIT CEO and Co-founder Lucy Sanders. "Our Pacesetters take advantage of this innovative, boundless computing community, collaborating alongside esteemed NCWIT peers and researchers to define and measure goals based on researched-based strategies for creating change for women in tech." About NCWIT: The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a non-profit community of more than 650 universities, companies, non-profits and government organizations nationwide working to increase women's participation in computing and technology. NCWIT equips change leaders with resources for taking action in recruiting, retaining and advancing women from K-12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers. Find out more at www.ncwit.org.

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Arikka Von

About Westminster

Westminster is a private, independent, and comprehensive college in Salt Lake City, Utah. Students experience the liberal arts blended with professional programs in an atmosphere dedicated to civic engagement. With the goal of enabling its graduates to live vibrant, just, and successful lives, Westminster provides transformational learning experiences for both undergraduate and graduate students in a truly student-centered environment. Faculty focus on teaching, learning, and developing distinctive, innovative programs, while students thrive on Westminster’s urban Sugar House campus within minutes of the Rocky Mountains.

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