Understanding similarities and differences in students across first-year computing majors

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Department of Computer Science


In November 2014, Michigan Technological University's departments of computer science (CS) and electrical and computer engineering (ECE) were selected to participate in NCWIT's Extension Services for Undergraduate Programs (ES-UP). ES-UP, supported by NSF and Google, is designed to help departments develop strategies to recruit and retain women in computing and engineering majors. Both departments have enrolled a low number of women in their programs and have had lower retention rates than other departments on campus. As part of the ES-UP initiatives, we surveyed our first-year students in Fall 2015 and followed up with a second survey in January 2016. The goal of the initial survey was to learn what attracted students to their major while the second focused on their experiences during their first semester. Examination of the students across the four majors in the two departments in separate colleges provides a unique perspective on students' attraction to and persistence in computing-related majors.

Publisher's Statement

© 2016 IEEE. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1109/FIE.2016.7757695

Publication Title

Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE