The goal of CRA-W (Computing Research Association Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research) is to increase the number of women, including minority women, who participate and succeed in computer science research at every stage of the research pipeline. Achieving these objectives requires that an increasing number of women in academia start and progress to the next stage. Alas, the percentages of women in academic positions in PhD-granting Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) departments indicate that women continue to be severely underrepresented. The failure to capitalize on the creativity of female researchers represents a huge opportunity cost to the U.S. economy and national security to grow our nations leadership in technical innovation. CRA-W will (1) develop programs to increase the number and successful promotion of women CSE faculty to tenured and full professor and (2) conduct comparative evaluation of participants in our programs versus non-participants. Our programs apply the unifying framework of Social Cognitive Career Theory, which finds that interest in and choice of a particular career path will be increased by interventions that improve one or more of the following: (1) outcome expectations (understanding and valuing the rewards of a particular outcome), (2) self-efficacy (a belief that one can successfully achieve an outcome), and (3) social supports that help one persist and overcome obstacles. Our long-term group and individual mentoring programs aim to make participants aware of the rewards of an academic career; to help participants develop self-efficacy through increased knowledge, skills, and confidence; and to connect participants to the computing research and education communities and to each other to further their success. Participants and research mentors attend an initial group workshop, re-connect in small mentoring groups yearly, and meet every three to four months electronically.

This ADVANCE PAID project seeks to improve equity in the discipline, through a coordinated suite of mentoring, role modeling, community building, and professional development workshops. The program adaptations are based on prior published research and our experiences and evaluation of programs in our portfolio. For example, the programs use results that show that individual faculty mentoring in other fields improve faculty success with respect to top venue publication, grant funding success, and promotion. In addition, the CRA Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP) will provide the first ever, longitudinal and national study of the factors that lead to successful academic careers for faculty in computing. In particular, CERP will evaluate whether our CRA-W intervention programs are effective at increasing the participation and success of faculty women in computing. The evaluation efforts of CERP will yield a national faculty comparison database that will become a powerful national resource for the CSE community and for informing the wider research community on influencing success within academic careers.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Human Resource Development (HRD)
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Jessie Dearo
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Computing Research Association
United States
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