Five faculty honored for increasing women’s participation in computing

NAME Lecturer Laura Alford, along with four faculty in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, have been awarded with a Second Place Excellence in Promoting Women in Undergraduate Computing Award. | Medium Read

The collaborative team at the University of Michigan includes Dr. Mary Lou Dorf, Dr. Valeria Bertacco, Dr. Amir Kamil, Dr. Laura Alford, and Dr. William Arthur; the Team’s Extension Services consultant is Dr. Angela Arndt. They have received the NCWIT Extension Services Transformation (NEXT) Award. Sponsored by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and Google, the NEXT Awards honor academic departments that show significant positive outcomes in increasing women’s meaningful participation in computing education.

Recipients of the NEXT Awards demonstrate outstanding achievement as clients of NCWIT Extension Services for Undergraduate Programs (ES-UP), a program that helps academic departments of computing develop high-impact strategies for recruiting and retaining more women students with advice that is customized to local needs and conditions.

“Not only are we proud to recognize these department for their remarkable results, but we’re also proud to recognized the ripple effect these institutions create among the computing community at large,” said NCWIT COE and Co-founder Lucy Sanders. “They are setting an example for other institutions – reinventing their culture by establishing better habits and practices for attracting and keeping a range of students in their computing programs.”

In the U.S. in 2015, women earned 57% of all undergraduate degrees. Yet, women earned less than one-fifth of all computer and information sciences undergraduate degrees ( Departments can change the gender imbalance of their student body through deliberate efforts directed at the local system that creates and maintain gender imbalance.

As a second place winner, The University of Michigan Naval Architecture and Marine and Engineering and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science team received $50,000.

Each NEXT Award recipient is a client of MCWIT Extension Services (ES-UP) – a program that connects academic departments (“clients”) with expert Extension Services Consultants (ESCs) who provide informational and motivational assistance in identifying opportunities, resources, allies, and assessment plans to craft high-impact reform efforts for recruiting and retaining more women in their programs. Diverse institutional clients nationwide work to achiece quantifiable results such as increased enrollments, declared majors, and graduation rates for women students in IT and allied engineering programs. Find out more at


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