Retaining Women in Undergraduate Information Technology Programs

Retaining Women in Undergraduate Information Technology Programs

Tona Henderson (Rochester Institute of Technology, USA)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-815-4.ch170
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While the experiences of women in computer science (CS) are well documented (Cohoon, 2001, 2002; Computing Research Association, 2002; Margolis & Fisher, 2001), information technology is a relatively new discipline (Denning, 2001; Mitchell, 2002) and does not enjoy the same level or scope of inquiry. This study focuses on women in undergraduate IT programs and attempts to identify the factors involved in the attrition of women from these programs. In Phase 1 of this study, all freshman IT and CS women as well as a random sample of IT men at an eastern university (15,000 students) were interviewed and asked about their experiences in the IT program. These interviews were qualitatively analyzed, and the results are currently being used to develop a national survey of women in undergraduate IT programs. The primary research question of this study is, What factors are most influential in the decision of female students in IT undergraduate programs to enter these programs, and, where applicable, what factors most influence their decision to leave the programs during their first year of study?

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