The Computer Science Department at California State University, Dominguez Hills has been singled out in a report by The Campaign for College Opportunity for “Demonstrated Excellence” related to practices it has implemented to provide greater access and support student success for its majors.
The report, “Needed: Sy(STEM)ic Response, How California’s Public Colleges and Universities are Key to Strengthening the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and Health Workforce,” found that California ranked at the bottom of states in graduating STEM and health majors to fill available entry-level positions. Cited factors affecting colleges and universities’ ability to graduate more students in these fields included limited program offerings and few minorities students entering STEM and health fields.
Included with the report was the supplemental “Demonstrated Excellence: College Practices that Support Student Success and Make California Stronger” featuring the CSUDH Computer Science Department. The profile highlights how the department redesigned its program to be more accessible and supportive of students.
Through their analysis, faculty members knew that students had an interest in computer science but were often uncertain in their math skills to continue in the major. Among the steps the department took to address this problem was to create Computer Science Zero (CS-O), an introductory course that exposes students to basic computer programing that did not require advanced math concepts. The course expanded access to a more diverse student population, and post-enrollment surveys showed that CS-O was effective in boosting student confidence in their abilities.
The department also created new majors that aligned with not only student needs and varying levels of math proficiency, but also workforce needs and skill sets. The bachelor’s in computer technology was first offered in 2009 and the bachelor’s in information technology was offered in spring 2016.
Further, the department sought to create a more engaging and supportive environment for students, from peer mentoring to more focused advising with faculty members and exposure to internship opportunities.
The Demonstrated Excellence profile details the results of the department’s efforts, which include a doubling of the number of students enrolled in computer science, and an increase in degrees conferred.
“The Computer science department is grateful for being recognized by The Campaign for College Opportunity for introducing new and innovative programs in technology to better serve our students,” said Beheshti. “This is the result of years of hard work and collective effort by our faculty and staff. Truly, this is what CSUDH is all about.”
The report and profile are available online at collegecampaign.org/portfolio/june-2016-needed-systemic-response-californias-public-colleges-universities-key-strengthening-science-technology-engineering-math-stem-health-workforce.