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Increasing the Scalability and Diversity in the Face of Large Growth in Computer Science Enrollment

Principal Investigator: 
Grant Agency: 
Grant Duration: 
07/01/2015 to 06/30/2018

As a large public research university, Rutgers University has a diverse student population of 45,000 undergraduates taking courses in 175 academic departments spread among 29 schools and colleges. The department of computer science offers bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees, with a research and instructional faculty of approximately 50.

As with most undergraduate computer science in the past several years, our department has seen a steady growth of students entering our introductory courses and ultimately becoming majors. The department have seen growth from 1700 students in 2006 to 4300 in 2013. Thus far, some degree of elasticity of course scheduling has allowed us to meet most of the increased demand. However, resources are becoming more limited and in order to continue to meet the needs of our students and department, we must evaluate and trial innovative solutions.

In addition to addressing the scalability needs of the increase in student populations, it is our intention to also investigate methods of increasing the diversity of the computer science student body. Our introductory courses have seen, on average, between 25% and 30% female enrollment, irrespective of the increased enrollment. Our ultimate goal is to accommodate the large influx of new and diverse students into the Computer Science department without diminishing the quality of education nor exceeding our resource capacities.