tration. Such an increase depends on two factors—the availability of resources for educational institutions to teach additional students, and adequate preparation and interest in IT in a sufficient number of additional students.

The first factor involves resources. Today, resources (e.g., faculty, space, and possibly research funding) to support additional student enrollment in IT-related fields is likely more of a limitation than student interest in obtaining such degrees.36 Though the resources flowing to IT-related departments are increasing, university administrators are often hesitant to agree to a significant growth of regular IT-related faculty. Rapid growth in any one department upsets traditional balances among departments, and institutions may be reluctant to rapidly increase the number of tenured IT professors, who might not be needed if a downturn in demand were to occur. Because of these factors, it is unlikely that IT-related departments will be able to grow by as much as a factor of 2 over the next decade. Thus, even if qualified faculty were available, inadequate space and computing facilities would be a bottleneck to rapid growth. A second reason is that universities are having difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified computer science faculty; Box 7.2 describes some ways to find additional faculty to teach in IT-related fields.

The second factor involves the availability of additional qualified and interested students. As noted above, many young people lack information about IT careers and about education needed to prepare for such careers. Although public and private groups are attempting to fill this void, 37 more could be done to provide guidance about IT careers. Attracting more students from underrepresented populations by providing them with the financial resources needed to attend college and graduate school is another approach.38 The approaches used to attract students to IT

36  

An informal survey of the Forsythe list, consisting of all of the Ph.D.-granting institutions in computer science and computer engineering (most of which have undergraduate programs), suggests that lack of resources is the primary constraint on rapid increases in the production of new computer science majors. The committee inquired about “the rate-limiting factor on [the] department's ability to produce recipients of bachelor's degrees in computer science or computer engineering. ” The answers to this survey indicate overwhelmingly that resources, including instructors, professors, computers, and classroom facilities, are the rate-limiting factor, rather than the supply of interested and qualified students. The list includes some 200 institutions, and 80 or so answers were received.

37  

For example, the ACM's Committee on Women in Computing works with Girl Scout troops to spark interest in IT among young women, and the U.S. Department of Commerce has announced plans for a major advertising campaign to encourage teenagers to choose IT careers.

38  

For example, the Gates Foundation has donated $1 billion to support scholarships for minority students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in science, math, engineering, education, or library science. See <www.gmsp.org>.



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