Pace University School of Computer Science and Information Systems Challenges Traditional Sex Breakdown in Classroom

The highest paid female professionals are three times more likely to be heavy computer users. However, the American Association of University Women recently found in a nationwide survey that technology in schools is becoming a “boy’s club.” Well, boys beware! At Pace University’s School of Computer Science and Information Systems women compose over 38 percent of undergraduate students and over 37 percent of graduate students. The high percentage of women at Pace is explained by Dean Susan M. Merritt, “Environment is critical; it must be hospitable to both female and male students, as well as to students of different ethnic and racial backgrounds. Environment has to do with faculty: we have a good representation of excellent women faculty, for example. It has to do with exploring the full breadth of the field; “human factors” in computing, as well as social and ethical issues are extremely important and
we integrate those with the more traditional areas such as design and programming.”

NEW YORK – The highest paid female professionals are three times more likely to be
heavy computer users. However, the American Association of University Women
recently found in a nationwide survey that technology in schools is becoming
a “boy’s club.” Well, boys beware! At Pace University’s School of Computer
Science and Information Systems women compose over 38 percent of undergraduate
students and over 37 percent of graduate students. The high percentage of women
at Pace is explained by Dean Susan M. Merritt, “Environment is critical; it must
be hospitable to both female and male students, as well as to students of
different ethnic and racial backgrounds. Environment has to do with faculty:
we have a good representation of excellent women faculty, for example. It
has to do with exploring the full breadth of the field; “human factors” in
computing, as well as social and ethical issues are extremely important and
we integrate those with the more traditional areas such as design and
programming.”

Knowledge of technology leads to higher salaries, job advancements and helps
women to enter traditionally male fields. Many young women do not pursue
these technological opportunities due to fear of science, socialization
into “women’s work,” and stereotypes about the notorious “computer nerd”
and lonely scientist. Ken Norz, assistant dean of CSIS, states, “It’s
unfortunate that we aren’t raised in a different world because some of
our best students have been women, especially on the graduate level.”
Merritt says, “Women students learn that to be a computing professional
does not mean being a stereotypical “techie..”

The Internet is one place the gender disparity is starting to get
smaller as evidenced by the success of several new websites designed by
and directed toward women, including ivillage.com and girlsonfilm.com,
and the growing number of women who use the Internet. And, classes
which focus on how to learn html and C++ languages for web-based
programming are quite popular with female students at Pace.

Pace is a comprehensive, independent University with campuses in New
York City and Westchester County. Nearly 14,000 students are enrolled
in undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs in the
Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lubin School of Business,
School of Computer Science and Information Systems, School of
Education, School of Law, Lienhard School of Nursing and the World
Trade Institute.