Generation CS: The Growth of Computer Science
and 2015. In Figure 5, the number of units from which such
data was obtained is given in parenthesis next to the course
name on the horizontal axis.
NON-DOCTORAL GRANTING ACADEMIC UNITS
There is limited historical data on CS enrollments and CS faculty from non-doctoral granting institutions from any sources
including the CRA Enrollment Survey. As a result, we cannot produce analogs to Figures 1-4 for non-doctoral granting
academic units. Data collected by the CRA Enrollment Survey suggests that non-doctoral granting units have also seen
significant increases in all course levels, though not of the
magnitude seen in the doctoral-graning programs. This is illustrated in Figure 6, which shows enrollment by course level
for non-doctoral granting units. Several interesting questions
regarding non-doctoral granting units deserve attention in the
future. For example, our community needs a better understanding of whether the surge in CS majors at non-doctoral
granting units is not keeping pace with the surge in CS majors at doctoral-granting units, whether non-doctoral granting
units have had the resources to allow enrollment increases in
the recent past, and whether there is less student interest in
CS at non-doctoral granting units. We can, however, approximate differential growth in doctoral-granting and non-doctoral granting units using graduation data available from IPEDS.
We provide this comparisonon the next page.
ENROLLMENT BY INSTITUTION SIZE AND TYPE
The data obtained from the CRA Enrollment Survey is extremely comprehensive, and allows us to consider the growth in computer science by a unit’s context (e.g., size, public or private).
Figure 7 provides collected data that shows all types of institutions are seeing significant growth in a representative mid-level
computer science course. We note that large public institutions
have, on average, doubled their mid-level course enrollment
from 2010 to 2015. Other types of institutions have seen either a slightly larger increase or a slightly smaller increase in
enrollments for their mid-level course. In five short years, the
number of students in a representative mid-level course has, on
average, more than doubled.
The increase in the number of tenure-track faculty and teaching
faculty in no way matches the growth in the number of undergraduate CS majors, as is illustrated in Figure 4. As a result, faculty are teaching larger classes and more classes are taught by
visitors, adjuncts, postdocs, and graduate students. According
to the CRA Enrollment Survey results, many units are trying to
hire teaching faculty (e.g., professors of practice or lecturers).
While the growth in teaching faculty since 2006 is over 50%,
the average number of teaching faculty an academic unit had
in 2015 was only six. By comparison, the average number of
tenure-track faculty in 2015 was 28.
ENROLLMENT IN CS COURSES
Course enrollment increases are being experienced in all stages
of the curriculum. Increases are not only due to the increase in
the number of CS majors, but also due to a significant increase
in the number of nonmajors enrolled in CS courses. Nonmajor
enrollment is discussed later in this article.
Figure 5 illustrates growth of CS majors in representative
courses at the introductory, mid-level, and upper-level, at five-year intervals beginning with 2005. As discussed previously, the
CRA Enrollment Survey asked responders to provide detailed
demographic data on students enrolled in four representative
CS courses: an introductory-level course that is mainly for non-majors (discussed later in this article), an introductory-level
course that is mainly for CS majors, a mid-level course, and an
upper-level course. Data was requested on these four representative courses across three different time periods: 2005, 2010,
Figure 4: Cumulative percent growth of CS majors and instructional
faculty since 2006.
Figure 5: Average enrollment by CS majors in three representative
computing courses at doctoral-granting units from 2005 to 2015. The
number in parentheses in each category indicates sample size.
Figure 6: Average enrollment by CS majors in computing courses at non-doctoral granting units from 2005 to 2015. The number in parentheses in
each category indicates sample size.