The survey conducted by ACM between November 2016 and
February 2017—the fifth annual ACM-NDC Study (a survey of
“Non-Doctoral-Granting Departments in Computing”)—is intended to be an annual complement to the Computing Research
Association (CRA) Taulbee Survey of Ph.D.-granting departments in computing [ 9]. ACM-NDC is funded by ACM and continues to be conducted with support from the CRA, AIS [ 3], and
ACM SIGITE [ 2]. The authors of this article comprise the NDC
Steering Committee. As an annual study, NDC helps fill in gaps in
data on non-Taulbee programs to present a more complete view
of the academic landscape in computing and to expand pipeline
information on programs that produce candidates for Ph.D. programs as well as the private and public labor markets. The timely
reporting of the survey’s results provides the community with an
early look at workforce-related facts and trends of importance to
academic programs and to those who rely on them.
The goal of ACM-NDC is to document trends in student
enrollment, degree production, faculty demographics, and
salaries at not-for-profit U.S. academic institutions that grant
bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees (but not Ph.D.’s) in the five
major computing disciplines in which curricular guidelines and
accreditation criteria exist [ 1, 4]: computer science (CS), computer engineering (CE), information systems (IS), information
technology (IT), and software engineering (SE). Diversity statistics and trends with respect to students and faculty are important features of this documentation.
The survey was distributed in November 2016 to qualifying
programs identified using data in the Integrated Postsecondary
Education Data System (IPEDS) [ 6]. These data are collected annually by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
from all U.S. institutions that participate in the federal financial
aid programs [ 7]. This year the survey was distributed to 1,097
academic units (departments, schools, or institutions) identified via IPEDS as offering at least one program in computing. In
some cases, a single institution received multiple surveys if programs are housed in different schools or departments. In total,
211 units participated in the survey, supplying either complete
or partial information, with 177 units completing the survey in
full. Of these, 168 supplied bachelor’s data (compared to 121
in 2015-16) and data was reported for 312 total programs (260
bachelor’s and 52 master’s), compared to 233 last year. We found
that 152 academic units provided data on faculty (131 in 2015-
16) and 91 provided faculty salary information (72 in 2015-16).
Reversing a trend from the past two years, there was a signif-
icant increase in overall units and programs represented as well
as in faculty data, including units providing salary information.
Notably, there was a 38.8% increase in overall units participating,
a 33.9% increase in the total number of programs participating,
and a 38.8% increase in the number of bachelor’s programs. In
the faculty section, there was an increase of 26.4% in overall units
providing salary information, but that is smaller than the over-
all increase in units participating in the survey. The sensitivity of
providing such information, and the added challenge of soliciting
it from departments smaller than those found in the CRA Taul-
bee community, limits the number of NDC units that are able
to provide salary data.” Unlike prior years when the survey was
open in the winter and closed in early spring, the 2016-17 NDC
was released in the late fall and kept open into late winter, provid-
ing a wider window for responses. This was a deliberate decision
by the NDC Committee to allow our respondents more time.
Given the increased responses, we intend to continue opening
the survey in the fall semester rather than the spring semester.
Despite increased sample sizes in 2016-17 and greater overall awareness, many of the academic units at the generally
smaller schools targeted by NDC continue to face challenges in
gathering and submitting data. Some of these have been known
to us (such as shortage of resources at smaller departments,
time required to conduct data gathering, department reorganization, and data privacy concerns). Last summer, the NDC
Committee contacted non-responding institutions to learn
how we can further add value and reduce existing barriers to
participation. Each year, including this one, we continue to address some of these challenges, with improvements to validation and user interface, an increase in historical reference data,
and some reduction in the overall length of the survey. After
five years of data collection, it may be fair to conclude that a
significant proportion of the overall NDC community may not
participate in the survey regardless of the enhancements we
continue to make. The NDC Committee will continue to consider how greater engagement can be achieved, and how NDC
can provide greater value to the community.
The following presents key findings from this year’s study.
As in past iterations of this report, where possible we will make
comparisons with Taulbee data, and with data from last year’s
NDC Study [ 8]. While we felt that longitudinal trend analysis
was premature in the past, we now have five years of data and
may be in a better position for such examination; this is being considered for next year’s report. However, as in past years,
small response sizes in some parts of the survey make it difficult
to draw hard conclusions from the data provided. In reading
this report, one should consider the following points.
• In this report, we will use the term “academic unit” (or unit)
to denote the administrative division responsible for one or
more qualifying programs. We will use the term “program”
to refer to a course of study leading to a degree in one of the
computing disciplines: computer science (CS), computer
engineering (CE), information systems (IS), information
technology (IT), or software engineering (SE).
The timely reporting of the survey’s
results provides the community
with an early look at workforce-
related facts and trends of
importance to academic programs
and to those who rely on them.