NSF Grant to Computer Science Teachers Association Will Build Statewide Leadership
The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession
Contact: Jessica Love
For Immediate Release
$200,000 AWARD GIVES COMPUTER SCIENCE A LOCAL BOOST
New York, NY, November 7, 2007 – The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) announced today that it has received an award in the amount of $200,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF award will be used by CSTA to identify local educational leaders who will work with the organization to improve the quality of computer science education at the state level.
CSTA is a membership organization that works to support and promote the teaching of computer science at the K-12 level by providing opportunities for teachers and students to better understand computing disciplines. It was launched by ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery) to ensure that teachers have the tools they need to get students interested in computer science careers.
"This award is an incredible boost to CSTA’s efforts at the state level to support computer science (CS) teachers and students, and to promote CS as a discipline," said Chris Stephenson, executive director of CSTA. "Because there is not a nationally set curriculum for computer science in this country, states play an important role in determining what is taught, how it is taught, and who is qualified to teach the subject. The generous funding provided by NSF will allow CSTA to develop state-level leadership teams that can effectively address key curricular, certification and professional development issues for computer science."
Improving computer science education is a state and national economic issue as well. By the year 2014, the Department of Labor predicts that one million professional information technology jobs will be added to the U.S. economy. However, despite the strong job forecast for careers in computing, information science and engineering, CS enrollment is declining and has been dropped from K-12 curriculums across the country.
"There is a pressing need for our nation to address the declining enrollment and participation in CS courses immediately and vigorously," said Dr. Debra Richardson, chair of CSTA's Advisory Council. "If we do not do something now to provide our students with access to the CS pipeline before the college level, our nation will face long-term skills shortages that will have negative effects on both academic and industrial computing," said Richardson, who is dean of the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science at the University of California - Irvine.
In addition to identifying and working with local leaders and established statewide organizations that concentrate on improving computer science, these funds will allow CSTA to develop a toolkit to aid communication among teachers and schools, administrators, policymakers, business and industry leaders. CSTA will also help facilitate mentoring relationships between
K-12 leaders and post-secondary computer science faculty. CSTA is also planning a 3-day leadership conference for Summer 2008 that will convene people from more than 38 states. These leaders will address CS standards, certification, professional development, partnerships, and ways to build local chapters.
NSF funding for CSTA’s local efforts begins in 2008, but its statewide computer science leadership teams are already being built. Computer science teachers, policymakers, business leaders and academics interested in improving K-12 computer literacy skills and strengthening their state’s CS education can learn more about CSTA and how to support this effort at http://csta.acm.org.
The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) is a membership organization that supports and promotes the teaching of computer science and the other computing disciplines by providing opportunities for K-12 teachers and students to better understand the computing disciplines and to more successfully prepare themselves to teach and to learn. http://csta.acm.org. CSTA provides its over 400 members with resources, research, and professional development opportunities. CSTA was founded by ACM in 2005.
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery http://www.acm.org, is an educational and scientific society uniting the world’s computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.