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Computer Science Education at the Start of the 21st Century - A Survey of Accredited Programs

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Abstract

We report results from the sixth survey of departments offering degree programs accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology (ABET). The goal of this survey is to provide structured, up-to-date information in terms of demographics and statistics related to curricula, faculty, and students in accredited undergraduate computer science degree programs. The tables listed in this paper, present summarized results from the survey collected in the winter of 2001-2002. Whenever relevant, data collected over the past six survey years are shown to identify apparent trends.
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COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATION AT THE START OF THE 21ST
CENTURY - A SURVEY OF ACCREDITED PROGRAMS
Renée McCauley
1
and Bill Manaris
2
1
Renée McCauley, College of Charleston, Computer Science Department, Charleston, SC, USA 29424, mccauley@cs.CofC.edu
2
Bill Manaris, College of Charleston, Computer Science Department, Charleston, SC, USA 29424, manaris@cs.CofC.edu
Abstract We report results from the sixth survey of
departments offering degree programs accredited by the
Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) of the
Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology
(ABET). The goal of this survey is to provide structured, up-
to-date information in terms of demographics and statistics
related to curricula, faculty, and students in accredited
undergraduate computer science degree programs. The
tables listed in this paper, present summarized results from
the survey collected in the winter of 2001-2002. Whenever
relevant, data collected over the past six survey years are
shown to identify apparent trends.
Index Terms Accreditation, computer science programs,
information resource
INTRODUCTION
Computer science (CS) educators across the nation
constantly struggle to keep abreast of advances in research,
technology, and pedagogy. Knowledge of such advances is
crucial in developing and maintaining relevant curricula.
Course and curriculum developments as well as degree
program enhancements can be accomplished only if
appropriate departmental infrastructure is in place in terms of
faculty, organization, and resources. Access to information
related to degree programs, curricula, faculty, and students
can be extremely useful in planning and implementing course
and curriculum enhancements.
The primary goal of this project is to provide an easily
accessible information resource for departments offering
undergraduate CS degree programs. This resource has been
designed to provide structured, up-to-date information in
terms of demographics and statistics related to curricula,
faculty and students as well as identify various trends based
on these data over several years. The information that is
generated by this project highlights issues that are of
primary concern to faculty in undergraduate CS programs.
This project has the following objectives:
facilitate the sharing and communication of information
among departments offering baccalaureate degree
programs in CS;
provide faculty with information that can be used to
assess, monitor, and compare their programs to others in
the nation in terms of curriculum issues, faculty
composition, faculty workloads, and student enrollment
and graduation rates; and
provide faculty with supporting information to be used
in planning and implementing course and curriculum
developments and program enhancements by
identifying standards in infrastructure and curricula.
HISTORY
This project began in the fall of 1995 when the authors
initiated an annual survey of departments offering degree
programs accredited by the Computer Science Accreditation
Commission (CSAC) of the Computing Sciences
Accreditation Board (CSAB). (Now programs are accredited
by the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) of the
Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology (ABET)
using the criteria established by CSAB.) We targeted
departments offering accredited programs because the
evaluation criteria are considered standards essential to
assure that students receive an adequate foundation in
science, mathematics, the humanities and social sciences,
and computer science. [1]
The aims of this survey have been to provide faculty
with specific information on how different schools in the
nation implement these accreditation standards and to
identify various trends based on this data in a fashion similar
to the CRA Taulbee Survey [2]. The Taulbee survey, which
has appeared for thirty-one years, addresses the production
and employment of Ph.D.s in Computer Science and
Computer Engineering. Therefore, it is only completed by
Ph.D.-granting departments. The survey discussed herein
includes a wider range of departments because it is
distributed to all departments offering CAC-accredited
degrees. This includes departments that offer only
undergraduate degrees, as well as departments that offer
M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Additionally, unlike the Taulbee
effort, this survey includes questions concerning curricula.
Thus, this information is relevant to many departments not
served by other annual national surveys.
The survey was carried out annually from 1995 through
1999 and has been conducted biannually since. Thus, for
tables showing 6 years of data, there is a gap between 1999
and 2001.
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THE INFORMATION RESOURCE
This resource provides information about departments and
degree programs in terms of curricula, faculty, and students.
All information is published in summative form, which allows
us to keep individual program information confidential. The
tables listed below present summaries of results from the
survey conducted in the winter of 2001-2002. These tables
are grouped according to their focus, namely academic-unit,
curriculum, student, and faculty data. Faculty and curriculum
data reported pertain to academic year 2001-2002, while
student data pertain to 2000-2001. Whenever appropriate,
and space permitting, information from past survey years is
also included. Forty-five institutions contributed data for the
2001-2002 survey.
The first two tables provide data that describe the nature
of the departments that contributed to the 2001-2002 survey.
Table I shows the names of the departments that
participated. Table II provides information on degree
programs (other than the CAC-accredited ones) offered.
TABLE I
NAMES OF DEPARTMENTS
Name of Department Percentage
Computer/Computing Science 71%
Computer Science & Engineering 7%
Computer & Information Science/Technology 7%
Mathematical Sciences 4%
Computer Science & Mathematics 2%
No department name provided 9%
TABLE II
DEGREES OFFERED BY DEPARTMENTS
Name of Degree
Percentage
Ph.D. Computer Science 42%
M.S., Computer Science 80%
B.S., Computer Science 16%
B.A., Computer Science 16%
Bachelors, Computer Engineering 9%
Bachelors, Computer Info. Systems 22%
Bachelors, Mathematics 9%
Bachelors, Electrical Engineering 2%
Bachelors, Information
Sciences/Technology
11%
Bachelors, Software Engineering 4%
Curriculum Data
Curriculum data are intended to provide insight into how
accredited programs implement the evaluation criteria.
Table III shows the programming languages taught as
first languages in curricula in academic years 1995-96
through 1999-00 and 2001-02. These data show that Pascal
has steadily decreased in use as C++ and Java have gained
in popularity. The use of C++ as a first language seems to
have peaked. The self-reported projections for the 2002-03
academic year suggest that use of Java will continue to
increase, while use of C++ will remain unchanged.
TABLE III
FIRST LANGUAGES TAUGHT
Language 95-6 96-7 97-8 98-9 99-0 01-2 *02-3*
Ada 12% 18% 19% 7% 6% 4% 2%
C 17% 14% 11% 20% 19% 11% 9%
C++ 32% 39% 47% 50% 54% 40% 40%
Java - - 9% 22% 22% 49% 56%
Pascal 36% 23% 6% 2% 5% 2%
-
Error! Not a valid bookmark self-reference. shows the
languages considered to be the primary teaching languages
in curricula. C++ continues to dominate and it is expected to
remain popular next year. However, the use of Java has
greatly increased in the last two years and predictions are
that Java will be used almost as frequently as C++ (58%
expect to be using C++, 56% expect to be using Java) in the
coming academic year. (Please note that many departments
consider more than one language to be primary to their
degree program, so total percentages may be greater than
100.)
TABLE IV
PRIMARY LANGUAGES TAUGHT
Language 95-6 96-7 97-8 98-9 99-0 01-2 *02-3*
Ada 17% 14% 15% 7% 6% 2% 2%
C 49% 27% 9% 24% 16% 22% 17%
C++ 48% 54% 68% 77% 75% 53% 58%
Java - - 11% 21% 27% 51% 56%
Pascal 25% 13% 6% 4% 3% 2% -
Table V shows the extent to which closed laboratories
are used in teaching introductory computer science courses.
As indicated, 73% of departments use closed labs in
teaching CS1 and 53% use closed labs for CS2. Additionally,
33% use closed labs in a variety of courses beyond CS2.
Although a wide variety of courses were listed as requiring
closed laboratories, those most commonly mentioned were
Computer Organization, Architecture and Assembly
Language. (Due to the wide variability among surveyed
departments as to what material is covered in CS3, in 1998 we
stopped asking specifically for use of closed labs in that
course.)
TABLE V
USE OF CLOSED LABS
Course 95-6 96-7 97-8 98-9 99-0 01-2
CS1 60% 70% 74% 71% 70% 73%
CS2 57% 41% 53% 45% 49% 53%
CS3 17% 14% 21% - - -
Other - 39% 34% 34% 33% 33%
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Tables VI, VII and VIII report on credit-hour
requirements in degree programs in academic year 2001-2002.
The vast majority of departments provided answers in terms
of semester credits. (All credit-hour data given in quarter
credit-hours have been converted to semester credit-hours,
using the formula: 120 semester credits = 180 quarter credits.)
Table VI indicates the minimum, maximum, and average
number of semester credits required for a degree. The
Average is consistent with those reported in past years, but
the Maximum reported has decreased significantly (down
from 155 in 1999) [4]-[8].
TABLE VI
CREDITS REQUIRED FOR DEGREE
Minimum Average Maximum
Semester Hours 120 125 131
Table VII displays the minimum, maximum and average
number of semester credits required in computer science,
mathematics and science courses.
TABLE VII
CREDIT-HOUR REQUIREMENTS IN COURSE AREAS
Hours C.S. Math Sciences
Minimum 31 13 8
Average 47 17 14
Maximum 60 23 17
Table VIII provides more detail on the science hours
presented above and shows to what extent physics is
required in degree programs. The majority of programs (58%)
require physics courses, while the other programs allow
students to choose from a variety of sciences including
physics.
TABLE VIII
CREDIT-HOUR REQUIREMENTS IN SCIENCES
Hours Physics Non-Physics
Minimum 0 3
Average 5 9
Maximum 12 16
Table IX describes the nature of degree programs in
terms of the computer science courses offered at the upper-
level. The survey questionnaire specifically asks about
required and elective courses at the junior/senior level that
are dedicated to a specific topic. This year’s results are
similar to those from past years, in that Operating Systems
and Programming Languages continue to be among the most
commonly required courses at the upper-level [5]-[8]. A wide
variety of course titles were reported as Other required or
elective courses offered. See [9] for specific course names
listed.
We gathered additional curriculum information about co-
op experiences and distance learning. Only one department
indicated that students in their degree programs are required
to complete a co-op experience or internship. Twenty-seven
percent (27%) of departments offer one or more courses
through distance learning. The delivery methods for these
courses were web (33%), interactive web (8%), streaming
video (33%), compressed video (25%), broadcast video
(25%), and other media (17%).
TABLE IX
UPPER-LEVEL COURSES
Course Offered Required Elective
Anal. of Algorithms 84% 67% 24%
Architecture 87% 69%
22%
Artificial Intelligence 95%
9%
15
87%
Compilers 84% 16% 71%
Database Mgmt Sys 96%
31%
64%
Ethical, Social Issues 76% 76% -
Graphics 93% - 93%
Human-Comp. Int. 53% 4% 49%
Networks 98% 18% 82%
Operating Systems 98% 96% 11%
Parallel Computing 53% - 53%
Programming Lang 93% 87% 9%
Robotics 27% - 27%
Soft. Engineering 98% 76%
27%
Simulation 36% - 36%
Theory of Comp 76% 49% 29%
VLSI Design 13% - 13%
Student Information
Student information focuses on degree production and
enrollment figures in terms of gender and ethnicity. While all
responding departments provided counts of enrolled
students and graduates, 13% did not have access to gender-
or ethnicity-specific information for graduates and 33% did
not have this information for enrolled students.
Consequently, the following tables show a large number of
students who are counted in the Unknown categories.
During academic year 2000-2001, there were 2,201
degrees awarded in the participating accredited programs,
yielding an average of 49 degrees awarded per program.
Table X provides a breakdown of graduates in terms of
gender. Table XI provides a breakdown in terms of ethnicity.
TABLE X.
DEGREE PRODUCTION IN TERMS OF GENDER
Gender Degrees Awarded
Male 67%
Female 16%
Unknown/Did not indicate 16%
There were 17,331 students enrolled in accredited degree
programs during academic year 2000-2001. The average
department size in terms of number of students enrolled in
the computer science major is 385. This is a 36% increase
over enrollment figures reported two years ago [8]. Table XII
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displays enrollment figures according to gender. Table XIII
displays enrollment figures according to ethnicity.
TABLE XI.
DEGREE PRODUCTION IN TERMS OF ETHNICITY
Ethnicity Degrees Awarded
Nonresident Alien 4%
African American 3%
Asian 15%
Hispanic 4%
Native American -
White 54%
Other 2%
Unknown/Did not indicate 17%
TABLE XII
ENROLLMENT FIGURES BY GENDER
Gender Enrollment
Male 53%
Female 12%
Unknown/Did not indicate 35%
TABLE XIII
ENROLLMENT FIGURES BY ETHNICITY
Ethnicity Enrollment
Nonresident Alien 4%
African American 7%
Asian 10%
Hispanic 4%
Native American -
White 40%
Other 1%
Unknown/Did not indicate 35%
Faculty Information
This section provides information on teaching faculty
related to rank, gender, ethnicity, department sizes, salaries,
new appointments, and workload. Teaching faculty are full-
time faculty who have a regular teaching assignment in the
accredited degree program. The average number of teaching
faculty per department is 16.4.
Table XIV displays faculty numbers by rank for all
surveyed programs.
TABLE XIV
FACULTY COUNTS BY RANK
Rank Number
Full-Professors 220 (30%)
Associate Professors 226 (31%)
Assistant Professors 176 (24%)
Instructors 116 (16%)
Total 738 (100%)
Table XV displays faculty numbers according to gender.
These results indicate that male faculty outnumber female
faculty (80% versus 20%). This 4:1 ratio of male to female
faculty members is essentially the same as that reported in
previous survey years [4]-[8]. The male to female ratios at
various ranks are 1.5:1 for instructors, 6.5:1 for assistant
professors, 4:1 for associate professors, and 5.5:1 for full
professors. For additional statistics on gender information
according to rank in different types of departments (doctoral-
granting vs. masters-granting vs. baccalaureate), see [9].
Table XVI shows faculty numbers in terms of ethnicity.
TABLE XV
FACULTY COUNTS BY GENDER
Gender Number
Males 594 (80%)
Females 144 (20%)
Total 738 (100%)
TABLE XVI
FACULTY NUMBERS ACCORDING TO ETHNICITY
Ethnicity Number
Nonresident Alien 29 (4%)
African American 21 (3%)
Asian 135 (18%)
Hispanic 15 (2%)
Native American 6 (1%)
White 516 (70%)
Other 10 (1%)
Unknown/Did not indicate
6 (1%)
Total 738 (100%)
Table XVII displays data on actual numbers of full-time
faculty positions in departments for academic years 1994-95
through 1999-00 and in 2001-02, and self-reported projections
for 2002-03 and 2003-04.
TABLE XVII
DEPARTMENT SIZES IN TERMS OF FACULTY POSITIONS
Year Faculty Positions Per Department
1995-96 13
1996-97 13
1997-98 15
1998-99 15
1999-00 15
2001-02 16
2002-03 (predicted) 17
2003-04 (predicted) 18
Table XVIII displays average nine-month salaries for
faculty by rank. These averages are based on the average
salary reported by each department and the number of
faculty for whom these data were reported. Salaries
increased significantly at all ranks over those reported two
years ago [8]. The rate of increase was 10% at full professor
rank, 12% at associate rank, 11% at assistant rank, and 8%
for instructors. For additional salary information, including
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minimums and maximums and information grouped by the
nature of department (doctoral-granting vs. masters-granting
vs. baccalaureate), see [9].
TABLE XVIII
FACULTY SALARIES ACCORDING TO RANK
Rank Average of All Salaries
Full Professors $92,037
Associate Professors $74,871
Assistant Professors $65,493
Instructors $45,161
For comparison purposes, Table XIX displays the
average salaries reported in the 2000-2001 Taulbee survey
[2]. As the Taulbee survey only considers Ph.D.-granting
institutions, it is not unusual for their salary averages to
exceed those we report.
TABLE XIX
AVERAGE SALARIES REPORTED IN TAULBEE SURVEY
Rank Average of All Salaries
Full Professor $105,496
Associate Professor $81,050
Assistant Professor $72,691
Table XX shows average salaries reported for all faculty
for academic years 1995-96 through 1999-00 and 2001-02.
TABLE XX
AVERAGE SALARIES ACROSS ALL RANKS BY YEAR
Year Average of All Salaries
1995-96 $55,792
1996-97 $57,324
1997-98 $61,301
1998-99 $67,677
1999-00 $66,624
2001-02 $73,048
Table XXI shows statistics on the hiring of new Ph.D.s
for academic years 1995-96 through 1999-00 and 2001-02.
These data include the number of departments that hired new
Ph.D.s, the number of new Ph.D.s hired, and the average
salaries paid. For new Ph.D.s hired to begin work in 2001-
2002, the range of starting salaries was fairly broad with the
maximum salary being reported at $81,000 and the minimum
salary at $48,000. The average salary of $65,131 is a 12%
increase over the average of $58,160 reported two years ago
[8]. For comparison purposes, the Taulbee report shows an
average salary of $68,915 for newly hired Ph.D.s holding
tenure-track positions [2].
TABLE XXI
SALARIES FOR NEWLY HIRED FACULTY BY YEAR
Year
Number of
Departments
Number of
New Ph.D.s
Average
1995-96 14 23 $49,768
1996-97 13 17 $50,197
1997-98 17 24 $53,291
1998-99 31 68 $55,145
1999-00 28 49 $58,160
2001-02 26 46 $65,131
Table XXII displays workload information in terms of job
requirements in teaching, research, and service. The
percentages shown are averages over all departments.
Workload requirements vary greatly among departments with
teaching responsibilities ranging from a minimum of 38% to a
maximum of 80%, research and scholarly activity ranging
from 10% to 50%, and service requirements ranging from 0%
to 25% of faculty effort.
TABLE XXII
WORKLOAD REQUIREMENTS
Responsibility Average Distribution of Effort
Teaching 56%
Research/Scholarly Activity 30%
Service 14%
FUTURE OF THIS EFFORT
We have received very positive feedback from survey
participants and others regarding the usefulness of the
information collected through this survey. We have focused
on accredited degree programs because we have been
involved with such programs and because the accreditation
criteria are considered standards for all departments offering
baccalaureate degrees in computer science. We have
received requests to extend our efforts to include
departments offering non-accredited baccalaureate degree
programs as well. Unfortunately, we do not have the
resources to do this.
In the spring of 2002, the Computing Research
Association (CRA), the organization that conducts the
annual Taulbee survey, initiated their own survey of
departments offering undergraduate computer science
degrees. However, their initial survey instrument, distributed
in the spring of 2002, asked mostly about faculty
demographics and department faculty recruiting efforts. It
asked for very limited information on student enrollment and
graduation numbers and asked nothing about curricular
requirements. The Taulbee survey also does not cover
curriculum issues. Thus, while the CRA survey will improve
upon the survey reported herein in some ways (namely, by
including a broader range of departments), we are not sure
that it will provide as broad a range of types of information
as this survey does. As this spring’s effort was only their
first, we are waiting to see what the CRA survey may capture
in the future, before making final decisions regarding our
future efforts.
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We wish to thank Patrick LaMalva and his staff at CSAB (for
their support over the early years of this survey) and Doris
Lidtke and ABET/CAC (for their support of the most recent
years of this survey). We appreciate the comments and
advice received from members of our advisory board: Donald
Bagert, Jr., Robert Beck, James Crook, and Judith Gersting.
We are especially appreciative of the effort contributed by all
department faculty and other personnel who make this
information resource possible by completing the survey
questionnaire.
The following student programmers and department
staff were instrumental in the implementation and operation
of the online survey collection and tabulation system: Rao
Adavikolanu, Corey Gaudin, Holly Huval, Laura Moore and
Chris Wagner.
Finally, this effort has been partially supported by the
National Science Foundation (DUE: 9752482).
REFERENCES
[1] Computing Accreditation Commission of the
Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
“Criteria for Accrediting Programs in Computing
Programs,” November 1, 2000. www.abet.org
[2] Bryant, R. and M.Y. Vardi. “Hope for More Balance in
Supply and Demand: 2000-2001 Taulbee Survey,”
Computing Research News, 14(2), March 2002, pp. 4-11.
[3] “Survey of Departments Offering CAC-Accredited
Programs,” <www.cs.CofC.edu/~mccauley/survey/>
[4] McCauley, R. and B. Manaris. “Report on the Annual
Survey of Departments Offering CSAC/CSAB-
Accredited Computer Science Degree Programs”,
SIGCSE Bulletin, 28 (1), pp. 301-305.
[5] McCauley, R. and B. Manaris. “Computer Science
Degree Programs: What Do Look They Look Like?,”
SIGCSE Bulletin, 29(1), pp. 15-19.
[6] McCauley, R. and B. Manaris. “Comprehensive Report
on the 1997 Survey of Departments Offering
CSAC/CSAB-Accredited Degree Programs,” Technical
Report #TR-98-9-1, Center for Advanced Computer
Studies, University of Louisiana at Lafayette,
<www.cs.CofC.edu/~mccauley/survey/report1997/>
[7] McCauley, R. and B. Manaris. “Comprehensive Report
on the 1998 Survey of Departments Offering
CSAC/CSAB-Accredited Degree Program,” Technical
Report #TR-99-9-1, Center for Advanced Computer
Studies, University of Louisiana at Lafayette,
<www.cs.CofC.edu/~mccauley/survey/report1998/>
[8] McCauley, R. and B. Manaris. “Computer Science
Education: An Information Resource for Curriculum
Development and Program Enhancement,” in The
Proceedings of the 30
th
ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in
Education Conference (FIE’2000), Kansas City, MO,
October 2000, pages T4A19-T4A24.
[9] McCauley, R. and B. Manaris. “Comprehensive Report on
the 2001 Survey of Departments Offering CAC-
Accredited Degree Programs”, Technical Report CoC/CS
TR# 2002-9-1,
<www.cs.CofC.edu/~mccauley/survey/report2001/>
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Conference Paper
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The paper is the next instalment on an ongoing project to provide an easily accessible information resource for departments offering undergraduate computer science (CS) degree programs. This resource is designed to provide structured, up-to-date information in terms of demographics and statistics related to curricula, faculty, and students in such departments. Additionally, it facilitates the identification of various trends based on these data over several years. Numerous CS departments contribute to this resource by participating in a yearly survey. The collected information addresses issues that are of primary concern to faculty in undergraduate CS programs. Moreover, this information can significantly assist in planning and implementing course and curriculum developments. The paper presents highlights of the information generated through this project. Additionally, it reports on an electronic mechanism that is used to collect and disseminate information via the Web
Article
This paper presents information from a survey of departments offering accredited computer science degree programs. It discusses demographic information related to curricula, faculty, and students for all such programs, and identifies various trends based on these data. These results are of interest and use to all accredited and non-accredited programs alike, since they facilitate monitoring and comparisons among individual degree programs in the nation in terms of curriculum issues, faculty composition and salaries, student enrollment and graduation rates.
Conference Paper
This paper presents results of a survey of departments offering accredited Computer Science degree programs. It discusses demographic information related to curricula, faculty, and students for all such programs, and identifies various trends based on this data. These results are of interest and use to all accredited and non-accredited departments alike, since it provides the information necessary to monitor and compare individual degree programs to other programs in the nation in terms of faculty composition, student enrollment and graduation rates, faculty salaries, and curriculum issues.
Hope for More Balance in Supply and Demand: 2000-2001 Taulbee Survey
  • R Bryant
  • M Y Vardi
Bryant, R. and M.Y. Vardi. "Hope for More Balance in Supply and Demand: 2000-2001 Taulbee Survey," Computing Research News, 14(2), March 2002, pp. 4-11.