Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

ITiCSE '03 Proceedings of the 8th annual conference on Innovation and technology in computer science education


Author's Final Manuscript



Publication Date



Male and female students often hold different views of the culture within the same computer science department. These differences may, in part, account for why women are underrepresented in computer science. We found that surveying students about their views of our departments' environments was an important first step in evaluating the cultures of our own departments, in determining what issues needed to be addressed, and in determining how to address them. Our survey results revealed some problems in our classroom and lab environments, and showed that there are gender differences in students' perceptions of our departments. We describe a set of changes that were implemented in response to our findings. These solutions are specifically designed to address problems that we discovered through our student survey, but they are not all original to us. The contribution of our work is in demonstrating how surveying is critical to identifying and understanding problems in our departments. We argue that a process of continually surveying students is vital to the maintenance and evolution of a healthy computer science program.