Resources for the CS Capacity Crisis
Eric RobertsNovember 30, 2017

Computer science classrooms are overflowing at colleges and universities across the United States. Enrollments are rising quickly, not only for majors, but also for non-majors who recognize the importance of computing skills in today’s economy. This enrollment growth puts enormous pressure on computer science departments, which have not been able to expand to keep pace.

Part of the problem is that most new Ph.D.s in computer science go into industry, with relatively few people interested in teaching the next generation. Unlike the situation in conventional academic disciplines, the number of open faculty positions in computer science exceeds the number of candidates by about a factor of five. As a result, most institutions are unable to hire the new faculty they need and must instead restrict access to the computer science major and computing classes.

This web site contains links to several reports that describe these challenges and offer recommendations for institutions facing these pressures.

The National Academies report

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On October 26, 2017, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine released the prepublication version of an 18-month study of the challenges posed by rising enrollments in undergraduate computer science. The following resources are available in conjunction with the report:


CRA Generation CS report

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In February 2017, the Computing Research Association (CRA) released a valuable study entitled Generation CS: CS Enrollments Surge Since 2006. The CRA report includes extensive data analysis of surveys conducted of both doctoral institutions (through the annual Taulbee surveys) and non-doctoral institutions that are part of the Non-Doctoral Consortium (NDC). Many of the findings from the CRA study were incorporated into the National Academies report.

NSF-CMU Summit Meeting

Professor Tom Cortina at Carnegie Mellon University organized an NSF-sponsored summit meeting on “Addressing the Challenges of Increasing Interest in Computing at the Undergraduate Level through Institutional Transformation.” The summit website includes slides from the plenary sessions and several useful background documents.


Additional resources

The following resources may also be useful: