Two peer-reviewed articles about the PINC program

The professors involved in the PINC program have collaborated to write two papers on the PINC program. Here are the abstracts and links to the pdfs.

Promoting Inclusivity in Computing (PINC) via Computing Application Minor

Ilmi Yoon, Pleuni Pennings, Anagha Kulkarni, Kaz Okada, Carmen Domingo

Abstract— We aimed to build a new educational pathway that would provide basic training in computer science for women and students from underrepresented (UR) groups who otherwise may not take computer science classes in college. Specifically, this on-going project focused on creating a 2-year Computer Science (CS) program consisting of exciting new courses aimed at biology majors. Biology traditionally attracts large numbers of women, a significant number of students from UR groups, and has compelling needs for CS technology. The interdisciplinary program is training the next generation of innovators in the biological sciences who will be prepared to cross disciplinary boundaries. The program consists of the following: (1) computer science courses with content related to biology, (2) cohorts of students that progress through the program together, and (3) a small group peer mentoring environment, and (4) facilitated interdisciplinary research projects. Graduates from this program, referred to as “PINC” – Promoting INclusivity in Computing – will receive a “Minor in Computing Applications” in addition to their primary science degree in Biology. The program is now in its second year and thus far 60 students have participated. Among them, 73% are women and 51% are underrepresented minorities (URM). The majority of students in the PINC program stated that they would not have taken CS courses without the structured support of the PINC program. Here we present the data collected during this two year period as well as details about the Computing Application minor and programmatic components that are having a positive impact on student outcomes.

Promoting Diversity in Computing

Anagha Kulkarni, Ilmi Yoon, Pleuni Pennings, Kaz Okada, Carmen Domingo

Abstract: In this paper we present a pilot program at San Francisco State University, Promoting INclusivity in Computing (PINC), that is designed to achieve two goals simultaneously: (i) improving diversity in computing, and (ii) increasing computing literacy in data-intensive fields. To achieve these goals, the PINC program enrolls undergraduate students from non Computer Science (non-CS) fields, such as, Biology, that have become increasingly data-driven, and that traditionally attract diverse student population. PINC incorporates several well-established pedagogical practices, such as, cohort-based program structure, near-peer mentoring, and project- driven learning, to attract, retain, and successfully graduate a highly diverse and interdisciplinary student body. On successful completion of the program, students are awarded a minor in Computing Applications. Since its inception 18 months ago, 60 students have participated in this program. Of these 73% are women, and 51% are underrepresented minorities (URM). 74% of the participating students had nominal or no exposure to computer programming before PINC. Findings from student surveys show that majority of the PINC students now feel less intimidated about computer programming, and vividly see its utility and necessity. For several students, participation in the PINC program has already opened up career pathways (industry and academic summer internships) that were not available to them before.

Screenshot 2018-06-10 10.24.41
Figure 2 from Kulkarni et al, 2018 shows that the PINC program (the two bars on the right) attracts and retains a higher fraction of women than the CS major (on the left) . Original caption: Gender distribution of students at the start and end of the CS bachelors program, and PINC program. For CS bachelors, start: CSc 210, and end: CSc 699. For PINC pro- gram, start: CSc 306, and CSc 698.
PINC Professors Picture 2
Dr Anagha Kulkarni, Dr Ilmi Yoon, Dr Pleuni Pennings, Dr Kaz Okada.
Dr Carmen Domingo, PINC Co-PI and Interim Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at SFSU.



Increasing number of Bio Majors taking CS classes

The PINC program is a collaboration between the Biology and the CS department. One of our goals is to make CS more accessible for non-CS majors, and one way to track our success is to see if the number of Biology students who are taking CS classes is increasing. We just got the data for Fall 2017 and we see that the fraction of Biology majors (undergraduates) who are taking a CS class has increased for the 3rd time in a row. The PINC program launched in Fall 2016. Thanks to Institutional Research for providing the data!