CRA Bulletin

The CRA Bulletin frequently shares news, timely information about CRA initiatives, and items of interest to the general community.
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Posts categorized under: Resources

The CRA Taulbee Survey and Teaching Faculty Data


Non-tenure-track teaching faculty are becoming more important to doctoral departments to help them meet their educational goals and responsibilities, particularly in response to the current enrollments surge. In the Generation CS report (available at https://turing.cra.org/data/Generation-CS/), 65% of doctoral departments reported in fall 2015 that they had increased the number of teaching faculty on continuing appointments in response to increased enrollments, and an additional 16% were considering it. Similarly, between fall 2006 and fall 2016, the proportion of Taulbee Survey respondents reporting at least one full-time non-tenure-track teaching faculty member increased from 81% to 87% and, more notably, the median number of such teaching faculty at the departments reporting nonzero counts rose from 3 to 6.

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CERP Offers New Resource


Since May 2013, the CERP team has published a graphic in each issue of Computing Research News (CRN) that analyzes the experiences of underrepresented students and professionals in computing. Each month, this newsletter will share the infographic published in CRN and news about CERP. If you are interested in receiving this newsletter, subscribe here.

It’s Not About the Money: Optimizing Academic-Industrial Partnerships


Today, more than ever, industry leaders are looking to partner with academic computer science programs. With available computer science expertise at a premium, they’re looking for ideas, for new hires, for help on crucial projects. Universities are the mother lode for the personnel and expertise they crave. On July 18, I presented at the CRA Conference at Snowbird session, “Local Corporate Labs, Centers and Development Offices: Optimizing Department/Industry,” which explored the growth of corporate lab culture, and I’d like to share some of insights from that talk.

What is Data Science in the 21st Century?


Last July, a distinguished panel of computer scientists – David Culler (UC Berkeley), Rayid Ghani (U of Chicago), Rahel Jhirad (Hearst) and Rob Rutenbar (UIUC) — discussed this question with a group of approximately 100 CRA Conference at Snowbird attendees. There was agreement that data science is an interdisciplinary field, combining techniques from machine learning, natural language processing, data mining, algorithms, information retrieval, etc.

Computing Research and the Emerging Field of Data Science


Our ability to collect, manipulate, analyze, and act on vast amounts of data is having a profound impact on all aspects of society. This transformation has led to the emergence of data science as a new discipline. The explosive growth of interest in this area has been driven by research in social, natural, and physical sciences with access to data at an unprecedented scale and variety, by industry assembling huge amounts of operational and behavioral information to create new services and sources of revenue, and by government, social services and non-profits leveraging data for social good. This emerging discipline relies on a novel mix of mathematical and statistical modeling, computational thinking and methods, data representation and management, and domain expertise. While computing fields already provide many principles, tools and techniques to support data science applications and use cases, the computer science community also has the opportunity to contribute to the new research needed to further drive the development of the field. In addition, the community has the obligation to engage in developing guidelines for the responsible use of data science.

2016 CRA Taulbee Survey Schedule


The 2016 CRA Taulbee Survey will be starting soon. As we did last year, the survey will be split into two parts, salary and main (everything else). This allows us to set an earlier deadline for the salary section in order to produce a preliminary salary report in December, while giving departments more time to collect and enter the information in the rest of the survey.

The schedule will be as follows:
By September 9: All doctoral departments will be contacted to update Taulbee user information. The academic unit head will receive an email and so will the Taulbee primary contact, if separate.
September 13: PDF will be available for data gathering.
September 27: Both sections of the Taulbee will open for input.
November 18: Due date for salary section.
December 19: Preliminary salary report available.
January 18, 2017: Due date for the main Taulbee section.
April 2017: Full Taulbee report to CRA members and participating departments.
May 2017: Published in CRN.
If you have any questions, contact Betsy Bizot at bizot@cra.org.

CRA Best Practice Memo: Response to Surge in Postdocs


By Shar Steed, CRA Communications Specialist Similar to how we are currently facing a boom in undergraduate computer science enrollments, several years ago, the field encountered an exponential increase in postdoctoral appointments. In a Communications of the ACM Viewpoint article from February 2013, The Explosive Growth of Postdocs in Computer Science, Anita Jones wrote, “The […]

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CCC Led White Papers


The purpose of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community and enable the pursuit of innovative, high-impact research. One of the ways that the CCC accomplishes this is by publishing white papers for the computing research community.

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New CRA RSS Subscription Center


CRA has several RSS feeds available, and now you can view them all on a single webpage. Visit https://turing.cra.org/resources/rss-subscriptions/ to view and subscribe to resources that interest you most. When you subscribe to a resource, you will receive an email when new content is posted. Check out our current offerings.

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In Memoriam: Joanne Cohoon


The Computing Research Association is sad to hear of the loss of Joanne Cohoon, a leader in the evaluation efforts of our programs. Joanne has been involved with the CRA for more than a decade. In 2006, she was the PI on an NSF-funded study that was initiated to test the validity of an earlier report, “Recruitment and Retention of Women Graduate Students in Computer Science and Engineering” (Cuny and Aspray, 2001). Joanne co-authored the report based on the study, “Recruiting and Retaining Women Graduate Students in Computer Science and Engineering,” which summarizes and expands on the results of a workshop and outlines research-based practices likely to promote gender balance in graduate computing programs.

CRA Best Practice Memos


The Computing Research Association (CRA) produces resources that standardize and establish best practices in the field. Most recently, last spring the CRA Board of Directors released its latest Best Practices Memo, “Incentivizing Quality and Impact: Evaluating Scholarship in Hiring, Tenure, and Promotion.” Distinguishing between quality and quantity is key to promoting the future growth of the computing and information field. The memo advocates adjustments to hiring, promotion, and tenure practices as well as to the publication culture. Below is a summary of the reports main points.

New Undergraduate Research Opportunities Listing Service


The Computing Research Association’s Education Committee (CRA-E) is pleased to provide a new “undergraduate research listing service” for faculty and other researchers to advertise (at no cost) undergraduate research opportunities and for undergraduates to find such opportunities. The site can be found here:http://conquer.cra.org/research-opportunities.

CRA Launches CS Enrollments Survey


CRA has launched a survey about the significant increases many institutions are seeing in undergraduate computer science course enrollments (often referred to as the enrollment boom). This is a question of deep concern to many in our community. The survey is a unique opportunity to measure, assess, and better understand enrollment trends and their impact […]

Analysis of Current and Future Computer Science Needs via Advertised Faculty Searches for 2016


By Craig E. Wills, Professor and Department Head, Computer Science Department,Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The wealth of faculty searches in Computer Science during this hiring season for positions starting in the Fall of 2016 again affords the opportunity to study areas of Computer Science where departments are choosing to invest in new faculty hires. While the number and areas for faculty searches does not necessarily translate into the same for faculty hires, we believe that they provide insight into current and future needs within the discipline.

Towards Big Steps Enabled by Big Data Science


Towards Big Steps Enabled by Big Data Science Two workshops on big data in education were organized. The first workshop, held in January, focused on case studies of effective partnerships outside of education between big data producers and consumers (see below for the agenda and slides). The second workshop held in early June and focused on case […]

CRA Best Practices Memo on Evaluating Scholarship in Hiring, Tenure, and Promotion


The CRA Board of Directors has recently released its latest Best Practices Memo, “Incentivizing Quality and Impact: Evaluating Scholarship in Hiring, Tenure, and Promotion.” Distinguishing between quality and quantity is key to promoting the future growth of the computing and information field. The memo advocates adjustments to hiring, promotion, and tenure practices as well as […]

Incentivizing Quality and Impact: Evaluating Scholarship in Hiring, Tenure, and Promotion


A careful distinction between quality and quantity is key to promoting the future growth of the computing and information field. Toward that end, this document advocates adjustments to hiring, promotion, and tenure practices as well as to the publication culture. Contributions in a small number of high quality publications or artifacts are what should be emphasized; success as a researcher is then not primarily a matter of numbers.

The recommendations that follow were developed over an 18-month period by the CRA Committee on Best Practices for Hiring, Promotion, and Scholarship. As part of this work, the committee conducted interviews in autumn 2013 with more than 75 academic and industry computing and information unit heads to understand the issues and gain insights from practice. Preliminary recommendations were vetted with department chairs and CRA Deans at the Snowbird Conference in July 2014.

Computer Science Postdocs – Best Practices


The Computing Research Association’s (CRA) Board of Directors has approved a Best Practices Guide, providing guidance to graduate students, postdocs, advisors and mentors, and departments and institutions on how to have a positive postdoctoral experience within computer science and engineering. We encourage our colleagues throughout the community to take a look at the document — the latest in a series of white papers about the recent increase in postdocs in the field — and adopt these Best Practices.

Promotion and Tenure of Interdisciplinary Faculty


The fields of computing and information science and engineering have a strong commitment to interdisciplinary work, with CISE researchers collaborating with electrical engineers in the design of low-power chips; with linguists in the development of natural-language processing systems; with biologists in the exploration of the genetic code; with economists in the formation of theories of on-line commerce; and with statisticians in the discovery of new ways to extract information from rich sets of data—to name just a few examples.

University-Industry Sponsored Research Agreements


The fields of computing and information science and engineering have a strong commitment to interdisciplinary work, with CISE researchers collaborating with electrical engineers in the design of low-power chips; with linguists in the development of natural-language processing systems; with biologists in the exploration of the genetic code; with economists in the formation of theories of on-line commerce; and with statisticians in the discovery of new ways to extract information from rich sets of data—to name just a few examples.

Commercialization Oversight for Computer Research Departments


The relentless pressure to innovate in the information technology (IT) industry has drawn university researchers and graduate students into entrepreneurial situations to an increasing degree. The trend affects the academic enterprise in diverse ways, both favorable and unfavorable. The risks and rewards are outlined, and the concept of a Commercialization Oversight Committee is described as a mechanism that can facilitate the best outcomes when interests conflict.

Evaluating Computer Scientists and Engineers For Promotion and Tenure


The evaluation of computer science and engineering faculty for promotion and tenure has generally followed the dictate “publish or perish,” where “publish” has had its standard academic meaning of “publish in archival journals” [Academic Careers, 94]. Relying on journal publications as the sole demonstration of scholarly achievement, especially counting such publications to determine whether they exceed a prescribed threshold, ignores significant evidence of accomplishment in computer science and engineering. For example, conference publication is preferred in the field, and computational artifacts —software, chips, etc. —are a tangible means of conveying ideas and insight. Obligating faculty to be evaluated by this traditional standard handicaps their careers, and indirectly harms the field. This document describes appropriate evidence of academic achievement in computer science and engineering.