CS Faculty Members Receive Google Grant

Harvey Mudd College computer science professors Zachary Dodds and Colleen Lewis have received a $25,000 grant from Google’s CS4HS program for their work providing professional development to local pre-college computer science educators.

CS4HS is an annual funding program that improves the computer science educational ecosystem by providing funding for CS teacher professional development. The program is part of Google’s effort to bring rigorous computer science professional development to CS teachers around the globe, with funding provided in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Sub-saharan Africa, Australia, New Zealand and China.

Dodds and Lewis’ work includes both face-to-face and online support for CS teachers to help Pomona Unified School District offer the new computer science advanced placement course AP CS Principles. Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, Dodds has already been working with Pomona Unified, and more than 4,000 students have taken computer science courses developed by Mudders for the Middle-years Computer Science (MyCS) program.

“We’re excited to help Pomona Unified add to their computer science course offerings with support from CS4HS,” says Dodds, who is the Leonhard-Johnson-Rae Professor of Computer Science.

To provide continued support to these and other nearby CS teachers, Dodds and Lewis will launch a Computer Science Teachers Association chapter at Harvey Mudd College, which will aim to bring together local CS teachers to help foster community. Also funded by an NSF grant, Lewis has served as a project investigator since 2013 for CSTeachingTips, a project that seeks to develop a set of CS teaching tips to help teachers anticipate students’ difficulties and build upon students’ strengths.

“Zach and I are both passionate about supporting CS teachers, and we’re thrilled to get to continue to work together to support the growing community of CS teachers around Mudd,” says Lewis.

Since its inception in 2009, nearly 400 CS4HS professional development opportunities have brought the core principles of CS to more than 20,000 teachers and impacted more than one million students

Over the past eight years, Harvey Mudd College’s Computer Science Department worked diligently to increase enrollment of female and minority students in undergraduate courses. Today, Harvey Mudd’s computer science undergraduate majors are roughly 40 percent women.