UT Joins Effort to Increase Number of Women in Technology, Computing

Published: Mar 4, 2013
The University of Tampa has been chosen to participate in The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) Pacesetters program.

In this two-year fast-track program senior executives from universities and corporations commit to attract and retain more women to careers in technology-related fields. The 20 universities and 14 companies in the 2013 Pacesetter cohort include startups and global corporations, public and private universities and state government departments.

Lead by the Department of Information and Technology Management (ITM) in the Sykes College of Business, UT’s goal is to increase enrollment of females in the management and information systems (MIS) program by 50 percent. Currently 23 percent of students majoring in MIS at UT are female. Enrollment will be measured at the start of each semester to assess progress.

According to NCWIT, women currently hold only 25 percent of all computing-related occupations in the U.S. and earn just 18 percent of all computing and information sciences degrees at U.S. institutions. Furthermore, 56 percent of women in technical careers leave their jobs at the mid-career level, when their loss is most costly to companies. With an estimated 1.4 million technology jobs being added to the workforce by 2020, according to the U.S Department of Labor, women represent a valuable, untapped talent pool.

“Many companies advertise internship and job opportunities in the computing field through UT’s Office of Career Services, but we don’t have enough qualified graduates to apply for these positions and meet the demand,” said Natasha Veltri, associate professor of information and technology management and lead on the NCWIT Pacesetters program at UT. Veltri applied for the program to join forces with other universities to help close this gap.

Ideas for increasing awareness and interest in computing include guest lectures by female ITM faculty and Tampa Bay technology professionals during introductory business courses to discuss career opportunities and serve as a role models; working with the Office of Career Services to organize careers in information technology events; and providing talking points to ITM department faculty on how to discuss the MIS major with their female advisees and students.

The new cohort of NCWIT Pacesetters kicked off its two-year commitment with a meeting at the University of California at Santa Cruz in February. The program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Google and Qualcom.

For more information, contact Veltri at nveltri@ut.edu or (813) 257-3970, or Jenny Slade, NCWIT communications director, at jslade@ncwit.org or (303) 735-6600.