How Harvey Mudd Transformed Its Computer Science Program — And Nearly Closed Its Gender Gap

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Harvey Mudd is known as one of the most elite science, engineering and mathematics colleges in the world. But historically, its computer science department hasn’t exactly been known as a paragon of gender diversity — in 2006, only 10 percent of Harvey Mudd’s computer science majors were female.

But under Dr. Maria Klawe, the renowned computer scientist (and Microsoft board member) who joined Harvey Mudd as president in 2006, the gender ratio at Mudd’s CS department has changed dramatically. This year, fully 48 percent of the CS majors in Harvey Mudd’s junior class are female.

TechCrunch TV had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Klawe in person last week in Minneapolis at the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, and we were able to speak with her in depth about how exactly Harvey Mudd transformed its computer science department in such a short period of time. Encouraging diversity in computer science is something that Maria Klawe is clearly very passionate about, so it was great to hear her speak about the topic in detail. You can watch that in the video embedded above.

At a time when many technology companies are keen to bring more diversity to their engineering teams in the hopes of building better products, it’s great to see this kind of shift at the collegiate level — and it will be interesting to see if other universities follow Mudd’s lead.

You can see all our coverage of the 2013 Grace Hopper Celebration here.