Kean computer science program awarded $1.68 million federal grant

Photo Courtesy of Kean University
A $1.68 million research grant awarded to Kean University in Union will enable it to develop a model for computer science and information technology education designed to increase the number of students in those subjects.

UNION, N.J. — The National Science Foundation has awarded Kean University nearly $1.7 million in research funding to develop a model designed to increase the number of students studying computer science and information technology.

According to a recent press release from Kean, Professor Patricia Morreale, executive director of Kean’s School of Computer Science, said the grant will permit the university to “continue to scale up the number of students in our programs while expanding and learning from our successful approach.”

When completed, the research is expected to improve computer science teaching, encourage innovative faculty development methods and identify early intervention techniques for improving student academic success, the release said.

“These funds will help keep us on the path of success in computer science,” Kean President Dawood Farahi said. “We are grateful to the National Science Foundation for recognizing and supporting the strength of our programs.”

Kean’s computer science school has been working to increase the number of women computer science majors and those from underrepresented ethnicities. More than half Kean’s computer science and information technology majors are minorities, and almost 20 percent are female.

The North Avenue Academic Building houses the Kean School of Computer Science.

U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker have both issued statements announcing the federal grant and applauding Kean. They also expressed the importance of STEM education for students.

The federal grant will fund “growth mindset” training for faculty and students, which addresses student attitudes about learning in order to build confidence in the academic setting and help them achieve their goals. The funds will allow a review of the first and second year computer science course curriculum, and extend Kean’s supplemental instruction initiative to computer science and information technology.

Kean will also integrate coursework in problem solving and algorithms throughout the early-course sequence, and students will use gamification, the application of game-design elements in nongaming environments, to develop preprofessional skills, the release stated.