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Web design program attracts women students

Web Design
Photo credit: Charles Barry

An early look at the statistics emerging from SCU’s enrollment management office revealed an interesting finding this spring: 77% of the students admitted into the new Bachelor of Science Web Design and Engineering (BSWDE) program are women.

Dan Lewis, associate professor of computer engineering, explains this trend: “A 2009 WGBH/ACM report found that today’s students-especially female students—are very interested in ‘social interaction’ and ‘making a difference in people’s lives.’ When we were looking to increase enrollment in our department,” he said, “we noticed that programs such as bioengineering and environmental science were growing. The common denominator was the opportunity those programs afforded students to do good for humanity. So, we looked for a way to include this aspect of social impact within a major in computing.”

The curriculum for the BSWDE combines courses covering the technology of computing with a large humanities component of web-related classes in communication, graphic arts, sociology, and English. “In this program, students learn about both the impact of the web on society, and the impact of those who use the web on the development of its technology,” said Lewis.

Sophomore Sara Phillips enjoys the variety of study the program offers and appreciates the value her education will bring to an employer. “You need to be able to work with the web and to know how it works so you can help a business,” she said. “It’s important to have that social aspect, as well.”

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