August 28, 2017

Peter Drake Honored for Outstanding Computer Science Curriculum

Peter Drake Honored for Contributing Outstanding Introductory Computer Science Curriculum by NCWIT.

Dr. Peter Drake, Associate Professor of Computer Science, received the NCWIT EngageCSEdu Engagememt Excellence Award.  Sponsored by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and funded by Google, this award recognizes faculty who employ particular teaching practices in their introductory computer science classrooms known to better engage students, especially women and underrepresented groups.

Dr. Drake is recognized for three excellent Computer Science II (CS 172) level POGIL assignments he contributed to the EngageCSEdu collection this year: Beetle, Shut the Box, Java in N games and Towers of Hanoi.  Not only are these assignments incredibly engaging, they are great examples of how to engage and retain students through the use of well-structured collaborative learning and with assignments that are relevant and meaningful to their lives. In particular, the Towers of Hanoi assignment is a novel and highly effective reboot of a tried and true assignment.

Recipients of the EngageCSEdu Engagement Excellence Awards demonstrate unique, refreshing approaches in developing course materials that foster an inclusive, interactive classroom environment and encourage confidence in students to persist. Recipients also contribute these materials to EngageCSEdu, a dynamic collection of high-quality, peer-reviewed instructional materials cultivated by faculty who are committed to broadening participation in computing through great pedagogy.

“Make no mistake that retention is equally important as recruitment, when it comes to increasing women’s meaningful participation in computing,” said NCWIT CEO and Co-founder Lucy Sanders. “Because these award recipients use sound teaching practices to energize and empower their students, they make a critical impact on students’ experiences with computing and can encourage students to continue in the field.”

In the U.S. in 2015, women earned 57% of all undergraduate degrees. Yet, women earned less than one-fifth of all computer and information sciences undergraduate degrees. Course materials that incorporate collaborate learning, interdisciplinary connections, and other particular teaching practices can help to engage and retain more underrepresented students in computing.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a nonprofit community of nearly 900 universities, companies, nonprofits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase girls’ and women’s meaningful participation in computing. Find out more at