Week 6: Who’s playing in the Top Educators league?

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Friday, July 9, 2021


Zeynep Tuna

This week, I started working on the Top Educators lists. In order to create the Top Educators lists for each demographic, I need to use the Überspreadsheet to create a separate sheet with all the institution’s 3-year averages for degrees awarded in physics. At first, I started calculating all the averages in the Excel sheet by hand. After a while, I realized this was going to take way too long! So, I decided that I could write a program to read in the Überspreadsheet, calculate all the averages and write it into an Excel sheet.

As I started writing the code, I ran into some problems – as expected. This week was mostly spent on Visual Studio Code debugging and printing to figure out how to make the code work. On another note, as I was studying the COE recommendations for Top Educator lists and the instructions on how to create the tables, I realized certain things. Firstly, when creating the Top Educators list for underrepresented minorities, we need to sum up the values for the last 3 years as we do not have enough/big enough numbers to take averages. Underrepresented minorities include African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indian/Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders and students who self-identify as multiracial members of two or more of the demographic categories who are U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents.

Moreover, some of our Top Educators lists will be empty, which means they just will not exist. This is the case for bachelor’s degrees in physics awarded to URM women, master’s degrees in physics awarded to women of color and URM women. The pattern we see here is that women and minority groups receive significantly less degrees than other demographics. This is not a surprising fact; however, it is a concerning one that we should improve our educational system on. Hopefully, I will have more information on these trends next week to share with you all!

Zeynep Tuna (she/her/hers)