Blog Archives

DBASSE Seeks Deputy Executive Director

The Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine is seeking a new Deputy Executive Director. More information on the position and application instructions are available here.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 7), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

National Academies Releases Report on Dual Language and English Learners

On February 28, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures, a report by the Committee on Fostering School Success for English Learners. The report assesses the current state of English language education in the United States and offers recommendations on how to improve learning outcomes for dual language learners (DLLs) and English learners (ELs). Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states have a responsibility to address disparities in the educational outcomes of DLLs/ELs.

The report contains 14 recommendations designed to inform policy and offers a research agenda. The Committee recommends standardizing terminology across agencies, that state education agencies examine the relationships between students’ characteristics and English ability, and that the Institute of Educational Sciences within the U.S. Department of Education encourage research on the effects of state ESSA variation on DLLs/ELs. The report also highlights research gaps in understanding DLLs/ELs with disabilities.

This article was contributed by COSSA’s spring intern, Laila Rosenthal of American University.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 7), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Academies Board on Environmental Change and Society Seeking New Members

The Board on Environmental Change and Society (BECS) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is accepting nominations for new members. BECS focuses on research on interactions between humans and their environment. While members represent disciplines across the social and natural sciences, the Board is particularly interested in candidates with expertise on human-environment interactions, adaptive management, transformative change, and methods for integration of social and natural sciences. More information and instructions on submitting nominations are available on the National Academies website. Nominations are due by March 21.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 7), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

LSA Releases Annual Report on Linguistics in Higher Education

The Linguistic Society of America (LSA), a COSSA Governing Member, has issued its fourth Annual Report on the State of Linguistics in Higher Education. The report shows a growing popularity of the linguistics major at four-year colleges and universities, as well as a number of other interesting highlights such as career trends, demographics, and specializations.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 7), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Bracing for a Tough Budget Cycle

The fiscal year (FY) 2017 appropriations process has yet to conclude, but interest is already turning to FY 2018. The Trump Administration has begun releasing limited details on what the President’s FY 2018 budget request could contain when released later this spring. A so-called “skinny budget,” or top-line, department-level outline, is expected to be released next week with full details provided in May.

The President has stated his intent to propose an additional $54 billion in defense spending. Such an increase coupled with promises of middle class tax cuts, corporate tax cuts, a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, and keeping Medicare and Social Security fully intact, leaves non-defense discretionary spending as the only logical target as an offset. Non-defense discretionary spending covers everything in the federal budget that is not defense-related or entitlement programs; it includes funding for scientific research at the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and dozens of other agencies across the federal government. While funding for science may not be a direct target for cuts by the Administration (it is too soon to tell), the U.S. scientific enterprise would still be significantly harmed by such reductions in non-defense discretionary spending.

Complicating things further are the caps on discretionary spending under which appropriators are forced to operate. In 2015, lawmakers made a deal to raise the spending caps for 2016 and 2017, while maintaining equity between the defense and non-defense sides of the ledger. Without action from Congress this year, top-line budget levels will be even tighter in 2018. Further, it is clear that the Administration has no interest in maintaining balance between defense and non-defense discretionary spending.

Given the ever-increasing divisiveness in Washington and the need to get 60 votes to get most bills passed through the Senate, a possible outcome for funding in the year ahead is a series of continuing resolutions that keeps funding roughly flat and the government open. More will be known as we wade into FY 2018 funding negotiations later this year once the President’s budget is released.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 7), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

AAA&S Report Makes Recommendations for Improved U.S. Language Education

On February 28, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAA&S), a COSSA member, released, America’s Languages: Investing in Language Education for the 21st Century, the final report of the Commission on Language Learning. A bipartisan group of U.S. Members of Congress requested that AAA&S establish the Commission in order “to examine the current state of U.S. language education, to project what the nation’s education needs will be in the future, and to offer recommendations for ways to meet those needs.”

The Commission found that only 10 percent of the U.S. population speaks a second language proficiently, a number insufficient to meet either the nation’s current or future demand. At the report release event, Ambassador Nancy McEldowney, Director of the Foreign Service Institute and a Commission member, noted that it is far more cost effective for the U.S. government to hire people who already possess language skills, rather than teaching those skills to its employees. Individuals who can speak a second language exhibit improved cognitive skills and are faster at learning additional languages.

The Commission offered five recommendations for increasing language education, with the ultimate goal of exposing 100 percent of U.S. students to a second language. Paul LeClerc, the Commission’s Chairman and Director of the Columbia University Global Center in Paris, said that a lack of language teachers is the main obstacle to this goal. The report’s first recommendation is increasing the number of language teachers in U.S. schools, which would require considering language instruction as an education priority, equivalent to math education. The Commission suggested two research areas that would aid in this increase: an investigation of the state of language programs at a school district level and evaluation of using digital technology in language instruction. The report also suggests developing higher education consortia to encourage advanced language study and a student loan forgiveness program for language teachers.

The report also recommends increased support for heritage language speakers (those who grow up with a second language at home), Native American languages, study abroad opportunities, and partnerships between public and private language education stakeholders. The Commission released a companion report, The State of Languages in the U.S.: A Statistical Portrait, in December 2016, which contains data backing the final report.

This article was contributed by COSSA’s spring intern, Laila Rosenthal of American University.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 7), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Funding Opportunity Announcements

NIH Opportunities:

  • NCI: Research Answers to NCI’s Provocative Questions (R01) (RFA-CA-17-017), (R21) (RFA-CA-17-018)
  • NIA: The Health and Retirement Study (U01) (RFA-AG-18-005)
  • NIAAA: Alcohol Research Resource Awards (R24) (PAR-17-170)
  • NICHD: NICHD Research Education Programs (R25) (PAR-17-183)
  • NIDA: Advancing Exceptional Research on HIV/AIDS and Substance Abuse (R01) (RFA-DA-18-002)
  • NIDDK: Evaluating Natural Experiments in Healthcare to Improve Diabetes Prevention and Treatment (R18) (PAR-17-178)
  • NIDDK: Planning Grants for Pragmatic Research in Healthcare Settings to Improve Diabetes and Obesity Prevention and Care (R34) (PAR-17-180)
  • NIDDK: Pragmatic Research in Healthcare Settings to Improve Diabetes and Obesity Prevention and Care (R18) (PAR-17-177)
  • NIGMS: Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award for Early Stage Investigators (R35) (PAR-17-190)
  • NIMH: Innovations in HIV Testing, Adherence, and Retention to Optimize HIV Care Continuum Outcomes (R21) (PA-17-181), (R01) (PA-17-182)
  • NIMH: Targeted Implementation Science to Achieve 90/90/90 Goals for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment (R01) (PA-17-194), (R21) (PA-17-195)
  • NIMHD: Limited Competition: NIMHD Endowment Program for Increasing Research and Institutional Resources (S21) (RFA-MD-17-004)
  • NIMHD: NIMHD Specialized Centers of Excellence for Research on Minority Health and Health Disparities (U54) (RFA-MD-17-005)

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 7), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Events Calendar

A list of COSSA members’ annual meetings and other events can be found on the COSSA events page. COSSA members who have an upcoming event they would like to see listed in the Events Calendar and on our website should send an email to jmilton@cossa.org.

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