BLS Releases New Data on the “Gig Economy”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released new data on contingent and alternative employment arrangements, the first data of its kind released since 2005. The data includes totals for contingent workers (whose jobs are temporary or otherwise not expected to last), independent contractors, on-call workers, temp workers, and workers provided by contract firms. In addition to this data, BLS is testing questions on short-term work found through websites or mobile apps and expects to release data on this population in September. More information about the release is available on the BLS website.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 12), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

NASEM Report Outlines Future of Graduate STEM Education

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) recently released a new consensus study report on Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century, which outlines ways to better to prepare students from all backgrounds for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The study was written by a committee chaired by Alan Leshner, CEO Emeritus of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Burroughs Welcome Fund, the Institute of Education Sciences, and the Spencer Foundation.

The report describes an ideal system of STEM graduate education and outlines core competencies for master’s and doctoral STEM degrees. The report makes a number of recommendations to achieve this vision, including funding for research on graduate STEM education; rewarding effective teaching and mentoring; collecting national and institutional data on students and graduates; ensuring diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environments; career exploration and preparation for graduate students; changes to the structure of doctoral research activities; and stronger support for graduate student mental health services. The full report is available to download for free on the NASEM website.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 12), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

New NASEM Report Identifies “Indicators for Monitoring Undergraduate STEM Education”

On May 21, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) hosted a webinar to mark the release of a new report, Indicators for Monitoring Undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education. The goal of the report was to improve undergraduate STEM education by developing metrics by which it can be measured. To do this, NASEM conducted a consensus study of indicators that would allow STEM education quality to be tracked over time. The report found that improving the quality and impact of undergraduate STEM education would require progress towards: (1) “increasing students’ mastery of STEM concepts and skills,” (2) “striving for equity, diversity, and inclusion of STEM students and instructors,” and (3) “ensuring adequate numbers of STEM professionals by increasing completion of STEM credentials.” The objectives and their corresponding indicators in this study each fall under one of these three goals.

The report concludes that to monitor the status and quality of undergraduate STEM education, national data systems need to not only track both full- and part-time students’ paths across and within institutions, but must also include more demographic characteristics to ensure progress towards equity, diversity, and inclusion. There is a need for recurring longitudinal surveys of instructors and students, and, due to the limited availability of data for the study’s indicators, new data collection is needed for many of them. The report contains several proposals for how the indicator system could be implemented, including national student data systems, expanding current federal institutional surveys, and developing a national representative student sample, each supplemented with expanded surveys of students and instructors. The complete report is available to download on the NASEM website.

This article was contributed by COSSA’s summer intern, Catherine Cox of the University of Michigan.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 12), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

COSSA Washington Update, Volume 37 Issue 11

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COSSA in Action

Congressional News

Federal Agency & Administration News

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Events Calendar

Posted in Issue 11 (May 29), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

House Panel Passes FY 2019 Funding for NSF, Census, NIJ

On May 17, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill; the bill was marked up in subcommittee on May 9. The CJS bill serves as the vehicle for annual appropriations for the National Science Foundation (NSF), Census Bureau, National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and many other federal departments and agencies. The Senate has not yet released the details of its CJS bill.

At a Glance…

  • The House CJS bill includes $8.2 billion for NSF in FY 2019, which is 5.2 percent above the FY 2018 enacted level and 9.4 percent above the President’s request.
  • The House bill would provide NIJ with $44 million and BJS with $50 million, which is 4.8 and 4.2 percent, respectively, above the FY 2018 enacted level and 22 percent above the President’s request.
  • The House bill would provide the Census Bureau with $4.8 billion in discretionary funding for FY 2019. That amount is an increase of $2 billion compared to FY 2018 and $1 billion more than the amount requested by the Administration.
  • The House bill includes $99 million for the Economics and Statistics Administration, which houses BEA, flat with FY 2018 and $2 million below the President’s request.

The next step for the bill is consideration by the full House. However, with the August recess quickly approaching, and this being an election year, floor time is extremely limited. It remains to be seen whether/how House leadership will proceed with the individual appropriations bills this year. It is all but certain that FY 2019 will being on October 1, 2018 under a continuing resolution (CR).

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of the House Appropriations Committee’s proposals for the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Census Bureau.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 29), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

COSSA Presents Rep. Dan Lipinski with Distinguished Service Award

Members of the COSSA Board of Directors, representatives from COSSA governing member associations, Representative Lipinski, and his office staff

Members of the COSSA Board of Directors, representatives from COSSA governing member associations, Representative Lipinski, and his office staff

On May 17, following the 2018 COSSA Science Policy Conference and Social Science Advocacy Day, representatives of COSSA’s governing member associations presented the 2018 Distinguished Service Award to Representative Daniel Lipinski (D-IL). Lipinski, who serves on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, as Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Research, and holds a Ph.D. in political science, has been a strong advocate for scientific research at all levels and across all fields of study. He has worked productively with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enact legislation that strengthens the U.S. scientific enterprise and has helped raise the profile of the social and behavioral sciences. The other recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Service Award is Dr. William Riley, Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research at the National Institutes of Health. Riley was presented with the award at a reception during the COSSA Conference.  Learn more about the COSSA Distinguished Service Award on COSSA’s website.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 29), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

House and Senate Committees Approve FY 2019 Agriculture Funding

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved their fiscal year (FY) 2019 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bills. This bill contains funding for the two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistical agencies, the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), as well as the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which funds competitive research projects. The House bill (H.R. 5961) was approved by the subcommittee on May 9 and by the full committee on May 16. The Senate version of the bill, which does not yet have a bill number, was passed by the subcommittee on May 22 and by the full committee on May 24.

At a Glance…

  •  Both the House and Senate bills would maintain flat funding for ERS at $86.8 million, rejecting the nearly 50 percent cut proposed in the President’s request.
  • Both the House and Senate propose decreases for the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) as it ramps down from the 2017 Census of Agriculture; the House proposal of $173.7 million is $1.1 million below the Senate’s proposed $174.8 million. However, both levels are higher than the amount proposed in the President’s request.
  • The House bill would provide $1.45 billion for NIFA, which is 2.8 percent above FY 2018. The Senate bill includes $1.42 billion, an increase of 1.1 percent. Both chambers propose increases for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, with the House proposing a larger increase than the Senate.

The next step for both bills is consideration by their respective chambers. Both the House and Senate leadership have expressed a commitment to trying to pass at least some of the FY 2019 appropriations bills before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1. However, with August recess and the peak of campaign season quickly approaching, it remains to be seen which bills will be passed and when.

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees’ proposals for the Economic Research Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service, and National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 29), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Senate Subcommittee Holds Hearing on 2019 NIH Budget

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) hosted leadership from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to testify on the agency’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget request. NIH Director Francis Collins, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Director Walter Koroshetz, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, National Cancer Institute Director Norman Sharpless, and National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow all testified. Senators from both parties praised NIH for its accomplishments, further solidifying its position as a bipartisan priority. Subcommittee Chair Roy Blunt (R-MO), Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), and other members of the subcommittee expressed concern with the $2 billion cut recommended in the President’s FY 2019 budget request, especially in contrast to the $3 billion increase NIH received from Congress in the FY 2018 omnibus spending bill. Committee members questioned witnesses on NIH activities related to the opioid epidemic, a universal flu vaccine, immunotherapy, the recent outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and a recent scandal at NIH regarding an alcohol industry-financed study of the health affects of alcohol. Written statements from Blunt and Collins, along with a recording of the hearing can be found on the committee’s website. COSSA’s coverage of FY 2019 funding is available here.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 29), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

CNSF Hosts 24th Annual Capitol Hill Exhibition

On May 9, the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF), of which COSSA is a member, hosted its 24th Annual Capitol Hill Exhibition and Reception, titled “Investments in Scientific and Educational Research: Fueling American Innovation.” Several COSSA member associations and universities featured researchers whose work has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The event seeks to highlight the importance of NSF-supported basic research with policymakers. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) produced a video featuring some of the presenters. COSSA co-sponsored the event.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 29), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

COSSA Washington Update, Volume 37 Issue 10

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COSSA in Action

Congressional News

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Community News & Reports

Events Calendar

Posted in Issue 10 (May 15), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

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