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Society for Research in Child Development Announces Next Executive Director

The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), a COSSA Governing Member, has announced the appointment of Laura L. Namy, Ph.D. as its next Executive Director. Namy served for 19 years in the Psychology Department and Linguistics Program at Emory University where she founded and supervised the Language and Learning Laboratory and directed the interdisciplinary Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture. She will begin her tenure at SRCD on September 5, replacing Lonnie Sherrod who has served in the position since 2007.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 27), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

AAPOR Report Assesses 2016 Election Polling Performance

After Donald Trump’s surprise win in the 2016 election, the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), a COSSA governing member, convened a committee to review the performance of pre-election polling (AAPOR has convened such committees after the past several elections). The committee, chaired by Courtney Kennedy of the Pew Research Center, recently released An Evaluation of 2016 Election Polls in the U.S., outlining its findings and recommendations.

According to the committee, “While the general public reaction [to the election result] was that ‘the polls failed,’ we found the reality to be more complex – a position held by a number of industry experts… Some polls, indeed, had large, problematic errors, but many polls did not. Critically, the reasons for the polling errors are no longer a mystery.” Overall, the committee found the national-level polls were “generally correct and accurate by historical standards,” but that many of the state-level polls were flawed. According to the report, underestimation of Trump’s support in state polls was due to late changing voter preferences, not sufficiently adjusting for overrepresentation of college graduates, and potentially, voters’ misrepresentation of their support for Trump.

The committee cautions against using the 2016 election as reason to discount the importance of polling and survey research: “Well-designed and rigorously executed surveys are still able to produce valuable, accurate information about the attitudes and experiences of the U.S. public.” To improve the outcomes of polling ahead of future presidential elections, the committee recommends finding ways to direct more resources toward critical state polls, which are often under-funded. The complete report is available on AAPOR’s website.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 13), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

CJRA and COSSA to Host “Ask a Criminologist” Panel on Technology and Policing

The Crime & Justice Research Alliance (CJRA) (a collaborative effort of the Academy of Criminal Justice Science and the American Society of Criminology, both COSSA members) and COSSA will be hosting the second in a series of “Ask a Criminologist” Congressional briefings on Wednesday, June 21. This interactive event will feature criminologist experts who will provide an overview of research on the latest technologies police are using across the country. Experts include CJRA Chair Dr. Nancy La Vigne of The Urban Institute, Dr. Cynthia Lum of George Mason University, Dr. Eric Piza of John Jay College, and Eddie Reyes of the Police Foundation. More information, and a link to RSVP, can be found here.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 13), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Alan Krueger to Deliver 2017 Moynihan Lecture

On May 18, the American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS), a COSSA member, will formally award the 2017 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize to Alan B. Kreuger, Bendheim Professor of Economics & Public Policy at Princeton University. The award recognizes “social scientists, public officials, and civic leaders who champion the use of informed judgment to advance the public good.” Kreuger, whose work focuses on analyzing the economic and policy implications of the growing “gig” economy, will deliver a lecture on Capitol Hill entitled “Independent Workers: What Role for Public Policy?” Information on the lecture, including how to attend, is available here. More information on the Moynihan Prize is available on the AAPSS website.

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 16), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

COSSA Welcomes Florida State University

Florida_State_University_sealCOSSA is pleased welcome Florida State University as its newest member. Located in Tallahassee, Florida State ranks eighth in the nation in federal funding of R&D in the social and behavioral sciences.  COSSA’s full membership list is available here. Information on how to join can be found on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 9 (May 2), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Society for Prevention Research Joins COSSA

logo-sprCOSSA is happy to welcome the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) as a Membership Organization. SPR is an “organization dedicated to advancing scientific investigation on the etiology and prevention of social, physical and mental health, and academic problems and on the translation of that information to promote health and well-being.” COSSA’s full membership list is available here. Information on how to join can be found on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 8 (April 18), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

COSSA Members Join March for Science

Several COSSA member organizations, including the American Anthropological Association, American Association of Geographers, American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, American Sociological Association, Linguistic Society of America, Society for Social Work and Research, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues have partnered with the March for Science. COSSA had previously announced its partnership with the March in February (a complete list of partner organizations is available here). The March will take place on April 22 in Washington, DC and at more than 300 satellite locations around the world.

Like science more generally, the March for Science is nonpartisan. It is not intended as a protest or demonstration against any one party or politician’s position. Instead, the event will be a celebration of science, promoting positive messages about the ways scientific research serves humankind. Those interested in following COSSA’s activities related to the March can sign up to receive periodic email updates.

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Posted in Issue 6 (March 21), 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)

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)

SBM Hosts NIH Good Clinical Practice for Social and Behavioral Research Training Course

The Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM), a COSSA member, is hosting a free National Institutes of Health (NIH) training and certification course for good clinical practice in behavioral and social science research at the request of the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. The Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program, funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, developed the training material which is comprised of nine video modules.

As previously reported, all NIH-funded investigators and staff who are involved in applying for, conducting, overseeing, or managing clinical trials are required, effective January 1, 2017, to have training in good clinical practice.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 7), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

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