Blog Archives

White House Releases STEM Education Strategic Plan

On December 4, the White House released Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education, a strategic plan developed with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science and Technology Council Committee on STEM Education. The five-year strategic plan seeks to ensure all Americans have access to quality education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Goals include building a strong foundation of STEM literacy, increasing diversity in STEM, and preparing the STEM workforce of the future. The plan lays out pathways to these goals, including developing strategic STEM partnerships, engaging students at the convergence of multiple disciplines, and advancing computational thinking. More information and quick facts about the plan are available on the White House’s website.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Issue 24 (December 11), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Save the Date: Social Science Advocacy Day 2019

COSSA’s annual Social Science Advocacy Day, the only annual, coordinated advocacy day in support of all of the social and behavioral sciences, will take place on April 30 and May 1, 2019. Open exclusively to participants affiliated with COSSA member organizations and universities, Social Science Advocacy Day brings together social scientists and other science advocates from across the country to engage with policymakers in Washington, DC.

COSSA provides in-depth training and logistical support (including scheduling meetings with Congressional offices and providing an on-call expert to answer day-of policy questions), as well as polished, up-to-date materials to help advocates bring their message to Capitol Hill. Participants are teamed up with other advocates from their area and partnered with experienced government relations professionals who will guide them through their meetings with members of Congress and staff. Watch for more details in the COSSA Washington Update and on the Advocacy Day webpage.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Issue 23 (November 27), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

President Appoints Five New Members of the National Science Board, Reappoints Two Members

On November 5, President Trump announced his intent to make five appointments to the National Science Board (NSB), the governing body of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The selections include reappointments of former NSB chair Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Geraldine Richmond of the University of Oregon. Two of the new appointees, Alan Stern and Stephen Willard, have backgrounds in the private sector. Dr. Stern is considered to be a champion of commercial space activities and has worked for Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic. Mr. Willard is currently the CEO of a biotechnology firm after earlier careers in law and investment banking. The three other appointees will join the NSB from universities. Steven Leath is currently the President of Auburn University, after a career in agricultural research; Suresh Garimella is a professor of mechanical engineering and former vice president for research at Perdue University; and Maureen Condic is on faculty at the University of Utah and has focused her work on human neurological development, including testifying before congress on the ability of fetuses to experience pain during early stages of development and opposing research on embryonic stem cells.

Board members are nominated by the President to serve six-year terms, with the opportunity for renewal. In addition to Drs. Zuber and Richmond, the terms of six members of the NSB expired in May, meaning that education researcher Deborah Ball, internet founder Vinton Cerf, and four other NSB members were not selected for renewal. The NSB will hold its first meeting with the new appointees on November 28 and 29.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Issue 22 (November 13), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Introducing HEADLINES: A Monthly Look at What’s New and Noteworthy in Social Science Policy

headlines bannerCOSSA is excited to announce its newest program, exclusively for membersHeadlines: A monthly look at what’s new and noteworthy in social science policy. Launching in November, Headlines will be a monthly webchat in which members will learn about the latest policy and funding developments impacting social science research. The COSSA team, joined by periodic special guests, will take participants behind the headlines and explain what they need to know. COSSA is excited to offer this interactive space for members to get the policy-related information they need when they need it.

The first edition of Headlines will be two days after the midterm elections for a discussion on the “2018 Midterm Election Results and What’s Next for Social Science Funding and Policy.” During this webchat, COSSA will recap the results of the 2018 midterm elections, including the notable winners and losers, changes in Congressional leadership, and how the results will affect the Congressional committees overseeing social science funding and policy. Presenters will also look ahead and share our outlook for what to expect in the coming months and answer questions. COSSA members can register here to attend November’s monthly webchat.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Issue 21 (October 30), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

COSSA Endorses Bill to Combat Sexual Harassment in Science

On October 2, COSSA released a statement in support of H.R. 7031, the Combatting Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2018. The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, would provide funding to the National Science Foundation to establish a grant program to study the causes and consequences of sexual harassment in the scientific workforce, efficacy of interventions, and methods of remediating the negative impacts of sexual harassment. This legislation would also direct data collection about sexual harassment in science and establish and interagency working group to address this important issue. Read the full statement on COSSA’s website.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Issue 20 (October 16), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

NSF Seeks Nominations for the 2019 Alan T. Waterman Award

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting nominations for the Alan T. Waterman Award, the highest honor awarded by the NSF to early-career researchers. The annual award recognizes an outstanding young researcher, 40 years of age or younger or no more than 10 years beyond receipt of their Ph.D., in any field of science or engineering supported by the National Science Foundation. In addition to a medal, the awardee receives a grant of $1,000,000 over a five-year period for scientific research or advanced study in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, social or other sciences at the institution of the recipient’s choice. Psychologist Kristina R. Olson received the 2018 Waterman award and was the first social scientist to receive the award since 2005. More information can be found on the NSF website. Nominations may be submitted until October 22, 2018.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Issue 19 (October 2), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Social Psychologists Among 2018 Golden Goose Award Recipients

The seventh annual Golden Goose Award Ceremony was held on September 13 in Washington, DC to honor seemingly obscure federally funded research that resulted in “tremendous human and economic benefit.” Many members of Congress joined the honorees in recognizing the importance of federal-funded scientific research including Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR). The honorees included the social and behavioral scientists that pioneered the study of implicit bias and the Implicit Association Test. More information about the award, videos of the honorees, and complete coverage of the event can be found here.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Issue 18 (September 18), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

USDA Announces Plans to Move NIFA and ERS out of DC, Realign ERS with Chief Economist

In August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it plans to move two science agencies, the Economic Research Service (ERS) (one of USDA’s two principal statistical agencies) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) (USDA’s main extramural research agency), out of the Washington, D.C. region. USDA cited high attrition rates at these agencies as justification for moving them out of the region, although no data was provided. The Department also plans to administratively realign ERS from its current place within the Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area to the Office of the Chief Economist, citing their “similar missions,” although ERS is an official statistical agency bound by a set of directives and standards, while the Office of the Chief Economist primarily serves a policy-focused role. ERS’ longtime administrator, Mary Bohman, was reassigned ahead of this announcement.

The announcement has raised concerns for many in the science community. The move outside the D.C. area would almost certainly lead to a loss of highly specialized, expert staff at both agencies, and many are skeptical of the Department’s argument that retention is a problem for these agencies (both of which had been operating under a long-term hiring freeze). In addition, moving ERS from the research and data arm of USDA (which also includes ERS’s sister statistical agency, the National Agricultural Statistics Service) to a policy-focused area of the Department raises concerns about the agency’s ability to safeguard the independence of its data and findings.

USDA plans to proceed with these moves without Congressional or stakeholder approval. A Federal Register notice asking jurisdictions to volunteer to host one or both agencies (the deadline is September 14), but no other public feedback was requested. The Department expects the move to be completed by the end of 2019. COSSA has joined two letters (available here and here) asking Congress to intervene to stop USDA from moving ERS (a letter focused on NIFA is forthcoming).

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Issue 17 (September 4), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Kelvin Droegemeier Nominated to Lead OSTP

On August 1, President Trump nominated Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier to serve as the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The OSTP director has traditionally, but not always, held the title of Special Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, otherwise known as the president’s science advisor, but it is not clear if Droegemeier would fill this role as well. Dr. Droegemeier holds a Ph.D. in atmospheric science and has served on the faculty of the University of Oklahoma in Norman for 33 years and as the university’s vice president for research since 2009. OU is a COSSA member university. Additionally, he was nominated by President George W. Bush to the National Science Board in 2004, was reappointed by President Obama in 2011, and served as the vice-chair of the board for four years.

Droegemeier’s nomination now awaits approval by the Senate but has come as a relief to much of the scientific community. President Trump took twice as much time as any other modern president to name an OSTP Director and his administration has routinely eschewed scientific expertise in its decision making. OSTP is responsible for providing scientific and technological analysis and judgment to the President, leading interagency science and technology policy coordination efforts, and assisting the Office of Management and Budget with an annual review and analysis of Federal research and development in budgets.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Issue 16 (August 7), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Steven Dillingham Nominated to Lead Census Bureau

Dr. Steven Dillingham was nominated on July 18 by President Trump to serve as the Director of the Census Bureau within the Department of Commerce. Dillingham currently directs the Office of Strategic Information, Research, and Planning for the Peace Corps and previously led the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. He holds a Ph.D. in political science, as well as a law degree, an MBA, and a master’s degree in public administration. Given his record of leadership within the federal statistical system, Dillingham’s nomination is a welcome departure from the type of controversial, politically-motivated candidates the Administration was previously reported to have considered.

The job of the director of the Census Bureau has been empty for more than a year and, if confirmed by the Senate, Dillingham will direct the Bureau through a difficult time, as the 2020 Census quickly approaches and the Bureau is under heightened scrutiny for the controversial decision to add a question on citizenship to the 2020 questionnaire. Upon his confirmation, Dillingham would serve out the remainder of the current five-year term, ending in December 31, 2021.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Issue 15 (July 24), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Subscribe

Click here to subscribe to the COSSA Washington Update, our biweekly newsletter.

Archive

Looking for something from a previous issue of the COSSA Washington Update? Try our archive.

Issues

Browse by Month