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National Academies Establishes Standing Committee on Science Communication Research and Practice

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) announced on November 21 the establishment of a new standing committee to bring together science communication practitioners and researchers. The Standing Committee on Advancing Science Communication Research and Practice will engage broad networks of stakeholders from across sectors to advance science communication around the goals of building a coherent knowledge base about communicating science, making it easier for science communicators to access research, and support organizations and individuals communicating science outside the science enterprise. More information about the standing committee and a list of members can be found at the NASEM website.

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

Academies Releases “Science and Engineering for Grades 6-12”

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) released a new consensus study report, Science and Engineering for Grades 6-12: Investigation and Design at the Center. The report revisits the National Research Council’s 2006 America’s Lab Report: Investigations in High School Science and reviews relevant research with a focus on how to engage today’s middle and high school students in science and engineering.

This report provides guidance for teachers, administrators, creators of instructional resources, and leaders in teacher professional learning on how to support students. Recommendations center around changing science and engineering instruction to focus on investigation and design through new instructional resources and professional learning opportunities for teachers, instruction on how to provide multiple opportunities for students to engage in science projects, and guidance for administrators to account for historical inequities by implementing science investigation and engineering design for all students.

The full report is available for download on the National Academies ’s website.

This article was contributed by COSSA’s fall intern, Victoria Deck of Emerson College.

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Posted in Issue 23 (December 13), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Academies Releases “How People Learn II”

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) recently released a new consensus study report, How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts, and Cultures, which summarizes the current research on the science of learning. The report is a follow-up to a 2000 study and highlights advances in knowledge produced over the past 15 years, including “insights about the influence of culture in shaping how people learn, the dynamic nature of learning across the life span, and the importance of motivation in learning.” The report also identifies priorities for future research in two main areas: (1) connecting research on internal mechanisms of learning with the shaping forces of contextual variation, including culture, social context, instruction, and time of life; and (2) using insights on the science of learning to better design technologies that facilitate learning across the lifespan and to adapt technologies to specific learning environments. The full report is available for download on the National Academies’ website.

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

Academies Report Recommends Strategies to Address Sexual Harassment in Academia

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released a new consensus study report, Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report details the impacts of sexual harassment in terms of damage to research integrity and loss of talent and argues that institutions should view sexual harassment as “equally important as research misconduct in terms of its effect on the integrity of research.” The report makes seven broad recommendations for how academic institutions can better address and prevent sexual harassment: address gender harassment (sexist hostility and crude behavior); move beyond legal compliance to address culture and climate; create diverse, inclusive, and respectful environments; improve transparency and accountability; diffuse the hierarchical and dependent relationship between trainees and faculty; provide support for targets of harassment; and strive for strong and diverse leadership. The complete report and supplementary materials are available on the National Academies website.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 26), 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)

Webinar Highlights Graduate Training in the Social and Behavioral Sciences

On March 6, COSSA hosted a webinar to discuss a recent workshop on Graduate Training in the Social and Behavioral Sciences convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). The webinar featured Robert Kaplan (Workshop Planning Committee Chair) and Amy Stephens (NASEM), who discussed findings from the workshop (the workshop summary is available here) and potential next steps. Slides are posted on COSSA’s website. COSSA is collecting contact information for those who wish to stay involved in ongoing efforts in this area.

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Posted in Issue 6 (March 20), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

National Academies Launches Reproducibility and Replicability Study

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held the first meeting of the study committee on Reproducibility and Replicability in Science on December 12 and 13.  The study is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and is statutorily required by a provision in the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act. The committee will work to identify factors that affect reproducibility and replication, highlight best practices, and ascertain the extent of issues affecting reproducibility and replication. More information about project can be found here.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 9), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

National Academies Requests Nominations for Study on the Well-Being of Military Families

The Board on Children, Youth, and Families of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is requesting nominations for experts to serve on a new consensus committee to study the Well-Being of Military Families. The consensus study will examine the challenges and opportunities facing families of service members and identify effective strategies are already known for supporting and protecting military children and families. The Board seeks experts in military children and families, stress development and resilience, family interactions, mental and social support services, and military systems. Nominations are due by Friday, December 1, 2017. More information can be found here.

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Posted in Issue 23 (November 28), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

National Academies Calls for Better Integration of Social and Behavioral Science into Weather Enterprise

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) has released a new consensus report, Integrating Social and Behavioral Sciences Within the Weather Enterprise. Sponsored by the National Weather Service and the Office of Weather and Air Quality within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Highway Administration, the report acknowledges a “growing recognition that a host of social and behavioral factors determine how we prepare for, observe, predict, respond to, and are impacted by weather hazards” and that research and findings from the social and behavioral sciences must be better incorporated into the systems we use to predict and communicate information about the weather and hazards. The report proposes a framework for accomplishing this goal that includes ensuring the social sciences are represented in the leadership of weather organizations, building capacity to support social science research throughout the weather enterprise through sustained funding and professional support, and focusing on research to fill knowledge gaps, particularly system-level studies of the weather enterprise; risk assessment and responses; and message design, delivery, interpretation, and use. The complete report is available on the National Academies website.

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Posted in Issue 22 (November 14), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

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