Blog Archives

National Academies Releases Decadal Survey of the Social and Behavioral Science for Applications to National Security

On March 5, the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences of the National Academies of Science released a Consensus Study Report of the Decadal Survey of Social and Behavioral Science for Applications to National Security. A decadal survey is a method of engaging members of a scholarly community to identify lines of research with the greatest potential to be used over a 10-year period in pursuit of a particular goal. This is the first decadal survey to attempt to set a research agenda for the social and behavioral sciences or the intelligence community.

The report, A Research Agenda for Advancing Intelligence Analysis, recommends that the intelligence community make sustained collaboration with research in the social and behavioral sciences as a central part of the 10-year research agenda. The report highlights ways to promote interdisciplinary collaboration so that the insights from social and behavioral science research are more fully integrated with the needs and objectives of the intelligence community. The report also includes opportunities for social and behavioral science research to help strengthen, plan, and design intelligence analysis. The full report can be read on the National Academies’ website.

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Posted in Issue 6 (March 19), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

NASEM Report Evaluates Strategies for Reducing Child Poverty

In response to a 2015 Congressional directive to conduct a comprehensive study of child poverty in the United States, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released a new report, A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty. The consensus study report evaluates the evidence surrounding the efficacy of existing federal programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and proposes a strategy for reducing the child poverty rate in the United States by half over the next decade. The authoring committee identifies several priority areas for research, including developing effective work-oriented child poverty reduction programs, program administration that enhances the stability of low-income families, and reducing barriers to accessing assistance programs. The report also recommends improving data collection and measurement (including developing a health-inclusive poverty measure), continued monitoring and program evaluation, and better coordination of research and data priorities across departments. The full report can be accessed on the National Academies website.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 5), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

National Academies Seeking Nominations for New Decadal Survey of Social and Behavioral Science Research Related to Alzheimer’s Disease: DEADLINE FEBRUARY 6

The Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) is seeking nominations to a committee that will be charged with developing a Decadal Survey of Behavioral and Social Science Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementias. The study will identify research opportunities throughout the social and behavioral sciences, including psychology, sociology, demography, economics, anthropology, cognition, and behavioral neuroscience, that can be brought to bear on prevention, care, and better understanding of the effects of the disease on society. Various techniques will be used to identify the community of experts outside of the appointed committee including town halls, the use of social media directed towards science (e.g. IdeaBuzz), and webcasting of special workshops to draw attention to the initiative. Nominations may be submitted by filling out this form by February 6, 2019.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 5), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

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)

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