November 16, 2018
This semester, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte approached the university with a dilemma. He had been identified for an award in China, and he was unsure of whether he should take it, given the heightened geopolitical tensions, said Joan F. Lorden, the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Charlotte.
November 15, 2018
The Trump administration is breaking with 75 years of precedent by attempting to interfere in how science is practiced by the U.S. government, according to three experts who issued a dire warning to their profession in the journal Science on Thursday. The administration is empowering political staff to meddle with the scientific process by pushing through reforms disguised to look as though they boost transparency and integrity, the experts say. “It is tempting to conclude that recent proposals for reforming regulatory science are similar to what has occurred in the past,” they write. “They are not.” “People who are not scientists are telling us how scientific synthesis and analysis should be done,” says Wendy Wagner, a professor of law at the University of Texas at Austin and one of the authors of the paper. “We’re not even getting scientists’ best work. We’re tying scientists’ hands behind their back and not even giving them a shot.” “It’s a very dangerous place for science and public policy,” she told me. “Politics has gone to a place that should be off limits, and no one is noticing and calling them on that fact.”
September 19, 2018
Preparing a diverse STEM workforce requires engaging students at all levels. But the first round of Alliance winners is skewed toward higher education, specifically, running from 2-year community colleges through graduate training. In addition to Hodapp’s project, NSF gave $10 million to the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, based in Washington, D.C., and the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. They are pursuing a three-pronged attempt to improve the skills of STEM faculty members at dozens of universities in mentoring minority students, grow the ranks of minority STEM faculty, and promote diversity throughout academia. Another $10 million Alliance award, based at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California, will help community college students in California and three other states overcome deficits in math as the first step into a STEM major. A fourth $10 million Alliance grant, based at the University of Texas in El Paso, will support expansion of a 12-year-old computing alliance among academic institutions that serve a large number of Hispanic students.
August 3, 2018
The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities also supports Droegemeier’s selection, according to a statement. “Having such a strong leader as head of OSTP is essential to ensuring science is a key factor considered in the policymaking process,” the statement said. "All Americans are better off when science has a seat at the table.” The post has been vacant for about 19 months. Droegemeier would have to win confirmation from the U.S. Senate.
August 3, 2018
The long wait for a White House science adviser is over. President Donald Trump announced today that he intends to nominate meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier, a university administrator and former vice-chair of the governing board of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), to be director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The OSTP director traditionally, but not always, also holds the title of the president’s science adviser. The move caps a search process of record-setting length—nearly 560 days, double the longest time taken by any other modern president to name an OSTP director. Many in the research community had lamented the delay. But the wait may have been worth it: Droegemeier, a respected veteran of the Washington, D.C., policymaking scene, is getting positive reviews from science and university groups.
July 27, 2018
Making research a top priority: A university has to pick which areas to focus on, says Daniel A. Reed, senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Utah. It can choose either to compete in well-established areas of research or to look for emerging fields that may have less competition, he says.
July 27, 2018
Higher ed associations and scientific societies in recent weeks have joined a chorus of opposition to a proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule that would limit the use of science for crafting regulations where all underlying data aren’t publicly available. The proposal fits into a decades-long debate over what data should be made public from research that informs government policy making. More recently, arguments for data transparency have been wielded by critics of environmental regulations, such as Representative Lamar Smith, the outgoing chair of the House science committee who has been a vocal opponent of new environmental regulations. The agency says the proposal, which was announced in April, would ensure it pursues its public health mission in a manner the public can trust and understand. But university and medical groups that back scientific research say the rule would prevent EPA from using the best research available. The proposal could have huge implications for issuing regulations under environmental laws like the Clean Air Act.
July 27, 2018
Iowa State University will establish and lead a new research center into antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to a joint announcement Thursday from two university organizations. The Institute for Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education will be based at the Ames campus. The institute's formation will be a result of a task force on antibiotic resistance in production agriculture created in 2014 by the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. Federal health officials have said antibiotic-resistant bacteria annually cause at least 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the United States. The misuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture and overprescription and patient noncompliance in human health care are leading contributors to the resistance problem, experts have said.
June 29, 2018
The journey to a degree these days has many types of passengers, from full-time enrollees, to transfer students, to those who stop out for a variety of reasons only to re-enroll at a later date. More than half of bachelor’s degree recipients attend more than one post-secondary institution, and two-thirds of community college students are enrolled part-time, according to National Student Clearinghouse data.
June 13, 2018
A coalition of 500 research universities, scientific organizations and businesses released a progress reporttoday on a call for Congress and White House to support and improve innovation. The report praises increased congressional support for research but says more progress must be made. And it finds areas like U.S. visa policy an increasing concern. The release of the report comes three years after the groups called on the federal government to take action to back research and innovation.