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.
May 17, 2018
When Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016, the scientific research community braced for the worst. Funding for science research had stalled in the past decade. And on the campaign trail, Trump talked about drastic cuts to federal spending. For scientists, his overall attitude caused concern, such as when he called climate change a "hoax." When he released his budget request in May 2017, it did nothing to alleviate concerns that he'd decimate federal funding for scientific research. Across the nation, universities and researchers cautioned against it. "It was not a positive budget for the future of our country," says Jennifer Poulakidas, vice president for congressional and governmental affairs at the Association of Public Land-grant Universities.
April 12, 2018
A congressional hearing Wednesday focused on the vulnerability of U.S. academic institutions to foreign espionage activities and intellectual property theft. The hearing, held by two subcommittees of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, suggests that higher education is likely to continue coming under scrutiny from lawmakers who argue that it should be doing more to protect against threats posed by foreign intelligence collectors -- including what one witness, the journalist Daniel Golden, described as the “small but significant percentage of international students and faculty [who] come to help their countries gain recruits for clandestine operations, insights into U.S. government plans and access to sensitive military and civilian research.”