January 8, 2019
While the U.S. Department of Education is still funded under the current federal government shutdown, college and universities who rely on funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Geological Survey are currently impacted.
January 4, 2019
West Virginia State University has research grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture totaling several million dollars, and school leaders began formulating contingency plans when a partial federal government shutdown that could jeopardize the projects appeared imminent.
January 4, 2019
Senate lawmakers late Wednesday confirmed Kelvin Droegemeier, an extreme-weather expert, as the White House’s top science and tech adviser, filling a critical administration role that had been vacant for nearly two years under President Trump.
January 2, 2019
Numerous federal agencies that are important to higher education were shut down when a standoff over President Trump's proposed border wall was not resolved. Trump has vowed not to sign a measure to keep the government fully functioning unless more than $5 billion is included for the wall. Democrats have refused to provide the votes to do so.
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.