FROM THE ARCHIVES: 40 Years of COSSA
To cap off our celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are sharing these excerpts from past milestones. You can read all of the articles we’ve highlighted this year here.
The Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) celebrated its tenth anniversary with a day-long series of events on June 3. It was in May 1981 that social and behavioral science funding at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and at other federal agencies came under attack by the Reagan administration, mobilizing a number of the professional associations in these disciplines to counter this threat. What began as an experiment in creating an advocacy group to coordinate that response has led to an organization which still exists ten years later to promote attention to and federal funding for the social and behavioral sciences.
Current Executive Director Howard J. Silver, who has been with COSSA for eight of its ten years, led off the celebration with a brief review of the organization’s history from the battles in the early days, such as the victory on the Winn Amendment, to the current effort to create a separate directorate for the social, economic and psychological sciences at NSF. He introduced past and current COSSA Presidents Victor Rosenblum and Joseph Grimes.
“A fiery intellectual agenda” is reflected in the COSSA’s 20th anniversary events, remarked keynote speaker David Ward at COSSA’s annual meeting October 29 in Washington, D.C. Over 80 social and behavioral science researchers, government officials association leaders, and representatives of COSSA’s members converged to celebrate the influence of social and behavioral science on public policy and look to the future.
Originally booked for the Library of Congress, the meeting was moved to the Hyatt on Capitol Hill which, unlike the Congressional buildings, was not closed for anthrax clean-up.
Ward, President of the American Council on Education, kicked off the all-day meeting by referring to the contents of Fostering Human Progress: Social and Behavioral Science Research Contributions to Public Policy, produced by COSSA for the occasion.
On November 2 and 3, the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) held its 30th Anniversary Colloquium and Celebration in Washington, DC. The largest audience in COSSA meeting history heard talks from key federal officials and distinguished social scientists.
The day began with a welcome from COSSA Executive Director Howard J. Silver in which he explained the organization’s origins as an advocacy group – the need to fight severe cuts proposed by the Reagan Administration in 1981 to the social and behavioral science budgets at the National Science Foundation and elsewhere in the federal government. He also noted that in the subsequent 30 years, COSSA has dealt with five presidential administration and sixteen congresses. Tom Mann of the Brookings Institution, who served as the first chair of COSSA’s Executive Committee, gave the keynote address examining the political landscape of the last thirty years. He also congratulated COSSA for becoming “a serious Washington player” through its advocacy for the social sciences.