Issue 23 (November 28)


Save the Date: 2018 COSSA Science Policy Conference and Social Science Advocacy Day – April 30 & May 1

COSSA’s 2018 Science Policy Conference and Social Science Advocacy Day will take place on April 30 and May 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. The Conference brings together COSSA members and other stakeholders for a day of discussion about federal policy impacting our science followed by the only annual, coordinated advocacy day in support of all of the social and behavioral sciences. Early bird registration will open later in December. More details will be posted on the Conference webpage as they are made available.

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SRCD Answers “Why Social Science?”

why-social-scienceThis week’s Why Social Science? guest post comes from Martha Zaslow, Director for Policy and Communications at the Society for Research and Child Development, who writes about ways the social sciences can tell us how to “grow the roots” of STEM learning in children. Read it here and subscribe.

Budget Deal to Raise Spending Caps in Negotiation; Senate Releases Remaining Appropriations Bills

Congressional leaders have indicated over the past few weeks that they plan to extend the current continuing resolution under which the government is operating past its December 8 expiration date. Extending the continuing resolution will give Congress more time to wrap up fiscal year (FY) 2018 appropriations and reach a deal to raise spending caps. According to the latest reports, Congressional Republicans are proposing an increase of $54 billion in defense spending and $37 billion in nondefense spending, which includes federal science agencies, for the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years.

While the House of Representatives completed its work on the FY 2018 appropriations in September, the Senate has moved more slowly; only eight of the twelve spending bills have passed the Appropriations Committee, and none have received a vote of the full Senate. The remaining four spending bills were released last week and will likely be considered by the Appropriations committee in the coming days. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) added in his statement regarding the FY 2018 appropriations outlook that the Committee needs a new budget deal to finish their work, as much of their proposed spending is higher than the statutory spending caps in the Budget Control Act.

Administration Considering Controversial Pick for Census Deputy Director

The Trump Administration is reportedly considering naming Thomas Brunell, a political science professor at the University of Texas, Dallas, as the next Deputy Director of the Census Bureau. The pick has raised concerns for Census stakeholder groups both because Brunell has no prior government experience and would be the top operations official overseeing the decennial census, the government’s biggest non-wartime operation, and because his selection would appear to politicize what has historically been a non-political position. Brunell has testified on behalf of Republican redistricting efforts and is the author of a 2008 book called Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America. Brunell was originally considered for the Census Director position (still vacant and without a nominee after the departure of John Thompson in June), but did not successfully complete the vetting process.

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Jeffrey H. Anderson Appointed BJS Director

The Trump Administration has announced that it intends to appoint Jeffrey H. Anderson as director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the principal statistical agency housed within the Department of Justice. Anderson most recently served as Director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Health Reform, after his appointment was announced in May 2017. He is a former Hudson Institute Senior Fellow and co-founder of the 2017 Project, a conservative policy organization. Anderson hold a Ph.D. in political science from Claremont Graduate University. The position of BJS Director does not require Senate confirmation, so Anderson can begin serving as soon as he is officially appointed. Jeri Mulrow is currently serving as the Bureau’s Acting Director.

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National Endowment for the Humanities Releases 2018 Summer Programs for Teachers

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has released information about its 2018 tuition-free summer programs, which it offers each year to provide an opportunity for K-12, college, and university educators to study a variety of humanities topics. These programs focus on specific topic, texts, and questions in the humanities and promote connections between teaching and research in the humanities. Additionally, the NEH offers stipends to help cover the cost of travel and living expenses for these one- to four-week programs. The applications for summer 2018 programs are due March 1, 2018. More information and a list of topics is available here.

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National Academies Requests Nominations for Study on the Well-Being of Military Families

The Board on Children, Youth, and Families of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is requesting nominations for experts to serve on a new consensus committee to study the Well-Being of Military Families. The consensus study will examine the challenges and opportunities facing families of service members and identify effective strategies are already known for supporting and protecting military children and families. The Board seeks experts in military children and families, stress development and resilience, family interactions, mental and social support services, and military systems. Nominations are due by Friday, December 1, 2017. More information can be found here.

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ASA Accepting Applications for Science Policy Fellowship

The American Statistical Association (ASA), a COSSA governing member, is accepting applications for its 2018 Science Policy Fellowship. The fellowship is a full-year postdoctoral-level position, renewable for a second year, that offers fellows the opportunity work to advocate for statistics and experience first-hand how federal science policy is formed. More information is available on ASA’s website. Applications are requested by December 31.

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Events Calendar

A list of COSSA members’ annual meetings and other events can be found on the COSSA events page. COSSA members who have an upcoming event they would like to see listed in the Events Calendar and on our website should send an email to

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