Issue 20 (October 16)


COSSA Endorses Bill to Combat Sexual Harassment in Science

On October 2, COSSA released a statement in support of H.R. 7031, the Combatting Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2018. The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, would provide funding to the National Science Foundation to establish a grant program to study the causes and consequences of sexual harassment in the scientific workforce, efficacy of interventions, and methods of remediating the negative impacts of sexual harassment. This legislation would also direct data collection about sexual harassment in science and establish and interagency working group to address this important issue. Read the full statement on COSSA’s website.

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Senate Panel Considers Dillingham Nomination for Census Director

On October 3, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a confirmation hearing to consider the Trump Administration’s nomination of Steven Dillingham for Director of the Census Bureau (see COSSA’s previous coverage). The Bureau has been without a permanent director since June 2017 and is in the middle of a significant ramp-up as it prepares to conduct the 2020 Census. Dillingham’s nomination is relatively uncontroversial, particularly when compared to the more overtly political candidates the Administration is reported to have considered. In his opening statement, Committee Chair Ron Johnson (R-WI) called Dillingham “well-qualified,” and Ranking Member Claire McCaskill indicated after the hearing that she would support his nomination.

During the hearing, Dillingham avoided taking a stance on whether the 2020 Census should include a citizenship question in response to questions from both Republicans and Democrats. He also answered questions about keeping down the costs of the decennial census and strategies for reaching hard-to-count populations. The next step for Dillingham’s nomination is a vote by the full committee, which has not yet been scheduled. Following committee approval, the nomination must be approval by the full U.S. Senate. However, further action will not occur until after the November midterm elections since the Senate is in recess until then.

A recording of the hearing is available on the committee’s website.

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Academies Releases “How People Learn II”

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) recently released a new consensus study report, How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts, and Cultures, which summarizes the current research on the science of learning. The report is a follow-up to a 2000 study and highlights advances in knowledge produced over the past 15 years, including “insights about the influence of culture in shaping how people learn, the dynamic nature of learning across the life span, and the importance of motivation in learning.” The report also identifies priorities for future research in two main areas: (1) connecting research on internal mechanisms of learning with the shaping forces of contextual variation, including culture, social context, instruction, and time of life; and (2) using insights on the science of learning to better design technologies that facilitate learning across the lifespan and to adapt technologies to specific learning environments. The full report is available for download on the National Academies’ website.

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