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Take a #StandForScience

The FIRST Act, introduced on Monday by Representative Larry Buschon (R-IN), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Research of the larger House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, fails to properly fund social science work at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology and widens the nation’s innovation deficit. The FIRST Act would impede the mission of NSF and the nation’s research portfolio. Among other items, the bill:

1. Completely fails to meet the standards for science research and innovation that were set in the former version of the authorizing legislation, commonly referred to as the COMPETES Act;

2. Sets funding targets for for NSF and NIST that are not adequate to fund basic research; and

3. Includes a funding cut for the the Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE), the division of the NSF that is primarily responsible for funding anthropological research.

Help AAA #StandForScience by contacting your congressional representative to request full restoration of NSF’s authorized levels or vote NO to the FIRST Act (#VoteNoHR4186). Please use the Twitter hastags to voice your opinion as well.

To read a press release issued by the American Association Universities, click here. For a copy of the FIRST Act, click here.

If you would like more information about contacting your Member of Congress, or about the FIRST Act, please contact Damon Dozier, AAA Director of Public Affairs at ddozier@aaanet.org.

As Anthropology Doctorates Increase in Number & Diversity, So Do Financial & Social Support Needs

The AAA receives daily requests from researchers, administrators, faculty, and students for information such as:

  •  Number of degrees granted in a given year
  • Average length of time to complete a degree in anthropology
  • Degrees granted by gender and/or minority status
  • Post-graduation employment rates

To address these inquiries we often rely on our membership database, AnthroGuide, and findings from special purpose surveys. In addition, in January 2014, the NSF released tables and an interactive report on findings from the 2012 Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED). First conducted in 1957-1958, the 2012 SED reports on “all individuals who received a research doctorate from a U.S. academic institution in the 12-month period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012,” producing annual statistics on graduate demographics, time to degree, funding source, field of study, and post-graduate commitments. For the most recent iteration, the total eligible population was 51,008 graduates with a doctorate degree. The survey had a response rate of 92% of doctorate recipients.

In this first of two reports, we highlight key findings in the composition of graduates in anthropology and the social sciences. The Graduates 2012 Report: As Anthropology Doctorates Increase in Number and Diversity, So Do Financial and Social Support Needs for Graduates summarizes growth patterns among PhDs, and changes in anthropology’s graduate student body composition, based on data from the NSF SED and contextualized with recent reports on the costs and benefits of graduate-level education. The NSF SED data indicate that post-secondary education enrollments continue to rise as graduate-level degrees become requisite for an increasing range of careers. While a greater portion of college-aged students are attending graduate school, they are enrolling disproportionately in career-oriented fields. More students from racialized minority groups are pursuing doctorate degrees, albeit with less social and financial resources at hand than their white counterparts. And the costs versus gains in pursuing a graduate degree may be differentially calculated among members of racial and ethnic categories. The findings reported in the SED, combined with growing reports of PhD debt suggest that the demographic profile of students and role of higher education are evolving.

The second, forthcoming report will discuss post-graduation employment trends.

As we continue to strengthen our institutional research capacity, we will be updating, re-organizing, and building on the reports and data sources currently available on our Resources for Researchers webpages. By constructing an easily-navigated, comprehensive repository for assessing trends in education, academic programs, membership, and employment, we hope to help our members and other interested parties obtain the information and statistics necessary to monitor trends, lobby for resources, and address changing needs in our field. We look forward to any feedback or additional inquiries you would like to contribute to this effort.

For more information on the Graduates 2012 Report, please contact Courtney Dowdall (cdowdall@aaanet.org)

Omnibus Funding Bill Is Good News For Anthropology

On Friday of last week, President Obama gave his signature to the  Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, which provides fiscal year 2014 appropriations for the projects and activities of the federal government. While the bill was signed more than three months into the fiscal year, it is the first time in several years that Congress has competed work on appropriations legislation, and not resorted to keeping the government running through a series of long term “continuing resolutions.”

The agreement sets an overall discretionary spending cap over over $1.01 trillion and the measure is especially kind, given the current funding and fiscal climates, to the interests of anthropologists and others who seek research funding from the federal government. For example, overall funding for both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), actually increased, respectively, by over four and three percent. These two funding agencies, according to AAA research, are actually responsible for most of the Federal funding allocated to anthropologists.

The NSF received over $7 billion in the omnibus bill,  and the so-called “policy riders” that have, in the past, restricted political science funding at the agency have been eliminated, and draft legislative language that would have threatened peer review were not included in the final legislative package. The NIH, by far the larger agency, received almost $30 billion in funding, with the expectation, according to the Senate Appropriations Committee that the monies would go to support “as many scientifically meritorious new and competing research grants as possible, at a reasonable award level.”

The protection of social and behavioral science funding and  the elimination of policy riders mark a huge legislative victory for the AAA and the coalitions that  we work with. AAA staff devoted a lot of time and resources on Capitol Hill over the past several months not only meeting with personal office staff, but with staff from the authorizing and appropriation committees as well. There was a lot of talk in Congress both last session and in the current legislative session last year and this year about potential cuts for social and behavioral science funding, and our lobbying efforts has a lot to do with changing conversations about the importance of funding this portfolio of research.

If you would like more information about either AAA lobbying efforts or the omnibus appropriations legislation, please contact Damon Dozier, Director of Public Affairs at ddozier@aaanet.org.

Congress Targets National Science Foundation Grants

In a recent USA Today editorial/opinion column, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith target grants awarded by the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate of the the National Science Foundation as examples of government waste and a misuse of taxpayer resources.

This isn’t the first time that the NSF has been the target of increased Congressional scrutiny. Last year, the agency’s political science grants were targeted and AAA responded quickly. Earlier this year, in response to draft legislation (the so-called “High Quality Research Act”) that would have required the Director of the NSF to certify that prior to making any grant award the research project be “in the interests of the United States to advance the national health, prosperity of welfare, and to secure the national defense by promoting the progress of science,” the AAA wrote a letter stating our objection to the proposal.

Certain Members of Congress have been asking the public to present ideas and identify areas where federal government waste and fraud are present. YouCut, launched by Majority Leader Cantor in May of 2010, is a website where visitors can submit their ideas for cost-cutting measures, and view videos of selected submissions being discussed while Congress is in session. Recently, the Majority Leader launched a new initiative designed to identify and target cuts to the NSF. Sadly, the new website asks citizens to search the NSF grants database to highlight grants to be questioned, and suggests keywords such as “success, culture, social norm, museum and stimulus” to identify them.

The AAA has been working with our partners in the humanities and social science communities, visiting Congressional legislators and their staff,  making the case that social science research is critical to not only American, but world scholarship. While it is important to give the American taxpayer value for their research investment, Congress should not hamper the ability or the autonomy of federal agencies to award grants to those researchers whose projects have been peer-reviewed and deemed worthy of further study. With legislation re-authorizing the NSF scheduled to be considered in the upcoming months, it is important to let Capitol Hill know the value of social science, behavioral and economic research.

Please contact your Member of Congress today and let them know that you support NSF and it’s peer review process. If you’d like more information about how to become involved, please send an email to ddozier@aaanet.org.

Which #AAA2012 Workshops Will You Be Attending?

  Are you registered to attend the 111th Annual Meeting yet? Booked your hotel? What about submitting your registration for workshops? There are several workshops offered each day during the Annual Meeting. Attendee space is limited, so be sure to register early!

Go to the Workshop page for abstracts,complete details and to register.  Here is a preview:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • Text Analysis: Systematic Methods for Analyzing Qualitative Data
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) & Cultural Anthropology: An Introduction to GIS As Method and Application In Anthropological Research
  • Getting An Article Published In a Peer-Reviewed Journal
  • NAPA Workshop On Project Management
  • NAPA Workshop On Ethnographic FIELD Schools: HOW They Work and Why They ARE A MUST for Anthropologists and Students
  • NAPA Workshop On issues In International Consulting
  • NAPA-NASA Student Workshop: Funding, Fellowships, Transferring, and Admissions
  • NAPA Workshop On Rapid Research In Public SettingsSponsor: National Association for the Practice of Anthropology
  • NAPA Workshop On Pattern Recognition In Evolution and In Ethnographic Analytics
  • SAE Mentoring Workshop: Practicing Anthropology

Friday, November 16, 2012

  • NAPA Workshop On Heritage Tourism: Theory and Praxis
  • How to Write A Grant Proposal: An Introduction to Grants and Programs At the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the National Science Foundation Session
  • NAPA Workshop On “First Impressions for a Lasting Impact: Using Elevator Speeches and Strategic Network Ties to Strengthen Your Networking Success”
  • Using Social Media As A Tool for Ethnographic Researchers
  • Rethinking Context and Theory In Ethnographic Research Design
  • NAPA Workshop On Marketing Oneself As An Anthropologist In a Variety of Interdisciplinary Settings
  • Workshop On Teaching Gender and Sexuality: Pedagogy At the Intersections
  • How to Find an Academic Job
  • SHA Poetry Workshop

Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • Photography for the Field – Part 1: Camera and Photography Basics
  • Introduction to Social Network Analysis
  • NAPA Workshop On Developing An Anthropological Career for a Lifetime
  • Anthropology Graduates: From Student to Career
  • Photography for the Field – Part 2: I’ve Taken the picture…now What?
  • Dissolving Boundaries of Power Through Community-Based Research: Photovoice Methodology As a Tool for Social Action
  • SAE ROUNDTABLES:
  1.     Roundtable Discussion On Writing and Luncheon
  2.     Roundtable Discussion On Multiculturalism and Luncheon
  3.     Roundtable Discussion On Language and Superdiversity and Luncheon
  4.     Roundtable Discussion On the European Economic Crisis and Luncheon
  5.     Roundtable Discussion On Race, Religion, Secularism and Luncheon
  6.     Roundtable Discussion On Borders, Materiality and Signification and Luncheon
  •  Writing Ethnography
  • Benign Guile: An Introduction to Final Cut Pro Ethnographic Film Editing (Macintosh laptops only)
  • Crafting Narrative Ethnography
  • Student Publishing Workshop

Dr. Claudia Valeggia honored with Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

Congratulations to biological anthropologist and AAA member, Dr. Claudia Valeggia. The Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania will be honored with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers on October 14.

The award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach.

The work for which Valeggia received the PECASE award was funded by the National Science Foundation and involves a group of Toba indigenous women and girls living in the province of Formosa in Argentina. The ongoing project aims to better understand three key life transitions: the move from infancy to childhood, puberty and menopause.  Valeggia and her colleagues take monthly measurements and other physiological data from the participants to chart physical changes in their lives.

Learn more about Dr. Valeggia’s work here.

Read the Presidential press release here.

Action Alert: Contact Your Senators Today – Urge Them to Restore Funding for NSF

The United States Senate Appropriations Committee has approved legislation that would cut funding in fiscal year 2012 for the National Science Foundation (NSF) by $161 million (2.4%) below the current FY 2011 level. The Senate spending plan provides significantly less funding to NSF than the appropriations bill approved by the House Committee on Appropriations, which would keep NSF at the FY 2011 level, $6,859,867,000.

Your help is needed to encourage the full Senate to support the House bill that rejects cuts to NSF.

Under the Senate Committee’s proposal, the Research and Related Activities account at NSF would be cut by $120.9 million in the coming fiscal year. This is the account that provides funding for NSF’s various research directorates, such as the Biological Sciences Directorate, Geosciences Directorate, and so forth.  Under the House plan, Research and Related Activities would receive roughly $5.6 billion in the next fiscal year, about $43 million above the current funding level.

Both the House and the Senate have developed appropriations legislation that would cut funding for Education and Human Resources programs at NSF, but the House would cut roughly $6 million less than the Senate.

If enacted, these cuts would be damaging to NSF programs and counter to bipartisan pledges of support for scientific research and education. Senators need to hear from us that the FY 2012 NSF budget should be no lower than the FY 2011 NSF budget, the level the House Appropriations Committee has proposed.

If the Senate fails to increase funding for NSF, it is almost guaranteed that the agency will receive a significant budget cut in the coming fiscal year. It is important that Senators hear from their constituents today. Please contact your Senators today to urge them to oppose the Senate Appropriation Committee’s proposed cuts to NSF.

If you will be in Washington, DC, in the coming days, please make time to stop by your Senators’ offices to express your concerns. You may also schedule an appointment to meet with your Senators at one of their offices in your state (visit http://capwiz.com/aibs/dbq/officials/ to locate Senate offices in your state).

Please contact both of your Senators today! A letter prepared by the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) is available at http://capwiz.com/aibs/issues/alert/?alertid=53834971 and a targeted letter for Maryland residents to Senator Barbara Mikulski who chairs the Senate subcommittee and has been a strong supporter of NSF is available at http://capwiz.com/aibs/issues/alert/?alertid=53867986.

House bill:                            Compared with 2011

R&RA – $5,606,964,000,          +$43,089,000
MREFC – $100,000,000,           – $17,055,000
EHR – $835,000,000,                  -$26,034,000
Total NSF – $6,859,867,000,     $0

Senate bill:                           Compared with 2011
R&RA -$5,443,000,000              -$120,875,000
MREFC – $117,055,000                 $0
EHR – $829,000,000                    -$32,034,000
Total NSF – $6,698,095,000      -$161,772,000

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