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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.

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

AAA Members Showcase NSF Study to U.S. Senate

AAA members Kenneth Broad and Ben Orlove participated in a showcase of NSF-funded Hazard Research on Capitol Hill last week in recognition of National Preparedness Month (September).

Ben Orlove, Robert Meyer and Kenneth Broad

The showcase took place at the Hart Senate Office Building where members of Congress and their staffers could drop-in to learn about the important use of NSF funding.

 Broad and Orlove are part of a dynamic research team that studies how natural hazard warnings can be improved. Joined by Robert Meyer, Shuyi Chen, Jay Baker and Katherine Thompson, this team seeks to understand how the public interprets and responds to information about natural hazards.

Our study integrated innovative social science research methods to identify patterns in behavioral strategies in the face of disaster forecasts, risk factors and means of improving communicating forecasts.

 In order to best serve the people of the United States in the face of natural hazards, further research is needed to understand the influence of mass media, social interactions, and past experience with false alarms, on public response to forecasting.

NEH and NSF award $3.9 million to preserve languages threatened with extinction

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the award of 10 fellowships and 24 institutional grants totaling $3.9 million in the agencies’ ongoing Documenting Endangered Languages (DEL) program.

This is the seventh round of their campaign to preserve records of languages threatened with extinction. Experts estimate that more than half of the approximately 7,000 currently used human languages are bound for oblivion in this century, and the window of opportunity for high-quality language field documentation, they say, narrows with each passing year.

These new DEL awards will support digital documentation work on almost 50 endangered languages, enhance the computational infrastructure of the field and provide training for the next generation of researchers.

Read the complete article.

Congratulations to grant recipients!

Budget Announced – Write to Your Congress Representative Today!

Yesterday, the Obama Administration released its budget for fiscal year 2012, a plan that includes bold proposals to reduce government spending and address a budget deficit that is expected to reach over $1.6 trillion dollars by the end of this fiscal year.

Among the agencies subject to proposed budget cuts include the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts (both agencies subject to a reduction of 13.1% to $146 million), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (a reduction of 13.8% to 243 million).

While the budget includes modest increases for the Smithsonian Institution (6.9% to 1.05 billion), the National Institutes of Health (2.4% to 31.8 billion) and the National Science Foundation (13% to 7.8 billion), Republicans have introduced, cuts to CURRENT funding for the NIH ($1.6 billion) and the NSF ($360 million). These actions, introduced in the latest version of the House continuing resolution (CR) funding bill for the remainder of this year, may be a portent of cuts to come for the 2012 budget bill.

Please contact your local Representatives and ask:
 1: the current CR NOT to include cuts to NSF and NIH
2: the final FY 2012 budget eliminate the proposed cuts to NEH, NEA, and IMLS.

Don’t delay, write to your congressmen today!

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