April 2011 Issue • Volume 39 • Issue 4

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Science Policy

Sociologist Is the New Head of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

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The National Academies of Science (NAS) recently announced that Robert Hauser, a member of the NAS since 1983, has been appointed Executive Director of the National Research Council’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE). This new appointment follows his six months of service as the Division’s Interim Executive Director. He has over 41 years of service at the University of Wisconsin-Madison including as Professor of Sociology and founding Director of the Center for Demography of Health and Aging. He has been an investigator on the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) since 1969 and has led the study since 1980. The WLS has followed the lives of more than 10,000 Wisconsin high school graduates in the class of 1957 for over half a century. His research interests include trends in educational progression and achievement among American racial and ethnic groups, the uses of educational assessment as a policy tool, and changes in socioeconomic standing, cognition, health, and well-being between generations and across the life course.

Methods and Research from Behavioral, Social Sciences Would Improve U.S. Intelligence Analysis

A new report from the National Research Council recommends that the U.S. intelligence community adopt methods, theories, and findings from the behavioral and social sciences as a way to improve its analyses. Specifically, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) should lead a new initiative to make these approaches part of the intelligence community’s hiring priorities, ongoing training, analytic work, and collaborations. The report, requested by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, urges the intelligence community to routinely evaluate the performance of its analytical methods. The report includes many specific recommendations. For example, to ensure that the intelligence community has the strongest possible work force, the DNI should use evidence-based methods in its recruitment, hiring, and training. The report also suggests increasing direct communication between members of the academic and intelligence communities so that they can become familiar with one another’s perspectives and build personal relationships for the future. For more information, see www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13040.  

A Name Change at the NSF

The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Science Resources Statistics has a new name: the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). The name change conveys the central role NCSES has in the collection, interpretation, analysis and dissemination of objective data on the science and engineering enterprise and signals the expanded responsibilities of the center. The new name and responsibilities were mandated by Section 505 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act, which was signed into law on January 4. The act also states that the center will perform a variety of other tasks, such as supporting research that uses NCSES data, supporting methodologies in areas related to the work of NCSES, and educating and training researchers in the use of large-scale data sets.

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