FOOTNOTES JULY/AUGUST 1999
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PUBLIC AFFAIRS UPDATE

 

  • New Sociology Program Director Named at NSF . . . .
    Murray Webster (University of North Carolina, Charlotte) will be serving as Director of the Sociology Program at the National Science Foundation starting in September. Webster did a stint at NSF from 1989-91, and, with the basics of Federal funding down, plans to work vigorously across the discipline to enhance support for sociological research. Webster succeeds Barry Markovsky, who returns to the University of Iowa this August.

  • Avison Meets with NIMH Leadership . . . .
    Bill Avison, chair of ASA's Sociology of Mental Health Section, along with Executive Officer Levine held private meetings with Jane Steinberg (Association Director for Special Projects and Director, Division of Extramural Activities) and Ellen Stover (Director, Division of Mental Disorders, Behavioral Research and AIDS) to discuss opportunities for sociological research at the National Institute of Mental Health. Steinberg plays a key role with NIMH Director Steven Hyman in strategic planning. Those meetings were scheduled as part of a two-day visit when Avison taught at the Proposal Development Workshop of ASA's Minority Fellowship Program.

  • Revised Notice on Data Sharing Expected from OMB; Horn Urged to Hold Hearings . . . .
    After a period of Congressional quiet, eclipsed by school violence, debates over gun control, and events in Kosovo, attention has returned to efforts to have the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) revise Circular A-110 which could require that all data collected by Federal funding would be made available under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). As Footnotes goes to bed, OMB is expected to release a proposed rule with an additional 30-day comment period and Representative Horn (Chair, Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology, Committee on Government Reform) is expected to hold hearings. For a full briefing and action alerts, see ASA homepage (www.asanet.org) and Footnotes since February.

  • More Dollars for NIH Violence Research . . . .
    With the American Psychological Society (APS) playing a pivotal role, the Senate and House have approved a violence research initiative of $5 million a year for five years to be coordinated by the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research (OBSSR). Consistent with the recommendations in ASA's report, Social Causes of Violence: Crafting a Science Agenda (1996), the amendment to add funding ("supplement and not supplant") to produce behavioral and social science research on youth violence met with bi-partisan support. While otherwise huge differences remain for the House and Senate in Conference, the amendment for the violence initiative is "virtually non-conferenceable" as the Senate and House amendments are identical. Hats off to Alan Kraut, APS Executive Director!

  • Flat Funding for NEH on the Horizon . . . .
    Despite the best efforts of the research community to rally around enhanced support for the National Endowment for the Humanities, flat funding for Fiscal Year 2000 seems likely. The Senate Interior Subcommittee marked up a symbolic $1 million increase, and the bill from the Interior and Related Agencies Subcommittee in the House was level at $110.7 million (the FY 1999 allocation). Both versions of the Interior bills may reach the floor of the Senate and House before the end of July.

  • Justice Reaffirms Confidentiality of Census Data; Funding for 2000 Still Off the Mark . . . .
    The good news-bad news roller coaster of Census 2000 continues to present challenges. A memorandum issued by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel reaffirmed that the 1996 Immigration Reform Law did not repeal the confidentiality provisions of the Census Act, which prohibits disclosure of responses to enforce any other federal, state, or local laws against persons providing information. Commissioner Doris Meissner, head of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), indicated her agreement with the memorandum as it might pertain to undocumented persons. . . . Adequate funding for the Census is far less sure. When the bill for Commerce, Justice, and State was voted out of the Senate Appropriations Committee, it did not contain the additional $1.7 billion needed because the Supreme Court decision does not allow statistical sampling for purposes of Congressional apportionment. At the time of this writing, the House Appropriations Committee has not produced a bill. Don't miss the Town Meeting with Kenneth Prewitt, Director of the Census Bureau, at the ASA Annual Meeting on August 8, 12:30-2:15.

  • ACLS to Support Recently Tenured Scholars . . . .
    With support from the Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) will award a small number of residential fellowships to recently tenured scholars to promote ambitious projects in the humanities and social sciences (when the latter is grounded in humanistic approaches). With stipends of up to $65,000, the goals are to support adventurous ideas, link scholars and advance multi-disciplinary scholarship, and sustain the momentum of emerging intellectual leaders. Just announced by ACLS, the deadline for applications is October 1. Further information is available at www.acls.org/appform.htm or through e-mail (grants@acls.org). For more information on this and other forms of ACLS support, stop by and visit with an ACLS staff member at the Funding Poster Session at the ASA Annual Meeting on August 7, from 1:00-4:00.