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Public Affairs Update

  • Sloan Foundation funds Center for Advancing Science and Engineering Capacity . . . The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded AAAS a three-year, $400,000 grant to help establish a new Center for Advancing Science and Engineering Capacity. The Center will provide consulting services to individual universities and colleges seeking to increase the participation of U.S. students, especially women and underrepresented minorities, in science and engineering careers. The newly appointed director of the center is sociologist Daryl Chubin, former professor, former staff of the Office of Technology Assessment and the National Science Foundation, and, most recently, senior vice president for research, policy, and programs at the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME). With a distinguished record of scholarship, policy analysis, and advocacy, Chubin has emerged as a national expert on expanding and diversifying the science and engineering workforce. One resource to be used by the Center is the AAAS-NACME report, Standing Our Ground: A Guidebook for STEM Educators in the Post-Michigan Era, released in October and coauthored by Shirley Malcom, Daryl Chubin, and Jolene Jesse. (It is available free at www.aaas.org/standingourground.) AAAS has taken a leadership role in identifying and shaping efforts to improve science education and to recruit more students into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. While science and technology are increasingly critical to economic growth and innovation, student interest in the fields has not kept pace. If minorities and women participated in the science and engineering workforce in numbers proportionate to their presence in the general population, the technical workforce would be more diverse in composition and robust in talent for decades to come. The Center will draw on education and human resources expertise at AAAS, as well as the private sector, to help schools recruit and retain students. The Center will expand the efforts in higher education through research-based technical assistance to sustain and scale up innovative practices in teaching and learning. For more information, visit www.aaas.org/programs/centers/capacity.

  • Advancing the Federal Research Agenda on Violence Against Women . . . . . This is the title of a new report that expands on the work of the National Research Council (NRC) panel that produced Understanding Violence Against Women in 1996. The new report is based on the presentations and deliberations of a workshop convened by the NRC in January 2002, at the request of Congress, to develop a detailed research agenda on violence against women. While some of the research recommendations in the earlier report have been carried out, the workshop demonstrated that important gaps remain. For example, prevalence and incidence data are still inadequate to measure trends or to reveal whether interventions being designed under federal programs are, in fact, working. The committee underscored the importance of strengthening the data and research infrastructure in this area, especially the need for better prevalence data and longitudinal data to determine the causes of the violent victimization of women, and the impact of interventions. The report was co-edited by sociologists Candace Kruttschnitt and Carol V. Petrie along with Brenda L. McLaughlin. For more information, see www.nap.edu/catalog/10849.html.

  • . . .Also from the National Academies: Fairness and Effectiveness in Policing: The Evidence . . . . . A new National Academy of Sciences report finds that police, the most visible face of government power for most citizens, are expected to deal effectively with crime and disorder and to be impartial. The standards by which the public judges police success have become more exacting and challenging. Fairness and Effectiveness in Policing explores police work in the new century. It replaces myths with research findings and provides recommendations for updated policy and practices to guide it. The book reviews how police work is organized, explores the expanding responsibilities of police, examines the increasing diversity among police employees, and discusses the complex interactions between officers and citizens. Sociologists Jeanette Covington (Rutgers University), Darnell Hawkins (University of Illinois-Chicago), Candace Kruttschnitt (University of Minnesota), Lawrence Bobo (Harvard University), and Ruth Peterson (Ohio State University) were involved in the publication. For more information, see books.nap.edu/catalog/10419.html.

  • CDC Reports on Behavioral Risk Factors and Violent Behaviors Among High Schoolers . . . . The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released two new reports: Local Data from Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2002, which is the first time that Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data collected at the local level were available to generate state and local estimates on risky behaviors (e.g., smoking and binge drinking) and the use of preventive practices. The monitoring of these behaviors and practices can enable state and local health departments to better respond to and serve their communities by developing and targeting prevention programs. For more information, see www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5305a1.htm. The second report, Violence-Related Behaviors Among High School Students, analyzed data from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey to examine changes in violence-related behaviors among high school students in the United States during 1991-2003. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that most violence-related behaviors decreased during 1991-2003; however, students increasingly were likely to miss school because they felt too unsafe to attend. For more information, see www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5329a1.htm.