December 2013 Issue • Volume 41 • Issue 8

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Challenges and Opportunities for the Social and Behavioral Sciences

Brad Smith, ASA Public Affairs Department

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Senator Elizabeth Warren

On November 4 and 5, COSSA (Consortium of Social Science Associations) held its annual colloquium, with over 100 people in attendance. In addition to talks by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), National Science Foundation (NSF) Acting Director Cora Marrett, and Census Bureau Director John Thompson, the colloquium featured panels on America’s political institutions, how society has changed, changes related to race, and the press and social science. The event concluded with COSSA Director Howard Silver sharing some of his 30 years of experiences at COSSA.

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The NAS Celebrates 150 Years with a Nod to the Social Sciences

Michael Kisielewski, ASA Research and Professional Development Department

Social science methods and perspectives are essential to communicating science findings to the public and for informing public policy. This theme resonated throughout a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) at its historic building in Washington, DC, October 16-18.

Chartered by Congress in 1863 as a nongovernmental elected body of “advisors to the nation” on matters of science and technology, the NAS has long been an authoritative voice on science policy, from the physical and biological sciences and engineering to medicine and the behavioral sciences and education. Historically a highly select and relatively limited group of experts, the NAS has evolved—and continues to evolve—as a multidisciplinary institution.

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Candidates for 2014 Election

The American Sociological Association is pleased to announce the 2014 slate of candidates for ASA Officers, Committee on Nominations, Committee on Publications, and Committee on Committees. Ballots for the 2014 ASA election will be sent in spring 2014.

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“Why Teach at a Community College?”

A. James McKeever, Los Angeles Pierce College

I always begin the first day of class with a riddle, “What do you call someone who takes nine years to get through community college?” I wait a minute or so to take a few responses, smile and answer, “You call him doctor.” Community college gave me, a low-income, Black, 18-year-old single father, the kind of opportunity that I could not have received anywhere else. Where else could you spend eight years working on your general education requirements and still end up with a PhD? Community college gives people a second, third, maybe even a sixth, or seventh chance. Community college is a place of direct and indirect almost unfettered activism. Lastly, community college may be the most democratic and egalitarian space within academia. It is a place where everyone is welcome, and if you wish to teach a diverse student body it would be difficult to find as many working-class students of color.

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