February Issue • Volume 44 • Issue 2

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Science Policy

NSF States that Harassment Will Not Be Tolerated

On January 25, 2016, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a statement emphasizing that it will not tolerate sexual harassment at grantee institutions. The press release stated, “The National Science Foundation joins with other leading U.S. scientific organizations to emphasize its strong commitment to preventing harassment and to eradicate gender-based discrimination in science. In light of recent, multiple reports of sexual harassment in science, NSF reiterates its unwavering dedication to inclusive workplaces. NSF does not tolerate sexual harassment and encourages members of the scientific community who experience such harassment to report such behavior immediately.” Saying that all researchers deserve to be treated fairly, with dignity, and respect, the release went on to say, “Not only is a discrimination-free environment the right setting for all people, it also fosters important learning, mentoring and research that are imperative to the advancement of science.” For more information, visit https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=137466.

Research Shows Many Community College Students Failed by Transfer System

A slim percentage of students starting in community colleges transfer to four-year schools and earn a bachelor’s degree within six years, according to a report released in January by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College, Columbia University; the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program; and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The report compares states and finds that even in states with the best track records, only about one in five community college students transfer and graduate within six years of enrolling. In states at the bottom of the list, transfer and graduation rates are in the single digits. Studies have shown 80 percent of new community college students want to earn a bachelor’s degree. However, only 14 percent of the 720,000 degree-seeking students examined in the study—who enrolled in community college for the first time in fall 2007—transferred to and graduated from a four-year university within six years of entry. Among students who started at community college and successfully transferred, only 42 percent completed a bachelor’s degree compared to the 60 percent degree attainment rate of students who started at public four-year colleges. The full report can be found at ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/publications/tracking-transfer-institutional-state-effectiveness.html.

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Latest 5-Year PUMS Files

In January, the U.S. Census Bureau announced the release of the 2010-2014 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) files. The ACS 5-year PUMS files show the full range of population and housing unit responses collected on individual ACS questionnaires for a subsample of the United States population. PUMS files allow data users to conduct a custom analysis, though the files also tend to be more complicated to use. Working with PUMS data generally involves downloading large datasets onto a local computer and analyzing them using statistical software such as R, SPSS, Stata, or SAS. For more information, see https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/data/pums.html.

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