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
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 (email@example.com). 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.