September-October 2009 Issue • Volume 37 • Issue 7

to print a pagePrint This Page

Science Policy

Census director is finally in place

Sociologist Robert M. Groves, a veteran survey researcher at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, Survey Research Center, testified flawlessly at his May U.S. Senate confirmation hearings to become the director of the United States Census Bureau. But it took until late July before the full Senate approved his nomination, after weeks of political stalling and opposition in the U.S. Senate; see Science Policy and Vantage Point columns in the July/August Footnotes issue or online at and click on the "Advocacy" webpage.) President Barack Obama had announced his nomination of Groves as U.S. Census Director in April, and on May 20 the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved his nomination by voice vote. The full Senate confirmation had been delayed by opposition of two senators who feared Groves might be in favor of using statistical sampling methodology to adjust the 2010 Census to better account for undercounted populations, which would be contrary to a federal Supreme Court prohibition. Despite this non-starter complaint against Groves, most Senators voted to approve him. ASA Secretary Treasurer Donald Tomaskovic-Devey attended the late-July swearing-in ceremony on behalf of ASA and the sociological community.

Women are faring better in hiring and tenure for science jobs

scienceAccording to a National Research Council report, although women are underrepresented in the applicant pool for faculty positions in math, science, and engineering at major research universities, those who do apply are interviewed and hired at rates equal to or higher than those for men. Results are similar for women considered for tenure. The congressionally mandated report examines how women at research-intensive universities fare compared with men at key transition points in their careers. The surveys of tenure-track and tenured faculty took place at 89 institutions in 2004 and 2005 in six disciplines—biology, chemistry, mathematics, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and physics. In addition to hiring, the report assessed gender differences in the following areas: Access to institutional resources, tenure, salary, climate and interaction with colleagues, and outcomes. For a copy of Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty, see logo


Back to Front Page of Footnotes