HONEST Act Needs Honest Engagement of Scientific Community

“The bill as written could have far-reaching consequences that would ultimately hamper or undermine the scientific process generally and EPA’s work specifically,” writes statistician Jerry Reiter and a colleague. “The goals of transparency in government and data accessibility must be balanced with the necessity to protect individuals’ and businesses’ privacy.”

Read More in The Hill

In Congress, Even Lawmakers’ Degrees are a Partisan Issue

Does going to an elite college make for a more effective legislator? That’s what research scientist Jonathan Wai and co-authors argue in a forthcoming paper. However, political scientist Nicholas Carnes (not one of the co-authors) notes that we shouldn’t overstate the extent to which education alone affects policy makers’ decisions. It’s important to also consider factors, he says, like the regions of the country elite-educated members represent and the ideologies of their constituents, Carnes says.

Read More in The Chronicle of Higher Education

How Will Trump Draw Immigrant Scientists to The US?

This question comes from Duke’s “Glad You Asked” podcast. Molecular biologist Raphael Valdivia wonders if the country’s legacy of welcoming scientists and experts from all over the world is at risk because of the new administration’s crackdown on immigration and rejection of certain scientifically accepted concepts, like man-made climate change.

Read More on PRI

Will The March For Science Backfire By Politicizing Science?

“The science community’s effort to more actively engage in the public sphere could backfire. If science begins to be seen as a “liberal” pursuit, it risks losing public favor and the ability to attract the best talent,” writes Megan Mullin, associate professor of environmental politics. “If, however, science advocates keep the focus on supporting scientific research in all its forms, scientists may be able to protect their work from cuts in funding and support — even if the broader goals of evidence-based policy-making must take a back seat.”

Read More in The Washington Post

Trump Reverses Course on Iran Deal; Free Speech on Campuses

Sanford School professor David Schanzer and Scott Briggaman of WPTF/NCN News in Raleigh discuss the deepening political crisis in Venezuela and President Trump’s admission that the Iran deal is working. In light of another student protests of a right-wing speaker, Schanzer offers his insight on the state of the First Amendment on college campuses across America.

Listen at On Security

NCAA: The Most Powerful Political Organization in The U.S.


“NCAA pressure was the game-changer with North Carolina’s bathroom bill. It appeared that the law would stay in place until the state’s basketball fans realized there would be no tournament games played here,” says anthropologist Orin Starn. “And so we witnessed the unlikely spectacle of the much-criticized billion-dollar sports leviathan at the forefront of defending LGBT rights.”

Read More in The Boston Globe

How to Solve Controversial Issues Like Climate Change

“The lesson for all leaders: Start with problems, not solutions. People will discount the evidence if they don’t like the fix you are proposing. This is particularly important in today’s extremely fractured world. The first step in moving forward during such great polarization isn’t offering solutions, it’s agreeing a problem exists,” writes Fuqua School Dean Bill Boulding.

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Fuqua Study Finds Alumni Power in Statehouses

A new study from the Fuqua School of Business found that legislatures where more lawmakers have ties to in-state colleges and universities provide more funding to those public institutions. “While we can’t show that adding another University of North Carolina graduate to the North Carolina General Assembly is going to result in higher funding, it does make you question whether universities should be more actively encouraging their graduates to run for public office and advocate for public education if they believe that will benefit their lives,” says Aaron Chatterji, a report author and associate professor of business and public policy.

Read More at Inside Higher Ed

Duke Engineering Dean Discusses Confronting, Overcoming Biases

Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering Dean Ravi Bellamkonda explains why diverse university settings can be an important catalyst in helping society confront and overcome biases. He says we have perceptions of what “other” is – Africa, Asia, gay, straight, etc. “These perceptions are fueled, increasingly, in bubbles in social media and reinforce any bias you have. But there’s no better way to take these on, to actually meet someone (than when you are) at a global university like Duke,” he says.

Watch on Duke Today

Language and Cultural Studies Contribute to National Security — Really

“As the Trump administration promotes its recommendations for upgrading the U.S. military, it is essential that Congress and the executive branch not sacrifice other programs which contribute to our national security. For example, language and culture programs administered by the Department of Education, known as Title VI centers, are among the most important, cost-effective and vulnerable in the current political environment,” writes Patrick Duddy, a former ambassador to Venezuela now director of Duke University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Read More in The Herald-Sun

Engineering Dean On Immigration Policy, Attracting The Best Minds

To ensure the brightest minds are tackling the world’s biggest problems, Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering Dean Ravi Bellamkonda explains why he feels U.S. immigration reform should not prevent foreign nationals from attending American universities. These students and faculty are an integral part of Duke Engineering’s work, which ranges from advancing quantum computing to designing new therapies for cancer and other diseases, he says. Tomorrow, in part 2 of the interview, Bellamkonda will discuss confronting and overcoming biases.

Watch on Duke Today

Cuts To EPA, NIH Budgets Would Hurt Local Economy

President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget includes cuts to two federal agencies that could make a noticeable dent in the Triangle economy if it wins congressional approval. Dr. Nancy C. Andrews, dean of the School of Medicine, says in a statement she hopes Congress rejects any reduction of NIH funding and funding for other programs critical to people’s health and well-being. “Everywhere you turn, there is clear evidence of the impact of science and biomedical research on human lives,” she says.

Read More in The News & Observer