DC Digest – September 20, 2013

In Today’s Issue:

  • Duke Alum Macon Phillips to Head Digital Diplomacy at State Department
  • Senate Ed Committee Leaders Launch HEA Reauthorization Hearings
  • AAU Issues Statement in Support of Social and Behavioral Research
  • Duke Law Prof Testifies Before House Judiciary Subcommittee
  • NSF Requests Nominations for 2014 Alan T. Waterman Award
  • AAU and COGR Comment on Proposed Export Control Changes
  • Efforts Continue to Promote Public Access to Federally Funded Research Results
  • NEH features Duke’s Cathy Davidson in Google Hangout on Bridging STEM and Humanities
  • Duke Alum Jeffrey Zients Named Top Obama Economic Adviser


DUKE ALUM MACON PHILLIPS TO HEAD DIGITAL DIPLOMACY AT STATE DEPARTMENT
The Obama administration is launching a new strategy aimed at revamping America’s “digital diplomacy” efforts. Secretary of State John F. Kerry has hired Macon Phillips (T ’00), the 2008 Obama campaign’s digital guru and the man behind many White House digital innovations, to develop ways to expand engagement with foreign audiences.

Read More:
Obama’s Digital Guru to Revamp Digital Diplomacy at State Department (Washington Post)

SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE LEADERS LAUNCH HIGHER ED ACT REAUTHORIZATION HEARINGS
Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced on Tuesday their intention to hold a series of hearings on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for the 113th Congress.

Additionally, the Chairman and the Ranking Member released a letter outlining the hearing process and their request for input from students, parents, the higher education community, and other stakeholders. The hearings will address such issues as:

  • The roles of the state, the federal government, and accreditors in higher education;
  • Keeping college affordable;
  • Ways to increase quality in higher education;
  • Student access;
  • Innovative approaches to improving student success;
  • Student financial aid; and
  • Teacher preparation programs.

Alison Rabil, Duke’s director of financial aid, and Donna Lisker, associate vice provost for undergraduate education will be visiting Hill offices on Monday to discuss issues related to the HEA.

Read More:
Senate Education Committee Leaders Launch Higher Ed Act Reauthorization Hearings (help.senate.gov)


AAU ISSUES STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES RESEARCH

Out of concern that some Members of Congress this fall may try to use must-pass FY14 funding legislation or reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act to cut or eliminate federal funding for social and behavioral research, AAU issued a statement on Tuesday expressing the association’s unequivocal support for such research.

In FY13, the House Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill would have prohibited the National Institutes of Health from funding economics studies.  That provision was eventually dropped.  But the final FY13 funding package included a provision that bars the National Science Foundation (NSF) from supporting political science studies except those that the NSF director certifies as demonstrating national security value or economic benefit.

Read More:
AAU-ExecCommittee-Statement-on-Support-for-the-Social-Sciences-9-17-13 (pdf)


DUKE LAW PROF TESTIFIES BEFORE HOUSE JUDICIARY SUBCOMMITTEE
Duke Law professor Barak Richman testified on Capitol Hill on Sept. 19 on the competition in the healthcare market and how it might be affected by healthcare reform.

Richman testified before the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law of the House Judiciary Committee in its hearing titled “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Consolidation, and the Consequent Impact in Competition in Healthcare.”  An expert in antitrust and healthcare policy, Richman has researched and written extensively on the problem of provider monopolies in the healthcare market.

Read More:
Richman Testifies Before House Judiciary Subcommittee on Healthcare Reform and Competition (Law.duke.edu)
Richman Testimony (governmentrelations.duke.edu)


NSF REQUESTS NOMINATIONS FOR 2014 ALAN T. WATERMAN AWARD

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced that it is accepting nominations for the 2014 Alan T. Waterman Award, NSF’s highest award to a promising scientist early in his or her career (within seven year of receiving the Ph.D. or younger than 36).  The prize is now $1 million.
Information about the award, including eligibility and selection criteria, how to submit nominations, and a list of previous winners, is available below.

Read More:
Alan T. Waterman Award Info (NSF.gov)


AAU AND COGR COMMENT ON PROPOSED EXPORT CONTROL CHANGES
AAU and the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Commerce on September 9 that expressed general support for proposed changes in export control policies, the means by which the federal government seeks to protect certain scientific information and technologies relevant to national security from disclosure to foreign governments.  However, the associations noted concerns about specific plans to transfer military electronic equipment from the United States Munitions List (USML) to the Commerce Control List (CCL). Export controls are one means by which the federal government seeks to protect certain

The two associations expressed continued support for the President’s Export Control Reform Initiative, which promotes the transfer of less-sensitive technology and equipment from the USML to the generally less restrictive CCL.  AAU and COGR have actively promoted this change in order to improve the ability of universities to conduct research and to train students in related subjects.  In this most recent comment letter, however, associations noted with concern that the expansive definition of “use” in the new CCL provisions could impose substantial additional compliance burdens on universities without improving either compliance or national security.

Read More:
AAU COGR Comments on Proposed Export Control Changes (pdf)


EFFORTS CONTINUE TO PROMOTE PUBLIC ACCESS TO FEDERALLY FUNDED RESEARCH RESULTS
The Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions, joined by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is renewing a campaign to generate support within the academic community for S. 350 and H.R. 708, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR).  The measure is intended to speed up efforts to expand public access to the results of federally sponsored research.

FASTR is substantially similar to its precursor legislation, the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA).  Both call for all federal agencies that provide more than $100 million in extramural research funding annually to develop public access policies that provide free public access to the final accepted manuscripts or, where feasible, the final published versions of peer-reviewed research papers resulting from federally funded research.

The renewed campaign in support of FASTR includes an “Open Letter to the Higher Education Community,” which Duke has endorsed.

Read More:
Open Letter to the Higher Education Community (sparc.arl.org)

NEH FEATURES DUKE’S CATHY DAVIDSON IN GOOGLE HANGOUT ON BRIDGING STEM AND HUMANITIES
The National Endowment for the Humanities is hosting a series of Google+ Hangouts on Air to illustrate how the sciences, arts, and humanities together respond to challenges and spur innovation.

The next hangout, scheduled for Monday, September 23rd, will feature Duke’s Cathy Davidson and will focus on “The Humanities and the Sciences in the Classroom.”

Read More:
NEH to Host Google Hangout Series on Connection Between STEM and the Humanities (HASTAC.org – scroll down to part 3 of 3)


DUKE ALUM JEFFREY ZIENTS NAMED TOP OBAMA ECONOMIC ADVISOR

Jeffrey Zients (T ’88), former acting chief of the White House budget office, was named by President Barack Obama as director of his National Economic Council, the panel charged with coordinating policy.

Zients, who has held positions in the Obama administration since 2009, will replace Gene Sperling, who plans to step down from his post in January, according to a statement from Obama.

Read More:
Obama Picks Zients to Replace Sperling on Economic Council (Bloomberg Business Week)