When I saw last week that the budget bill approved by the U.S. Senate would severely limit National Science Foundation funding for political science, I wondered: Hmmm, how will KU political science researchers feel about this?
I emailed the chairman of KU's political science department, Don Haider-Markel, for some quick thoughts. Here they are, in short:
Haider-Markel said the Senate's vote, if it goes into effect, will have a "chilling effect" on political science and social science research in general, but the biggest loss would be some projects collecting data on American politics that have been going on for decades.
For instance, he said, one survey called the American National Election Studies has been collecting information about American voters every two years since the late 1940s, and the Senate vote would eliminate it, Haider-Markel said. The vote would bar all NSF funds for political science unless it's for research essential to the country's interests.
"The ANES has fostered an incredible amount of research that has vastly improved our understanding of everything from who votes and why to how citizens evaluate candidates, and citizen attitudes about a whole variety of political issues," Haider-Markel wrote. "Most importantly, having this data over time allows us to observe and understand changes in American politics, including things like trust in government, party identification and ideological identification."
I hope to look deeper into how this move might affect the work KU researchers do, but there's something to think about for now.
KU does not have any active NSF political science grants, according to this map on the agency's website. But a KU professor of political science, Erik Herron, is serving for two years as one of two program directors for the NSF's Political Science Program, which handles grant proposals. I emailed Herron as well, but he (politely) directed my inquiry to a spokeswoman.
Don't forget to stop by Heard on the Hill Office Hours tomorrow, 9 a.m. to noon in the Media Crossroads at the Kansas Union. You could just send your KU news tips to email@example.com as usual, but if you come see me in person you can use the volume of your voice to convey the importance of your story. Think about that.
I'm in a video-sharing kind of mood today, so here's another. The National Science Foundation released this clip this week about KU's Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets, which goes by an acronym that I always have to double check, CReSIS:
It's part of a weekly video series produced by the NSF about scientific research around the country called "Science Nation." An accompanying page has some more photos and information about CReSIS.
The video has some cool footage of KU researchers and students working on and flying the unmanned aircraft that the center equips with radar technology to measure and predict how ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are changing because of climate change.
CReSIS assisted with a study involving researchers from all over the world, published last month, that provided new clues about what could happen to the Greenland ice sheet if global temperatures go higher.
I'm on a roll now, so if you've got any other KU-related videos for me to share, pass them on along with your KU news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A political science professor at KU is up for a top job at Marquette University in Milwaukee, it would appear.
Herron joined the KU faculty in 2001 and has held a number of other administrative jobs, as well. At the moment, he's actually on a two-year leave through August of this year in Washington, D.C., where he's a program director for the National Science Foundation.
Marquette, a Jesuit university, has around 12,000 students. The other three candidates are professors from Loyola University Chicago, Boston College and — wait for it — the University of Missouri. Herron is set to appear on the Marquette campus next week.
In contrast to KU, which in the case of public job searches tends to announce the names of candidates one at a time just before they visit, Marquette announced this crop of candidates all at once. I'm not sure what the significance of that might be, but hey, I noticed it.
In case you'd like to follow along with the dean search, the Marquette student newspaper is promising continued coverage.
If you, too, have aspirations of moving up the career ladder, it couldn't hurt to submit a KU news tip to email@example.com. It probably won't help, either, but it might be fun!