Congressional Retirements Signal Change

January 24th, 2014


The BU men’s basketball team played American University (AU) on Wednesday night at AU’s Bender Arena. Both teams were undefeated in the Patriot League heading into the game, but the Terriers fell to AU by a score of 85-56 for their first League loss of the season.


In recent weeks, several senior Members of Congress who play a significant role in higher education policy and research funding have announced they will retire from Congress at the end of 2013. The departing Members of Congress include:

– Representative George Miller (D-CA), the current Ranking Member and former Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee. Miller is a champion of financial aid for low-income students, a vocal critic of for-profit colleges, and a proponent of collective bargaining for graduate students.
– Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), a frequent critic of “wasteful” federal spending. Coburn has criticized individual National Institutes of Health-funded grants and sponsored an amendment limiting funding for political science research at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in fiscal year 2013.
– Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA), a staunch advocate of scientific research funding, particularly for NSF, and one of the driving forces behind the influential Rising Above the Gathering Storm report in 2005. Wolf is also the author of an amendment restricting NASA’s collaboration with China.
– Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and a forceful advocate for defense spending. As former chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, he led an effort to reduce higher education regulations.


On Wednesday, the Obama Administration announced a new task force to develop solutions for combatting sexual violence on college campuses. The group, comprised of representatives from several Cabinet agencies and White House offices, has 90 days to recommend guidelines for universities to follow in responding to assault allegations and preventing violence. The task force was announced alongside a new report from the White House Council on Women and Girls that describes federal efforts to prevent sexual assault, including an update of the Violence Against Women Act that will lead to changes in campus reporting of sexual violence.

Read the report.


The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has issued a request for information (RFI) asking stakeholders to identify incentives the government can offer to help spur research in the science of learning and effective learning technologies. OSTP is also seeking volunteers to design and implement effective programs to foster innovative education technologies. The RFI was released in conjunction with a “Datapalooza” event hosted by the U.S. Department of Education last week, where participants discussed education technologies that assist students in accessing a postsecondary education.

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