Also in this Issue
APA Psychologist at Forefront of Juvenile Justice Reform
On October 15, a slate of panelists, including researchers, policy advisors, and advocates, gathered to discuss juvenile justice reform and the differences between adolescent and adult offenders. The latest volume of The Future of Children journal, "Juvenile Justice," published by Brookings and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, was also released at the event.
Laurence Steinberg, PhD (APA Fellow, current President of APA's Division 7 and Professor of Psychology at Temple University), opened the event by providing an overview of the issue, focusing on the fact that emerging social science research has shown that adolescents lack the emotional and mental maturity of adults and therefore should not be treated as adults in the system. He said that although reforms have been implemented in the past two decades that ignore adolescent development issues, there has recently been a shift away from the "get tough" policies; more moderate policies are coming to the forefront as legislators begin to consider high economic costs and the ineffectiveness of punitive approaches. Nonetheless, Dr. Steinberg explained that there was still a great deal of work to be done to ensure that policymakers are aware of the research that exists and are using it to inform their decisions. Following his introduction, the forum continued with two panels that discussed various reforms, one of which Dr. Steinberg moderated.
NIMH Seeks Candidates for Two Top Positions
NIMH is seeking exceptional candidates for the positions of Deputy Director and Associate Director for Special Populations, both housed in the Office of the Director. Please visit the NIMH website to view announcements for the positions.
The current Deputy Director of NIMH, Dr. Richard Nakamura, has been selected as the next Scientific Director of the Institute and will lead the Intramural Research Program.
President Extends Authorization of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
President Bush signed into law last week legislation that authorizes funding for NASA for FY 2009. The legislation authorizes $20.2 billion for the agency, about $2.6 billion over the President's FY 2009 budget request. The authorized level includes $853,400,000 for NASA's Aeronautics program, home to aviation safety and human factors research. We first reported on this in June when the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the bill, H.R. 6063. The Senate passed similar legislation, S. 3270, in August, and sent it back to the House for a quick reconciliation. The two chambers passed agreed-upon legislation at the end of September and sent it to the President for his signature.
But an authorization is just the first step in the funding allocation process. Next, both House and Senate appropriations committees will consider whether/how much NASA should receive. SGRO staff will continue to work with appropriations staff in both chambers when Congress reconvenes.
NSF Searches for New Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences Division Director
APA has been asked for assistance in identifying potential candidates for the position of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) Division Director within the National Science Foundation's Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate. NSF considers the BCS Division Director a key member of the SBE Directorate leadership team who can "provide leadership and direction for the support of research to develop and advance scientific knowledge about humans spanning areas of inquiry including brain and behavior, language and culture, origins and evolution, and geography and the environment." The outgoing Director also is looking particularly to find a leader who can provide direction for SBE's new emphasis on complexity science and interacting systems in the context of NSF's investment in computationally enabled discovery and innovation (CDI) and contribute to the development of appropriate infrastructure for BCS disciplines.
The Division Director provides overall direction and management to a division that includes a staff of approximately 30 employees and a FY 2008 budget of about $85 million. Information about the BCS Division's mission and programs is provided on its Home Page. This is a Senior Executive Service (SES) position or the Division Director may be assigned under the provisions of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA). Access the announcement from the website for information about appointment options as well as qualification requirements and application procedures. The application deadline is December 1, 2008.
NICHD Examines Role of Animals in Child Development
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), in partnership with the Mars Corporation, held a workshop in October to bring together researchers from disciplines including psychology, veterinary medicine and sociology to discuss the impact of human-animal interaction (HAI) on child health and development. The Child Development and Behavior Branch convened the workshop given the potential connection of HAI to child development and public health issues, such as childhood obesity, as well as the need for more scientific research and evaluation of currently unproven HAI interventions being used in the field, such as dolphin therapy. This was the first NIH meeting on this topic since the 1987 NIH conference entitled, "The Health Benefits of Pets." At this meeting, participants focused specifically on HAI and child development outcomes and sought to create multidisciplinary collaborations as well as develop a research agenda that would move the field forward with improved methodologies and measures.