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Proven Principles of Effective Climate Change Communication

March 7, 2023

Climate change is a complex, interdisciplinary issue, and effectively communicating climate change requires combatting misinformation and reaching across divides to engage people in action.The Communication Working Group of the Commission on Accelerating Climate Action developed 12 principles for effective climate change communication, ranging from communicating consensus on climate change to framing climate change as an in-group issue. Using examples from across the media landscape, the two publications of this working group highlight needed changes to the ways that climate is discussed broadly.

Climate Change Security Risks and Opportunities

March 7, 2023

October 2022 saw record low water levels on the Mississippi River and the Lake Mead Reservoir of the Colorado River. In the previous month, Hurricane Ian became the third costliest natural disaster in our nation's history. As we face the reality of climate change, we will have to contend with the increasing and cascading impacts on the nation's food, water, energy, and infrastructure, creating security implications within the country and beyond its borders.The Human and National Security Working Group of the Commission on Accelerating Climate Action considered how climate action is impeded by ineffective communication, unmanaged risks, and lack of integration with frontline communities. Using the Colorado River Basin and the Gulf Coast as case studies, the two publications of this working group feature analysis of key problems preventing effective action and suggest paths forward for managing the security risks caused by a changing climate.

Credits Earned by Graduating High School Seniors

May 16, 2022

As the total number of credits taken by high school students has increased since 1990, so have the number of credits taken in key humanities subjects and the share of students earning credits in these subjects.

State of the Humanities 2022: From Graduate Education to the Workforce

April 18, 2022

Given the recent decline in students earning bachelor's degrees in the humanities, a great deal of concern is focused on undergraduate education. But many of the questions received by the Humanities Indicators staff have to do with outcomes for those who earn a graduate degree in the field. This report explores several key topics related to graduate education, including degree trends, the demographics of degree recipients, the extent to which programs engage students in career preparation activities, and graduates' career outcomes. The report relies heavily on the high-quality data collected by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, and also the National Science Foundation's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, several of whose surveys yield valuable information about graduate degree holders in the humanities.The findings include a few surprises: 1) while most of the attention in the disciplines seems to focus on PhDs, the field conferred almost five times as many master's as doctoral degrees in recent years; 2) even so, the number of master's degrees conferred annually in the humanities has been in decline over the past several years and their share of all master's and professional degrees reached a historic low in 2020; 3) the number of humanities PhDs awarded each year was at a near-record high in 2020, but as a share of all doctoral degrees, they fell to a historic low; 4) while the academic job market for humanities PhDs has been depressed since 2008, there is no evidence that this is due to the substitution of adjunct for tenure-track positions; and 5) regardless of where they end up—either in academia or out—the large majority of graduate degree recipients in the humanities are satisfied with their jobs, despite earnings that are considerably lower than those of their counterparts from other fields.This report reflects the ongoing mission of the Humanities Indicators, a nationally recognized source of nonpartisan information about the field. The Indicators website covers 121 topics and includes more than 340 graphs detailing the state of the humanities in schools, higher education, and the workforce; levels of support for research and other key activities; and the role of the humanities in the day-to-day life of the nation. The project draws on data sources that meet the highest standards of social scientific rigor, relying heavily on the products of the U.S. federal statistical system.

Global Connections: Emerging Science Partners

January 27, 2022

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences' initiative on Challenges for International Scientific Partnerships (CISP) was formed to assess where international collaborations are key for U.S. interests and to identify solutions to the challenges they face. This initiative has taken a broad view of international scientific collaboration as extending across scientific disciplines and scales and as encompassing all regions of the globe. As scientists raise the alarm on risks from a warming planet and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact lives and economies, this initiative has become only more convinced that a coordinated, collaborative science and technology (S&T) enterprise is essential to address the global challenges facing all of us. Key imperatives for international collaboration are presented in the initiative's first report, America and the International Future of Science, while principles for successful international collaboration on large-scale initiatives are presented in the subsequent report, Bold Ambition: International Large-Scale Science.Global Connections: Emerging Science Partners focuses on scientific partnerships between scientists in the United States and scientists in countries with emerging scientific enterprises. These countries are largely classified as Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) and Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) based in the Global South, including in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, and the Middle East and North Africa. Of particular focus in this report are countries that have been identified by The World Academy of Sciences as "S&T Lagging" and are specifically seeking to boost science capacity for development.

The Case for Enlarging the House of Representatives

December 9, 2021

This report makes the case for expanding the House of Representatives to bring the American people a little closer to their government, and their government closer to them. The Case for Enlarging the House of Representatives is an independent byproduct of Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century, the final report of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship. The Commission represents a cross-partisan cohort of leaders from academia, civil society, philanthropy, and the policy sphere who reached unanimous agreement on thirty-one recommendations to improve American democracy. The report takes as a premise that political institutions, civic culture, and civil society reinforce one another. A nation may have impeccably designed bodies of government, but it also needs an engaged citizenry to ensure these institutions function as intended. As a result, Our Common Purpose argues that reforming only one of these areas is insufficient. Progress must be made across all three. To build a better democracy, the United States needs better-functioning institutions as well as a healthier political culture and a more resilient civil society.

State of the Humanities 2021: Workforce & Beyond

November 8, 2021

How should one measure the value of a college degree? In recent years, policy-makers have focused their attention on earnings as the primary measure of the value of a degree, often using that metric to single out humanities degrees as less valuable than others. But there are other—less tangible—measures of value, such as satisfaction with one's work and life more generally, that might also be applied to these discussions.Without taking a position on which metrics are best, this report, based largely on original research commissioned by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Humanities Indicators, examines a variety of outcome measures, including graduates' satisfaction with their jobs, their finances, and their lives generally. The evidence shows that humanities graduates tend to earn less and have slightly higher levels of unemployment than business majors and graduates from some STEM fields. With respect to perceived well-being, however, humanities majors are similar to graduates from almost every other field. The data cannot explain the seeming disparity between the objective and subjective measures, but they provide a starting point for a more nuanced discussion about the relationship among fields of undergraduate study, employment, and quality of life. And for faculty, the report also points to a potential area of concern regarding the way they communicate to students about the skills developed in the course of an education in the field, as a substantial share of humanities graduates perceive little or no relationship between their job and their degree. The data were all gathered prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but past experience tracking this sort of data for the humanities—particularly through the Great Recession—gives us little reason to expect a significant shift in values over the medium term.

Art Is Work: Policies to Support Creative Workers

October 19, 2021

This report examines the role artists and other creative workers play in contributing to modern society and it highlights the lack of policy measures supporting them, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has impacted jobs and sales related to the arts. To support creative workers, the report outlines four key principles: (1) Include artists in federal policy-making decisions; (2) Recognize how creative work happens, through the investment of time and labor; (3) make equity a central feature of grant-making and other forms of support; and (4) Think Locally and share nationally, so that creative endeavors, which are by nature local, do not become siloed.

Art for Life’s Sake: The Case for Arts Education

September 14, 2021

In 2018, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences convened a Commission on the Arts to examine the state of arts education in the United States, and to assess the need for greater support. The Commission ultimately focused on the challenges of access to arts education in public schools.The resulting report, Art for Life's Sake: The Case for Arts Education, finds ample evidence for the attributes, values, and skills that come from arts education, including social and emotional development, improvements in school engagement, as well as more vital civic and social engagement. It also offers concrete recommendations to improve educational policy at the local, state, and national levels.

Bold Ambition: International Large-Scale Science

June 1, 2021

This report, Bold Ambition: International Large-Scale Science, describes the essential role of large-scale science initiatives, also referred to as megascience initiatives, for the U.S. scientific enterprise. It identifies best practices for building large-scale scientific collaborations in the future. 

Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century

June 12, 2020

"Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century" is the work of the US national and bipartisan Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, convened by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. It presents 31 recommendations - across political institutions, political culture, and civil society - which are the product of two years of work and nearly 50 listening sessions with Americans around the country, which sought to understand how American citizens could obtain the values, knowledge, and skills to become better citizens. Collectively, the recommendations lay the foundation for an essential reinvention of the American democracy supported by the increasement of citizens' capacity to engage in their communities.

Governance of Dual-Use Technologies: Theory and Practice

May 10, 2016

The term dual-use characterizes technologies that can have both military and civilian applications. What is the state of current efforts to control the spread of these powerful technologies—nuclear, biological, cyber—that can simultaneously advance social and economic well-being and also be harnessed for hostile purposes? What have previous efforts to govern, for example, nuclear and biological weapons taught us about the potential for the control of these dual-use technologies? What are the implications for governance when the range of actors who could cause harm with these technologies include not just national governments but also non-state actors like terrorists? These are some of the questions addressed by Governance of Dual-Use Technologies: Theory and Practice, the new publication released today by the Global Nuclear Future Initiative of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The publication's editor is Elisa D. Harris, Senior Research Scholar, Center for International Security Studies, University of Maryland School of Public Affairs. Governance of Dual-Use Technologies examines the similarities and differences between the strategies used for the control of nuclear technologies and those proposed for biotechnology and information technology. The publication makes clear the challenges concomitant with dual-use governance. For example, general agreement exists internationally on the need to restrict access to technologies enabling the development of nuclear weapons. However, no similar consensus exists in the bio and information technology domains. The publication also explores the limitations of military measures like deterrence, defense, and reprisal in preventing globally available biological and information technologies from being misused. Some of the other questions explored by the publication include: What types of governance measures for these dual-use technologies have already been adopted? What objectives have those measures sought to achieve? How have the technical characteristics of the technology affected governance prospects? What have been the primary obstacles to effective governance, and what gaps exist in the current governance regime? Are further governance measures feasible? In addition to a preface from Global Nuclear Future Initiative Co-Director Robert Rosner (University of Chicago) and an introduction and conclusion from Elisa Harris, Governance of Dual-Use Technologiesincludes:On the Regulation of Dual-Use Nuclear Technology by James M. Acton (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)Dual-Use Threats: The Case of Biotechnology by Elisa D. Harris (University of Maryland)Governance of Information Technology and Cyber Weapons by Herbert Lin (Stanford University)