Sloppy RFP’s Should Not Be Rewarded

To the Editor:

I have over the years served as a grants proposal reviewer for two large federal funding sources: the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. I read with interest your recent article, “Dozens of Colleges’ Upward Bound Applications Are Denied for Failing to Dot Every I,” (The Chronicle, April 26). It is certainly true that in both Federal funding programs, there are rules stipulated in the Request for Proposals (RF…

Why I Stopped Teaching The Bell Curve

To the Editor:

As we try to understand protests to Charles Murray’s speaking engagements, I thought it would be worthwhile to share my experiences trying to teach The Bell Curve. When I was a professor at Middlebury College, I included sections of Murray’s Bell Curve and critiques of it in the Introduction to Psychology course. After several years, however, I removed it. Looking back now, I ask myself if it was right to try to cover The Bell Curve and should others do so? Or was it right to sto…

Essay Giving Guidance on Research Ignores Impending Rules Changes

To The Editor:

The premise in “Don’t Let Your Misunderstanding of the Rules Hinder Your Research,” by Richard A. Shweder and Richard E. Nisbett, is inaccurate. The revised Common Rule actually does require limited IRB review for some exemption categories. The FAQ guidance the authors point to in their opinion piece is only for the current iteration of the law; the new Common Rule, effective in 2018, has different requirements that are not present in the current law. The new requirements for so…

Open Educational Resources Movement Welcomes Growing Pains

To the Editor:

Like every groundbreaking technology since, printed books caused consternation when they first entered the (medieval) university. Prior to the invention of the press, copies of classic texts were extremely expensive. Consequently, lecture time was frequently devoted to the slow, clear reading of a classic text by an instructor so that students could handwrite their own copy of the text. When students started bringing to class “lecture texts,” inexpensive printed copies of clas…

Scientists Don’t View Reproducibility as ‘Risky Business’

To the Editor:

Years ago I participated in a personality test administered to staff at my research institution. The test was intended to aid managers in building well-functioning teams that included scientists, engineers, operations professionals, and outreach experts. Among other insights, the test revealed that each of these groups had different values. Significantly, scientists value getting the answer right to the near exclusion of anything else, over staying on schedule, remaining within bu…

Efforts by Group at Wake Forest to Restrict Open Inquiry Are Distressing

To the Editor:

As a philanthropy that supports hundreds of colleges and universities each year, the Charles Koch Foundation is committed to academic freedom and open inquiry, which is a driving force behind discovery and human progress. When we say academic freedom, we mean that no one — not a funder nor a faculty member in another department — should be able to tell a scholar what to say, research, or teach. Though critics have sought to mischaracterize our grant making, we have been consis…

Quotes in Story About NIH Funding Were Taken Out of Context

To the Editor:

I am writing in the hopes of providing some context for statements of mine quoted in your piece, “At Moment of Danger, NIH’s Director Is Seen as Its Chief Protector,” (The Chronicle, March 27). Without the context surrounding my statements, the points I was attempting to make became lost in the points the reporter wanted to make. He isolated several remarks of mine from a conversation that extended over 90 minutes and ranged quite broadly over a variety of important topics.

Let me…

What About Randolph College’s Role in Helping Sweet Briar Community?

To the Editor:

I take serious issue with the fact that your article, “How to Bring a College Back to Life” (The Chronicle, April 1), neglected to include mention of the huge role Randolph College had in helping Sweet Briar students and faculty.

Randolph was going to have more students come from Sweet Briar College than any college besides Hollins, and Randolph faculty, staff, and administrators spent thousands of hours helping members of the Sweet Briar community deal emotionally and practically…

Defense of 9/11 Assignment at Iowa State Was Bogus

To the Editor:

James Strohman’s and Iowa State’s “defense” of his assignment for students to empathize with the 9/11 terrorists is as bogus as the assignment was (“Iowa State U. Defends 9/11 Assignment Against Lawmaker’s Criticism,The Chronicle, March 29).

“I consider 9/11 a horrific and devastating attack and I support all who were and continue to be impacted by this tragedy,” Strohman said in a written statement.

I’m sure that Osama bin Laden considered 9/11 to be “horrific and devastating” …

Criticism of U. of Mississippi Marijuana Quality Unfair

To the Editor:

As director of the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi that oversees the marijuana project, I was troubled by your article that questioned, without substantiation, the quality of the marijuana that UM has long provided to credible researchers under contract from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (“Weak Weed and Red Tape: Marijuana Research Is Slow Going,The Chronicle, February 28).

The DEA has issued a manufacturer’s registr…