Ok Sean, if I go to the forum "home", it's not there. If I click on any of the choices (view unanswered posts, view unread posts, view new posts, view active topics), it's not there. If, instead, I click on the "science careers forum" title on the "home" page, the "new topic" link then shows up.
If I click on one of the discussion threads, then I get the "post reply" option but not "new post" (which is fine and probably by design). And if I then return to the science careers forum out of the discussion, the "new topic" button is there again.
So it looks like the problem comes in how you access the forum - choosing any of the more focused options on the "home" page results in no "new topic" button. It looks like these options are treated as a search, perhaps if you search the forum you aren't given the option to create a new topic based on the results? I'm having trouble getting the search function to work so I can't verify that this is true. I should note that the forum recognizes me as logged in throughout this. If it matters, I'm using Safari on a Mac.
And yes, by "not there" I mean that there is a white space where it would be.