The California State University
SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH AND INSTRUCTIONAL COUNCIL (SSRIC)
29th Annual Report
Ted Lascher (CSU, Sacramento), Chair, 2000-2001
Origin and Mission
The Social Science Research and Instructional Council (SSRIC) is the oldest of the 10 disciplinary councils in the California State University system. It began in 1972 as an advisory group to the Office of Information Resources and telecommunications. Today, the Council continues its liaison with the Chancellor's Office and is dedicated to assisting CSU social science students and faculty in their learning, teaching, and research.
The Council develops and coordinates programs to extend the quantitative skills of faculty and students by:
- Providing a forum for sharing information about social science data and computer products;
- Initiating and conducting training programs;
- Recommending computerized social science projects in the CSU curriculum;
- Encouraging the collection and distribution of social science data and computer related instructional and research materials; and
- Advising CSU administrators on policies related to providing quantitative social science data for research and instruction.
The Council is composed of one representative from each CSU campus. It meets on various campuses three times during the academic year. Each meeting includes a business session and either a workshop or the annual Student Research Conference.
The Fall 2000 business meeting was held on September 22 at the San Jose State campus. The minutes of this meeting are available online at http://ssdba.calstatela.edu/ssric/minf00.htm.
Highlights of the meeting included:
- Introduction of Chris Bettinger as the new representative from San Francisco State;
- Consensus reached on various steps designed to increase participation in the spring student research project (e.g., allowing poster presentations);
- Consideration given to development of a California social survey, to ensure that important social science questions are asked in a consistent manner (the California survey to be modeled after the General Social Survey); subcommittee established to deal with the issue further;
- Improvements to SSDBA (e.g., an automated account set-up system) discussed;
- Consensus reached on various means of promoting SSRIC participation in campuses without active SSRIC representation (e.g., the chair sending a letter to deans thanking active participants and encouraging appointments of representatives/alternates without representation).
- The following day a teaching materials workshop was held on campus, with some participants drawing on materials included in the Teaching Resources Depository.
The Winter 2001 business meeting was held on February 9 at CSU Los Angeles. The minutes of the meeting are available online at http://ssdba.calstatela.edu/ssric/minw01.btm. Highlights of the meeting included:
- Introduction of Mike McLean (Chief of Staff, Information Technology Services) and Gerry Hanley (Acting Senior Director, Academic Technology Services, Information Technology Services) from the CSU Chancellor's Office;
- Lengthy discussion of the critical importance of a stable funding source for the data bases, including Ed Nelson's emphasis on the written commitment of the System to fund the data bases;
- Consensus reached that presentations in support of stable funding should be made to both the Academic Information Resources Council and Academic Technology Advisory Committee (Nelson to do); A
- Approved of draft letters to campus deans drafted by Ted Lascher (thank you letter for campuses with active SSRIC representation; letter urging appointment of representatives/alternates for campuses without representatives);
- Discussed a draft proposal (by John Korey) for a California social survey;
- Recommended that student SSDBA accounts remain active for the academic year regardless of when in the year they were established;
- Engaged in further planning for the upcoming student research conference;
- Noted receipt of funding from Institute for Teaching and Learning (ITL) for workshops on "Web-based Resources to Improve Quantitative Reasoning in the Social Sciences;" and
- Elected Elliott Barkan as the next SSRIC chair.
- On February 10 a workshop on focus groups was held at the CSULA campus.
The 25th Annual Student Research Conference was held at CSU Sacramento on Friday, May 4. The keynote speaker was Elisabeth Kersten, Director of the Senate Office of Research, who spoke about the state's current electric power crisis. Carrie Blades (Sacramento) won the award for best paper by a graduate student, Brian Quails and Ben Maddux (Fresno) won the award for best undergraduate student paper, and Britte Livingston (Sacramento) won the award for best paper making use of SSDBA data.
The consensus among SSRIC participants was that the conference was successful, with 26 papers received (and all but two being presented) from 10 different campuses.
The business meeting was held on May 5 at the Sacramento campus. The minutes of the meeting are available online at http://ssdba.calstatela.edu/ssric/minsp01.htm. Highlights included:
- Discussion of ICPSR's plan to allow direct access to data by individuals, and the implications for federations generally and the CSU federation specifically;
- Decision made to request a meeting with top CSU officials if a decision on Field and ICPSR funding was not made in writing by May 15; and
- Discussion of possible issues with campus human subjects committees for those working with
- SSDBA data (no action taken; council to monitor).
The Council continued its work on the Social Sciences Teaching Resources Depository (http://www.ssric.org/trd) established in AY 1997-98.
Sales of the SPSS Primer continued to go well. Royalties are donated to Council related activities. The book is also available electronically on the Teaching Resources Depository Website.
The Social Science Data Base Archive has continued to grow under its new leadership. Its web site may be found at http://ssdba.calstatela.edu.
The Field Institute
Robert Wassmer (CSU Sacramento) was recommended as the The Field Institute Faculty Fellow for 2001-02 and Melissa Michelson (CSU Fresno) was recommended for the Question Credits. A decision was also made to combine the two applications into one form in the future. There were no applicants for the Penny Crane Student Internship. The Council recommended to Field that the stipend (currently $7/hr) be increased.
John Korey was elected to serve on the ICPSR Board of Directors; Ed Nelson had previously served on the board.
An up-to-date list of campus representatives to the Council, with information about each member's phone number, mailing address, email address, and home page may be found at http://www.ssric.org/reps.