2008-2009 Annual Report

The California State University Social Sciences Research and Instructional Council (SSRIC)

The SSRIC is composed of representatives from each of the CSU campuses. Its overall objective is to support faculty, staff and student research and teaching in all social science disciplines. It does this by:

  • Working with the Chancellor’s office to ensure continued systemwide access to social science databases
  • Developing instructional materials and making them available on the Council’s website (www.ssric.org)
  • Initiating and conducting workshops on how to access and use quantitative data from the aforementioned sources
  • Supporting faculty research by facilitating access to ICPSR training and the use of the Field poll for research
  • Providing a forum for sharing information about using data in research and teaching
  • Sponsoring an annual student research conference



The databases the CSU subscribes to include the:

  • Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan. Founded in 1962, the Consortium houses data from ,580 studies representing about 62,270 datasets. The total number of associated files is just over 534,125. These data are made available to member institutions such as the CSU
  • Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut. Founded in 1947, the Center houses the world’s largest archive of survey data.
  • The Field Institute in San Francisco is an independent, nonpartisan public opinion news serviced that has operated since 1947. It has issued over 2300 different reports based on its polls of California residents.

In 2008-09, the SSRIC generated over $180,000 by soliciting subscriptions from each CSU campus (except the Maritime Academy) and garnering additional support from the Chancellor’s office to maintain access to these databases. The consolidation of membership in these organizations, facilitated by the SSRIC,  represents a considerable savings (over $121,000 or 40%) to faculty and campuses that would otherwise have to subscribe individually. Students, faculty and staff are able to download data, codebooks and other material directly to their computers as a result of this access.  At the same time, SSRIC representatives have actively contributed to ICPSR’s instructional resources; most recently with a module entitled “Investigating Community and Social Capital.” 

The Council has had a license for Survey Documentation and Analysis (SDA), a statistical analysis package developed at UC Berkeley, and has converted six datasets to SDA format. SDA enables faculty and students to analyze data without requiring client-side software (such as SPSS). Due to budget cuts this year, SSRIC decided to suspend its license, but datasets already converted are available at http://www.ssric.org/sda.

Instructional Materials and Workshops

SSRIC also makes available instructional material via its website. These include two online textbooks, instructional modules and exercises, and instructional handouts. This year, SSRIC representatives have been working with Andrew Roderick (SFSU Academic Computing) to update some of these modules.  

The Council also offers free workshops at any campus where faculty have expressed an interest in learning how to access and analyze quantitative data from ICPSR, Roper and Field, and using SDA.  Workshops are also provided on the use of SPSS for data analysis.  In 2008-09, twelve workshops were conducted on six campuses. Nine of these demonstrated the use of SPSS in quantitative data analysis (beginning and intermediate levels).  Two addressed access and use of the databases to which the Council subscribes, and one was devoted specifically to SDA (see table).

Workshops  Academic Year 2008-09



# of Attendees


San Jose
















































Faculty Research

Each year ICPSR has made available support for one or two CSU faculty and/or students to attend its summer session.   Faculty and students are invited to compete for this support by submitting their resume and a statement about what training they intend to pursue and how it will support their research and/or teaching.  This year Bridget Conlon (Fresno) and Robert Wassmer (Sacramento) were awarded with fee waivers.

Each year the Field Poll provides SSRIC with the opportunity to award CSU faculty with (1) a fellowship that includes a stipend and credit for a limited number of items to be included on an upcoming Field poll and (2) credits for items to be included on a future poll.  Faculty submit RFPs and a committee chooses from among them.  This year Francis Neely was awarded the fellowship,  and John Korey and Ted Lascher were awarded the item credits.  Recent winners of the Field Fellowship, Gregory B. Charles W. Gossett used the items they included on the poll in a previous year for an article entitled “changing Public Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage” (Politics and Policy, 36(1) (2008).

Forums for Sharing Information

The Council met three times this past year; in October in San Jose, in February at the Tenaya Lodge near Fresno, and in May in Sacramento.  In response to a request from the Chancellor’s office for the Council to look for ways to cut its budget, the Council agreed to ask the Chancellor’s office to pay the costs of each campus sending a representative to one, rather than two, meetings per year.  Still, attendance at the meetings was good as many representatives were willing to look elsewhere for funding or attend at their own expense.  The Fall and Winter meetings were followed by sessions where representatives engaged in a strategic planning exercise facilitated by Dr. Albert C. Hyde, formerly of the Brookings Institution.

In another cost savings measure, the Council voted this year to suspend its practice of holding workshops for representatives following the Fall and Winter business meetings. These workshops were designed to provide representatives with updates on developments in the social sciences.  This year, we used this time instead to work on developing a strategic plan (see below). In the future, costs for representatives’ attendance at these meetings will be reduced since they will no longer stay for a second day to attend these workshops.

Student Research Conference

The SSRIC hosted its 33rd annual student research conference at CSU Sacramento on May 8, 2009.  Fifty students participated from a variety of social science disciplines from 12 campuses.  The following students were presented with awards:

  • Christopher Lewis  (Business Management, Long Beach) was presented with the  Gloria Rummels Award for Best Quantitative Paper, for his paper: “Capitalization or Lock-In? An Empirical Study of the 2003 Capital Gains Tax Cut”
  • Daniel Liu (Government, Sacramento) was presented with the Betty Nesvold Award for Best Graduate Paper, for his paper, “US-China Relations Viewed through the Lenses of Prospect Theory”
  • Vivian Helliwell (Economics, Humboldt) was presented with the Charles McCall Award for Best Undergraduate Paper, for her paper: “Title: Fisheries Management for California Dungeness Crab: Adaption to Change.”

Additional information about Council activities to promote research and teaching can be found in the memo to Gerry Hanley (CSU Chancellor’s office) appended to this report (PDF format).

Structure and Governance

Officers and Chairs

The officers and committee chairs for the 2008-09 year consisted of the following:

Chair: Katherine  Naff (San Francisco)

Executive Committee: John Korey (Pomona), Ed Nelson (Fresno), Lori Weber (Chico)

Field committee: Ed Nelson (Fresno)

ICPSR summer stipend: Pat Jennings (East Bay)

TRD: Gene Turner (Northridge)

Student conference:  Ellen Berg (Sacramento)

Chair-elect: Ellen Berg

Business Meetings and Student Conference

Fall: October 2008, San Jose

Winter: February, 2009, Fish Camp

Spring: May 2009, Sacramento

Student conference: May 2009, Sacramento

The SSRIC has also been actively involved in governance at ICPSR. This year an SSRIC representative was elected to a four-year term on the ICPSR’s 11-member governing council.  SSRIC  representatives have also  been active members of ICPSR’s  undergraduate research paper competition review committee,  SSRIC representative Ed Nelson (Fresno) will be participating on a newly established ICPSR committee.  Two SSRIC representatives, Ed Nelson and Ricky Blumenthal (Dominguez Hills) are actively involved with   in a recently
established Consortium of Applied Social Science Research Centers (CASSRC).


This year the Council undertook a strategic planning process, with the pro-bono assistance of former Brookings
Institution consulting, Dr. Al Hyde.   The result was a comprehensive document that identifies critical
challenges and proposing strategic positions for the coming year.  Challenges included (in order of importance):

Tier 1 –

A. Funding Continuity & Adequacy  

Tier 2 - 

B. Outreach to Faculty – assisting faculty in teaching, updating technology &  methods, faculty scholarship & research
C. Promote Interaction & networking among SSRIC representatives     (rebuilding internal community)
D. Marketing (Identity) and Brand (Autonomy)  Promoting Value of SSRIC to faculty (especially new,)  Chancellor’s office & university community

Tier 3 -
E. Develop new applications – materials- data resources for social science  learning instructional support)
F. Networking among CSU faculty (student conference, faculty conference, instructional research) – social research portals
G. Innovations in Social Science Research (qualitative research, data technologies, data base applications, what’s next)

Strategic positions included:

Strategic Position I

A. Funding Continuity & Adequacy- Ensuring Budget Stability

Strategic Position II

B. Expanding Outreach to Faculty – assisting faculty in teaching, updating technology & methods, enhancing faculty scholarship and research

Linked Strategic Position III

C Building Community Development - Strengthening Interaction within SSRIC

D Promoting Value of SSRIC to Faculty & Chancellors Office

Strategic Position IV

E. Develop New Applications to Promote Instructional support

Strategic Position V

F. Further Networking & Data Sharing Among CSU Faculty & Partners

Strategic Position VI

G. Promote Innovations in Social Science Research

 Strategic Position VII

H.  The Pursuit of Radical Ideas

The document also included next steps for achieving the strategic positions and metrics for measuring success.  On the agenda for executive committee to discuss this coming year is the plan for implementation.