Center for Social Research

New Advisors

The When The People Speak Deliberative Poll Event is proud to announce our new project advisors:

Name Title Employer
Alan Vanderberg County Administrator Ottawa County
Curtis Holt City Manager Wyoming
Greg Sundstrom City Manager Grand Rapids
Jim Talen Kent County Commissioner 16th District
Jorge Gonzalez Director of Economic Development LINC
Keith Van Beek Assistant County Administrator Ottawa County
Kevin den Dulk Executive Director of Henry Institute Calvin College
Mark Lemoine Director of System Government Affairs Spectrum Health
Neil Carlson Director of Center for Social Research Calvin College
Rosalynn Bliss City Commissioner of Grand Rapids 2nd Ward

For more information about the Poll Event, visit our website: KentCountySpeaks.org
If you are interested in contributing to our project as an advisor, please contact us!

Posted by Michael Kelly on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 11:13 AM
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Now in development: the 2014 Kent County Deliberative Poll

 

Civic-minded friends, watch this space for news about our newest initiative, the Kent County Deliberative Poll®, inspired by and intended for local implementation in cooperation with James Fishkin and the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University.

Please extend a warm welcome to Project Coordinator Allison Rudi, who will be contacting a broad coalition of community partners and research organizations (including you) to advise, sponsor, conduct and benefit from this combined research and civic education project. This fall, we’ll be working on coalition-building, branding and design, fundraising, research design, project planning and budgeting, development of unbiased reading materials, recruitment of expert deliberative-democracy moderators, student involvement, and more.

Questions? Want to get in on the ground floor? Contact Allison by email or call CSR at 616 526-8934.

Posted by Neil Carlson on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM
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Project Overview: Summer Learning Academy 2013

The CSR’s goal to revitalize our weblog to be current and more informative leads to a new type of post: a Project Overview post. There are several projects occurring simultaneously at CSR, so the idea behind project overviews is to give our readers a better understanding of the types of projects that we are involved in, while also thanking our clients for working with us.

Over the past 2 years, the DeVos Foundation has partnered with CSR to evaluate the effectiveness of programs that are integral to their Believe 2 Become initiative, some of which include their Baby Scholars program, Gatherings of Hope program, and Summer Learning Academy program. However, since the Summer Learning Academy programs have taken precedence for us during this time of year, it is opportune to coincide the beginnings of our project overviews with this academic initiative.

READ MORE...

Posted by Michael Kelly on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 08:47 AM
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CSR presents 2012 survey results to CRC Synod

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Former CSR director Rodger Rice and current director Neil Carlson completed a full report on the 2012 CRC Survey and presented the results (video, starts at 2:45) to the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church on Monday, June 10, 2013.

From the summer of 2012 through January 2013, the Center for Social Research (CSR) conducted the 2012 wave of the Christian Reformed Church of North America survey. As with the previous wave, the survey focused on church health and trends over time within the denomination.

The following resources are now available:

Questions? Contact CSR at csr@calvin.edu.

Posted by Neil Carlson on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 09:33 AM
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Public and official opinion about cooperation and combination of local governments

Survey results released today show that a majority of survey respondents, both residents and elected officials of Kent County, Michigan, support sharing services such as police, fire and public works among governments, but there is no majority for sharing assessment of property values or tax collection. Majorities support informal cooperation, formal contracts and combining agencies, but a supermajority of responding elected officials and a near-majority of responding residents oppose merging governments into larger units.

Jim Penning’s legacy of research in public service

Not long before he passed away in 2010, then-director of CSR Dr. Jim Penning was inspired and agitated by an article in the Grand Rapids Press (now lost to memory). An experienced commissioner of the City of Kentwood, Dr. Penning began working with me to design a survey about local government cooperation and consolidation. We met with our friends at the Community Research Institute (CRI) at Grand Valley State University (GVSU), and they agreed to adapt our design for inclusion in an upcoming version of the Greater Grand Rapids Community Survey.

This morning, I had the privilege of bringing Jim’s work to fruition by pinch-hitting for CRI staff in presenting recent survey results to the board of the Grand Valley Metropolitan Council. GVMC is an august gathering of mayors and other local officials from Kent County and several other West Michigan counties. An important vehicle for cooperation among local governments, GVMC co-sponsored the survey project, with grant funding from the Frey Foundation. GVMC provided a list of elected officials for a mail survey parallel to GGRCS. Today’s presentation juxtaposed these two surveys to compare the opinions of residents and elected officials. The event was covered by Calvin grad Matt Vande Bunte of the Grand Rapids Press.

Survey results

Readers may be interested in versions of the presentation with notes or as full size slides, along with a two-page handout summarizing the findings.

Here are two key charts from the end of the presentation that summarize the findings.

Support for sharing various services

Chart of survey results on sharing services

Degrees of intergovernmental cooperation and consolidation

Chart of survey results on degrees of cooperation

Posted by Neil Carlson on Thursday, September 06, 2012 at 08:44 PM
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