Center for Social Research

Believe 2 Become Seeks to Boost Academic Achievement in Grand Rapids

Fifteen thousand children in Grand Rapids are being served by the Believe 2 Become initiative (“B2B”). The initiative focuses on four neighborhood “Hope Zones. The Community Research Institute at Grand Valley State University is a research partner for the CSR, and they provide maps and demographic profiles of each neighborhood.

By supporting strong schools, community partnership, parent resources, and student experiences, B2B hopes to help students achieve success in school, work, and life by the year 2025. Believe 2 Become is a partnership of Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS), Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation, dozens of community‐based and faith‐based organizations, and the Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation.

These groups are investing in teacher training and system support at GRPS and are sponsoring after-school study programs and a summer learning program.

B2B is also sponsoring a Neighborhood Engagement program. In this program, staff members from LINC Community Revitalization, Inc. conduct community meetings, organize community events, and go door-to-door educating parents: all with the goal of promoting knowledge of and encouraging action toward student success.


Posted by Tony Ditta on Tuesday, April 05, 2011 at 02:53 PM
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Report on 2009 Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Survey


Since 2004, CSR has been supporting the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) in its Sustaining Pastoral Excellence project, which has been funded by grants from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. Three waves of surveys have been conducted on an approximately biennial bases, in 2004/2005 (which we're now labeling "2005" for simplicity's sake), 2007 and 2009.

A full report is now available comparing all three survey waves and including statistical models of pastors' self-reported pastoral health (vocational satisfaction and sustainability), leadership skills, and congregational fulfillment of the CRC's mission statement. The report finds statistical stability across all three waves--excellence is indeed being sustained. But we also identify many areas of concern with room for improvement, especially council support through systematic feedback on preaching. The statistical models suggest that programmatic interventions per se have mixed effects, but targeting leadership skill development could stimulate improvements in pastoral health.

The following resources are available from CSR; also see the SPE project's survey page.

  1. Full report (11.2MB; 78-page color PDF, with extensive bookmarks and hypertext cross-referencing)
  2. Printable PDF questionnaires for pastors and clerks of council.
  3. Online web-based questionnaires for pastors and clerks of council (shown in preview mode; data is not collected).
  4. Charts and frequencies of multiple choice items for pastors (56-page PDF) and clerks of council (26-page PDF).
Comments and critiques are welcome! Click "read more" below to see a sample finding from the 2009 survey.

UPDATE 12/20: The CRC Newsroom has a story about the survey.

UPDATE 1/15: The Grand Rapids Press has written a story about the survey.


Posted by Kathryn A. Bardolph on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 12:12 PM
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CSR co-sponsors 2010 conference, “Reformed Mission in an Age of World Christianity”

  CSR is pleased to be a co-sponsor with other Calvin College Centers and Institutes of the 2010 Reformed Mission in an Age of World Christianity conference; follow this link to read more about it. Open to all, the June 15-17, 2010 conference immediately precedes the inaugural meeting of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) on Calvin's campus. Register now! Then read on for more about CSR's plans for a focus group research project at the conference.


Posted by Kathryn A. Bardolph on Monday, June 21, 2010 at 11:31 AM
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April 8 CSR Presentation: Data visualization with KCCS

Using data from the Kent County Congregations Study, CSR staff will showcase emerging tools and methods for visual data analysis.

Please join us:

  Thursday April 8, 2010
3:30 p.m., Meeter Center Lecture Hall
Calvin College

See the entire poster!

UPDATE: See the presentation (PowerPoint 2007)!

Posted by Kathryn A. Bardolph on Friday, March 26, 2010 at 12:49 PM
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Kent County Congregations Canvassing Completed

The Center for Social Research is pleased to announce that, as of November 5, 2009, we have completed our comprehensive church canvassing project! The student research assistants estimate that they covered over 124 tracts, and collected data documenting congregational movements and new congregations in Kent County. In total, 24 new congregations were discovered.

Even though there is a feeling of finality to this phase of the project, in reality it has only just begun. We now have a great deal of data to add to the previously collected data from the Kent County Congregational Survey of 2006 that was compiled into the impressive report, Gatherings of Hope. These data will also be used to make a comprehensive and up-to-date directory of Kent County congregations.

By visiting each congregation in Kent County, student researchers were able to take pictures of every building and record any changes to leadership, contact information, membership, and other relevant information.


Posted by Tony Ditta on Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 10:48 AM
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