Center for Social Research

Business development mentoring in Haiti, Kenya and Nicaragua

In summer and fall 2007, CSR assisted Roland Hoksbergen, professor of economics and international development, and student Jeremy Veenema in their evaluation of the Partners Worldwide “Million Mentors Initiative.”

In addition to other information sources, Hoksbergen and Veenema conducted a survey of the target population for the initiative, entrepreneurs and employees in small businesses in Haiti, Kenya and Nicaragua. Local field interviewers in each country conducted interviews with business owners and employees in the field, then returned to their home bases (often colleges and universities) and entered their data into web forms created by CSR (you can view preview versions of the forms for owners and employees). Hoksbergen and Veenema also received statistical analysis consulting support from CSR.

Their final report is posted here. They found strong evidence for the program’s effectiveness, with a total of 84 business associations, 6,419 individual members and 4,516 businesses across the three countries.

Posted by Neil Carlson on Thursday, May 01, 2008 at 09:47 AM
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CSR Open House on April 3

  Please join us on the afternoon of April 3, 2008, 3:30 - 6:00pm for a friendly open house at the stylish new offices of the Center for Social Research at 2041 Raybrook St. SE, Suite 103, downstairs from the Van Lunen Center and Kuyers Institute. We’d like to welcome all Calvin faculty and staff and our clients from the community, share refreshments, introduce you to CSR’s new director Dr. James Penning, and chat about social research at Calvin College. Thanks are due to past Director Kurt Schaefer, Interim Director Janel Curry, all our campus collaborators, and especially to the Physical Plant personnel who did such a great job remodeling.

Find your way with this map:
Sorry, this neat feature doesn’t work in Internet Explorer, but is too cool to drop for all that. Try Firefox!!

View Larger Map

Posted by Neil Carlson on Thursday, April 03, 2008 at 10:14 AM
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Monsma publishes book on Christian evaluation of public policy

  Adapted from the Christians in Political Science newsletter for March 2008: Just published, Healing for a Broken World: Christian Perspectives on Public Policy is written by Steve Monsma, a research fellow at the Henry Institute at Calvin College and a former CPS president. In his book, Steve lays out foundational biblical principles for guiding Christiansí evaluation of current public policy issues and then applies them to several key issue areas. His goal is not to prescribe specific public policy positions, but to assist believers to evaluate and reach their own public policy positions in a thoughtful manner, guided by biblical principles. It is published by Crossway Books; more information can be found at
The Henry Institute has also produced a DVD and study guide to accompany the book, which is suited for use in introductory college classes and study groups. More information on it can be found at the Henry Institute publications page.
Posted by Neil Carlson on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 at 09:46 AM
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Major study documents religious mobility

The Grand Rapids Press newspaper invited CSR staff to comment for a story about a major new study of American religion by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

A massive survey of over 35,000 people, the U.S. Religious Landscape study reveals significant levels of religious mobility among Americans, with 28 percent reporting leaving the faith tradition of their childhood and another 16 percent reporting movement between groups within the Protestant tradition. Over sixteen percent reported no religious affiliation at all, but this figure includes 5.8 percent who still think of themselves as “religious” (see the bottom of the table at right on the Pew page.)


Posted by Neil Carlson on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 at 12:25 PM
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Dr. James Penning to direct CSR

Dr. James Penning, currently chair of Calvin’s Department of Political Science, has been appointed to become Director of the Center for Social Research effective June 1, 2008.

Dr. Penning’s extensive experience includes a panoply of research- and community-related projects and positions. A scholar of public administration, urban, state and local politics, and religion and politics, he is a past president of the Michigan Conference of Political Scientists and program chair for the Religion and Politics section of the American Political Science Association. In the community, he has been a member of the Grand Rapids Planning Commission, the Kentwood City Commission, and the Baxter Community Center Board. He has conducted numerous large-scale studies and surveys. His most recent publication is Divided by a Common Heritage:  The Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America at the Beginning of the New Millennium, co-authored with colleagues Corwin Smidt of Calvin and Donald Luidens and Roger Nemeth of Hope College.

The Center’s staff and student team are excited about Dr. Penning’s unique combination of community ties and research expertise.

Posted by Neil Carlson on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 at 05:52 PM
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