Center for Social Research

Essential Needs Task Force of Kent County

The Kent County Essential Needs Task Force (ENTF) is a decades-old cooperative effort to coordinate services across Kent County, Michigan. Under the leadership of director Tracie Coffman, ENTF has moved toward an evidence-driven approach, allying with the KConnect “collective impact” organization to populate a public dashboard with shared metrics that agencies and nonprofits can use to focus and align efforts and policy advocacy.

CSR is under contract to ACSET, a major ENTF member agency, to assist ENTF workgroups in developing metrics and gathering data for use on an ENTF dashboard and in guiding future programs. We are committed to playing an evenhanded, trustworthy, honest-broker role, and we firmly believe that quality data and disciplined discussion can produce consensus.

Posted by Allison Rudi on Friday, August 05, 2016 at 02:53 PM
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Calvin Alum and CSR Graduate Jeff Schiman to Speak at Calvin College


CSR is looking forward to co-sponsoring a talk by Calvin College grad Jeff Schiman on Thursday, October 22. Jeff, who left Calvin in 2009 with a B.A. in Economics, is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Economics at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

After graduation, Jeff worked for a year at CSR as a staff Research Specialist. Jeff’s skill with econometrics served the Christian Reformed Church and Calvin’s Development office, among other clients.

Jeff will present his research: “The Signal Value of Merit Awards” In his work, a cutting-edge regression discontinuity design provides evidence of the unintended consequences of performance awards to Chicago school principals.

Co-sponsored by the departments of Economics, Education, Mathematics and Statistics, and the Center for Social Research.

Posted by Kathryn A. Bardolph on Friday, October 16, 2015 at 10:58 AM
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CSR discusses Deliberative Polling with “Stateside” on Michigan Radio


On September 17, CSR’s Neil Carlson and Allison Rudi were interviewed by Michigan Radio’s Cynthia Canty about the Kent County Deliberative Poll.

The brief article and interview audio are published in the Next Idea series on promising ideas for the future of Michigan.

Research assistants John Gordon and Jack Van Allsburg are due special thanks and credit for their able, committed support of the project. John connected us with the Next Idea team and has been plowing through acres of research documents, while Jack has been a tireless, skilled writer, editor, and graphic designer for the project; the 6-step illustration of Deliberative Polling included in the article is Jack’s handiwork.

Posted by Neil Carlson on Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 08:51 AM
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Research Assistant Experiences: Carolyn Vos

Research Assistant from Feb 2014 - July 2015
Degree: BA Psychology, Linguistics (May 2015)
Current Location: DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
Program: MA Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse

We just finished a weekly summer tradition of Music Friday, where each person in the office submits two songs for a playlist that we play on Friday afternoons. Not only did this tradition help us survive the last few hours of the day, but it gave us a chance to get know each other a little better. I have loved my work, but I’ve also been extremely blessed by our moments of play in the office. When I was thinking about how I would write this reflection of sorts, I realized that I wanted to frame it differently than those in the past, and take advantage of my English degree.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have an odd relationship with water. I am entirely fascinated by the distinctive and divine properties that God gave to water. He created something that is less dense in its solid form than in its liquid form. But what is common sense to us is actually a remarkable chemical property: no other molecule behaves in this way. Every other molecule sinks in its solid form; ice floats. This means that we have access to ice rinks, ice fishing, and fresh water in the winter. Its uniqueness is enough for me to adore water.

However, I also love to watch nature documentaries. Have you ever seen Blue Planet? Or Planet Earth? Their specials on oceans will be enough for you to never want to go in the water again. The number of things that can kill you in the ocean is terrifying. Yet I identify with this dissonance. I am simultaneously enamored and terrified of water. When I think about framing my experience at the CSR, I am drawn to liken my time to that of being in water.


Posted by Kathryn A. Bardolph on Wednesday, August 05, 2015 at 04:03 PM
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My - People Come and Go Around Here So Quickly!

It’s already time to bid a fond farewell to the students and staff of CSR. We wish you well as you take on new endeavors, and we will miss you.

Departing Staff:

Greg Kim: After working at CSR as both a research assistant and a Research Specialist, Greg returns to South Korea, where he will serve in the Korean Military for the next few years.

Owen Selles: One of our Research Specialists, Owen, begins his departure from CSR with a month-long trip to Turkey. After that, he’ll begin studying Landscape Architecture and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Our Stellar Students:

Michael Bloom (B.A., Economics)
Alden Hartopo (B.A., Economics and International Relations)
Steven Lewis (B.A., Psychology)
Tavi Stewart (B.A., Sociology)
Josh Vander Leest (B.A., Psychology)
Cari Vos (B.A., Linguistics and Psychology)

Thanks for all you contributed to CSR!

Posted by Kathryn A. Bardolph on Friday, June 26, 2015 at 02:06 PM
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