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Last modified: Monday, September 19, 2011

IU Center for Survey Research has new leader after 24 years

Sept. 19, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. Ashley Bowers, the new director for Indiana University's Center for Survey Research, assumed leadership of the center on Aug. 15. Bowers is former director of the Statistics and Methodology unit for the University of Michigan's Survey Research Operations.

John M. Kennedy, director of the CSR for the past 24 years, has stepped into the role of senior research director at the center. Kennedy and Bowers will work side by side throughout the fall 2011 semester as the center transitions to new leadership.

Located on the IU Bloomington campus, the CSR is a research services facility supported in part by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research. The center serves IU Bloomington and IU regional campuses. Kennedy, who became director in 1987, oversaw significant development at the center. Today, the CSR is a technologically sophisticated operation, using the same computer-assisted interviewing software employed by survey centers such as the Census Bureau.

"We are pleased to welcome Ashley Bowers as the new CSR director," said Sarita Soni, vice provost for research at IU Bloomington, "and we are grateful to John for the dedication he has exhibited over the many years that he has led the center. I am delighted that John has agreed to continue to share his expertise, working with Ashley and the center's staff to build even more robust research services to support our faculty, centers, academic units and administration."

In addition to supporting IU faculty and administrators, the center provides survey services to government agencies, media, and nonprofit organizations. Each year, the CSR conducts 25 to 40 research projects that include telephone, mail and Web surveys.

Among the surveys it carries out is the widely cited National Survey of Students Engagement (NSSE), an Internet and postal survey of college and university undergraduates at more than 750 U.S. and Canadian schools. NSSE, which began in 1999, now covers a sample of more than 2 million students. The CSR also carries out the Law School Survey of Student Engagement, in which more than 80 law schools participate.

Both the NSSE and the LSSE are affiliated with the Center for Postsecondary Research at the IU School of Education in Bloomington. George Kuh, Chancellor's Professor Emeritus of higher education at IU Bloomington and founding director of the NSSE, calls John Kennedy "simply the best in the survey research business."

"Kennedy and his staff were critical to the successful design and launch of the National Survey of Student Engagement, which has become the premier ongoing data collection effort focused on the quality of the undergraduate experience in North America," Kuh said. "His innovations abound, including the development of a Web-based survey administration platform that accommodates annually more than a million students across hundreds of institutions. Kennedy's generous, willing spirit and unmatched expertise have advanced our understanding of how data can be used to improve student learning and institutional effectiveness."

In addition to her duties as the CSR's new director, Bowers will be a clinical assistant professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Bloomington. Her areas of expertise include survey methodology, human resource management, and positive organizational scholarship.

"Under John Kennedy's guidance, the staff of the Center for Survey Research at IU have developed a very powerful research services operation," said Bowers. "I'm very excited about the opportunity to join this organization and help lead it forward."

For more information on the center, see

About the Office of the Vice Provost for Research

The Office of the Vice Provost for Research at IU Bloomington is dedicated to supporting ongoing faculty research and creative activity by providing funding, infrastructure and other resources to enhance opportunities for additional federal, state, and private research funding.