New Social Research Center Aims to Strengthen Columbus State’s Ties to Community

COLUMBUS, Ga .— Columbus State University expects to offer better quality, lower cost research and data services to local governmental and non-profit agencies through its new Social Research Center.

“We already have extremely qualified faculty in place who are eager to develop partnerships that will benefit community organizations and ultimately benefit our service region,” said Greg Domin, chair of CSU’s Department of Political Science, which will house the new center.

Among the services to be offered by faculty from throughout Columbus State are:

  • Statistical consulting
  • Geographic information services (including mapping and planning)
  • Program evaluation
  • Survey research
  • Focus groups
Domin said the center will offer services that are vastly less expensive than agencies developing similar capabilities and at a fraction of the cost of hiring consulting firms.

Kyle Christensen, assistant professor of political science, will be the center’s initial director, offering office and laboratory space to assist faculty research efforts from its Arnold Hall 210 home on main campus. The center will encourage networking among faculty to develop interdisciplinary research groups and work with community partners.

“The Social Research Center exists to provide reasonably priced research services to community partners through a program fostering faculty research agendas and undergraduate research throughout the campuses of Columbus State University,” Christensen said.

Columbus State students will benefit from more opportunities to master a wide range of research techniques across represented disciplines.  Students will get hands-on experience working directly with faculty research projects and collaborating with faculty on services for community partners. Long-range plans include a certificate program for students and research fellowships

Provost Inessa Levi proposed the center a year ago as another means to address parts of the university’s strategic plan that encompass partnering with the community, boosting external funding and offering the best undergraduate and graduate education to meet student and community needs.

“Engaged scholars serve as the backbone of the university,” Levi said. “The Social Research Center will greatly augment our faculty’s research efforts, keeping students on the cutting edge of the disciplines.  The center complements CSU’s efforts to continue to build strong ties with our surrounding community.”

Beyond communicating a vision for the center, Levi was also able to allocate space and financial support to get it off the ground, Domin said

“With the encouragement of the provost and President (Tim) Mescon, the Social Research Center will help solidify Columbus State University’s reputation as a leader in experiential learning, civic engagement, and servant leadership,” Domin said.

For more information on the Social Research Center, contact Christensen at 706-562-1483 or christensen_kyle@ColumbusState.edu.