Academic Programs Catalog

College of Social Science

Institute for Public Policy and Social Research

Matthew Grossmann, Director

The Institute for Public Policy and Social Research is a university–wide research institute located within the College of Social Science. The institute provides research and technical assistance programs aimed at state, regional, and local levels of government, and research on national and international comparative issues. Institute personnel have economic, tax policy and analysis, public policy analysis and evaluation, computer programming, data management, statistical, survey analysis, and methodological expertise. The Institute includes the following units:

Michigan Political Leadership Program. This scholarship-funded certificate program is designed for those seeking greater involvement in the public policy process, particularly while serving in public office. Every year, 24 successful applicants participate in a curriculum that provides a solid foundation in practical politics, public policy analysis and process, personal leadership development, and effective governance. The 10-month program is co-directed by two people, one Republican and one Democrat experienced in public leadership and governance.

Legislative Leadership Program. Sponsored with Michigan State University Extension and MSU's Office of Governmental Affairs, this program links scholars, legislators, and practitioners in a discussion of public policy issues and the policy making process. The program kicks off every two years shortly after state elections. It invites newly elected state legislators for a multi-day session on current public policy issues.

Student Fellows.  Competitively selected graduate and undergraduate students are engaged in work to enrich and expand leadership, policy and research.  Their engagement focuses on compiling, analyzing and publishing research and writing for academic and public audiences.

Public Policy Forums. The institute organizes and carries out regular forums on topics of timely interest for legislators and other governmental decision–makers. They have focused on such issues as energy, education, tax policy, and the state of the nation’s infrastructure and economic development.

Office for Survey Research. The institute specializes in telephone interviews, web-based surveys, and mailed questionnaires in support of both of applied and basic research. It also provides consultation in sampling design,question sequencing, statistical analysis, and other technical aspects of survey research. Projects span needs assessments, epidemiological studies, opinion surveys, client feedback surveys, cognitive interview testing, social or economic impact studies,  various aspects of focus group design and operation, and political polls. The Office for Survey Research maintains and operates a state-of-the-art research lab.

State of the State Survey. This telephone survey of approximately 1,000 adult residents of Michigan is the only survey conducted to systematically monitor the public mood on important issues in major regions of the state. The quarterly survey runs about 20 minutes in length, and a portion of that time is devoted to questions monitoring the public’s satisfaction with public leaders and existing economic conditions. Results are published online. MSU faculty, administrators, profit and nonprofit organizations are consistent sponsors of SOSS questions, research contributors and collaborators.