In 1998, a collaborative effort in the Dean's office of the College of Arts and Letters at Old Dominion University formed the initial structure of the Social Science Research Center after much deliberation and careful study of existent research centers around the nation. Their goal was to create a center devoted to acquiring, analyzing, and reporting information on behavior, attitudes, and social trends.
The current director, Dr. Tancy Vandecar-Burdin has been with the Center since its inception in 1998. She started as the associate director until taking over as director in 2019. Dr. Vandecar-Burdin has over 20 years of experience with various forms of research methods and data collection including mail surveys and web-based survey, telephone surveys, household interviews, and focus groups. Dr. Vandecar-Burdin enjoys working with faculty, area businesses, and health and human service providers to determine their research and data collection needs, developing survey instruments, and developing evaluations of programs. Her research interests include issues related to the elderly and nursing home quality, changes in research methods, and issues surrounding the criminal justice system. Dr. Vandecar-Burdin earned her Master of Arts in Applied Sociology with a certificate in Criminal Justice from Old Dominion University as well as a PhD in Public Administration and Urban Policy. She also currently serves as the ODU Institutional Review Board (IRB) chair.
Ms. Wendi Wilson-John is the senior project coordinator and has been with the Center since 2001. Ms. Wilson-John provides project coordination for the various local, state and federal projects managed by the SSRC. Responsibilities include a variety of research and analysis tasks, developing scannable survey forms using Teleform software, scanning completed surveys as well as the development and programing of web surveys for various research partners, moderating focus groups, analyzing and reporting, data, and providing transcription services for focus groups and in-depth interviews. Ms. Wilson-John received a Master of Arts (MA) in Experimental Psychology from Towson University.
Mr. Stephen Parker is the senior research assistant and has been with the Center since 2012. Mr. Parker is responsible for hiring and training new employees for telephone and mail survey research projects. He also provides training and education in survey protocol, telephone etiquette, confidentiality, and proper data collection. He is experienced and proficient with programming surveys via the Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewer (CATI) system. He also provides data analysis and report writing services. Mr. Parker received a Master of Arts (MA) in Applied Sociology from Old Dominion University.