Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Survey expert Groves to be tapped as Census director

U-M survey expert Robert M. Groves, who directs the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research (ISR), will be nominated by President Barack Obama to be the next director of the U.S. Census Bureau, the White House announced Thursday.

“The intended nomination is an honor to the university and to ISR,” says ISR Director James S. Jackson.

Groves is an excellent choice for this important job, Jackson says, and he will be sorely missed at ISR if confirmed for the job at Census. An internationally recognized expert in the scientific conduct of surveys, Groves has directed the ISR Survey Research Center since 2001. He also is a professor of sociology in LSA.

The author, co-author or editor of several classic books on survey methods, Groves served as an associate director at the Census Bureau from 1990-92. In 2001 he received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

His educational and professional background is also right for the job, Jackson further explained, Groves received an bachelor’s degree in sociology from Dartmouth College in 1970, master’s degrees in statistics and sociology from U-M in 1973 and a doctorate in sociology from U-M in 1975.

He joined the U-M Department of Sociology as a lecturer in 1975, attaining the rank of assistant professor in 1977, associate professor in 1983 and full professor in 1990. From 1990-92, he served as associate director of statistical design, standards, and methodology at the U.S. Census Bureau, on loan from Michigan.

Groves is an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association, an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, and past president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, Groves currently serves on the National Research Council's Committee on National Statistics, the Federal Economic Statistics Advisory Committee, and the National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate.

He has consulted on survey designs for a wide range of public and private organizations, from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Social Security Administration, to A.C. Nielsen and Co., the Gallup Organization, the American Lung Association, Cornell University, and Statistics Sweden.