Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Axinn appointed director of ISR Survey Research Center

Sociologist William Axinn will serve as director of the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research (ISR), Director James S. Jackson announced Friday.

Axinn, whose research interests include demography, social change and intergenerational family relationships in the United States and South Asia, brings a strong background in research methods and administration to the position.

“I am delighted that Bill Axinn has agreed to fill this important position,” Jackson says. “The center and the entire institute will benefit immensely from the unique blend of energy, scholarship and deep commitment to the collection of original social science data that Bill brings to this position.

“I also want to express my gratitude to Jim House, who served as interim SRC director while we searched for a permanent replacement for Bob Groves, who left this spring to become director of the U.S. Bureau of the Census.”

Axinn will begin his five-year term Sept. 2.

“It is a privilege to have the opportunity to serve this group of the nation’s leading social scientists, and to support SRC's data collection infrastructure which is a core dimension of the country's social science research capacity,” Axinn says. “Our mission is to continue to enhance data collection methods, to improve data collection efficiency and quality, to expand the measures available across numerous substantive domains, to strengthen education in research methodology and to increase the international reach of the social sciences as we work toward advancing social science in the public interest.”

Axinn, 45, received a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Cornell University in 1986, then went on to obtain an Master of Arts and a doctorate in that discipline from U-M in 1988 and 1990, respectively. He joined the University of Chicago as an assistant professor of sociology and a research associate at the National Opinion Research Center. In 1994 he joined The Pennsylvania State University as an associate professor of sociology, and also served as a senior research associate at Penn State’s Population Research Institute. In 1997 he attained the rank of full professor of sociology, and the next year moved to Michigan. Here he joined the Department of Sociology, the Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, and the ISR Population Studies Center and Survey Research Center. He served as associate director of the Population Studies Center from 2003-07.

In 1995 Axinn became director of the Population and Ecology Research Laboratory in Nepal, a position he continues. Earlier this year, he became associate director of the ISR Survey Research Center and served as the faculty leader in developing a mixed mode sample management system.

The author of numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters, Axinn is the co-author of three books: “International Family Change: Ideational Perspectives,” with Rukmalie Jayakody and Arland Thornton; “Marriage and Cohabitation,” with Thornton and Yu Xie; and “Mixed Method Data Collection Strategies” with Lisa Pearce.

He is a member of the Population Association of America, the American Sociological Association and the National Counsel on Family Relations, which presented him with the Reuben Hill Award in 2002. His book “Marriage and Cohabitation” with Thornton and Xie won the 2008 Outstanding Publication Award from the ASA Section on Aging and the Life Course.

In addition to his scholarly pursuits and extensive administrative service, Axinn continues the ISR tradition of combining leadership with an active research agenda. He has served as deputy director of the current cycle of the National Survey of Family Growth, funded by the National Center for Health Statistics. He is the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on several major on-going research grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

His professional involvement includes serving as a member and chair of various committees and panels at the National Institutes of Health, the Population Association of America, the American Sociological Association, the National Council on Family Relations and the Social Science Research Council, in addition to serving as an editor and reviewer at numerous professional journals.