The Gerontology Institute at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies continues to grow with the establishment of the Center for Social and Demographic Research. The center’s goal is to formalize and promote an expanded demographic and applied research capacity within the institute. The institute has historically engaged in applied and demographic research on a contract basis for outside clients. It has also engaged in a limited amount of applied and demographic research on a no-cost basis, as part of its service and public education mission. With Professor Jan Mutchler at the helm, the new center will be active in developing funded projects, in responding to external and internal inquiries, and in promoting demographic and applied research capabilities consistent with the Gerontology Institute’s goals.
The center will conduct funded and unfunded applied and demographic research on topics consistent with its mission and the expertise of its staff. The core activities include:
Initiating and conducting externally funded research projects, independently or in partnership with other units
- producing updates to the Elder Economic Security Standard Index
- conducting community needs assessments
Establishing a scope of expertise to be provided on a cost recovery basis to other researchers and units on campus
- GIS mapping
- data management
- surveys and focus groups
- data analysis
Establishing a set of products to be generated on a routine basis and disseminated widely in electronic and, selectively, in printed form. Many of these products will focus primarily on the New England states.
- fact sheets on demographic topics
- short reports on demographic trends
- brief analyses on points of intersection between demographic and policy issues
- news reports on relevant topics for media distribution (Facts for Features model)
Providing limited-scope analyses and information to the community and the media
- responding to media requests for demographic updates
- providing limited demographic information to nonprofits, communities, and others upon request
Professor of Gerontology Jan Mutchler will direct the new center. Over the past decade, she has initiated and participated in a number of applied demographic and social research projects. These activities have included externally funded projects, with the most recent examples being the Elder Economic Security Standard Index project, funded by Atlantic Philanthropies through a subcontract with Wider Opportunities for Women, and several community needs assessments, funded by the community and conducted in collaboration with the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management. Mutchler has also produced a series of demographic reports on the aging population of Massachusetts.
A full-time researcher is being hired to assist with the work of the center and a number of graduate students will participate in its research activities. The formation of the center and consolidation of the demographic research is expected to expand our capacity to conduct research, assist other units, and respond to the demand in the community and the press to understand the aging trends that will affect policy and services.