photo services
news staff
Marketing & Design
Tips for faculty
Social Networks
PHONE: (734)764-7260
FAX: (734) 764-7084

February 3, 2005


James S. Jackson to direct U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR)

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—James S. Jackson has been named director of the Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of Michigan, effective July 1, 2005. The appointment was announced Feb. 3 by U-M Provost Paul N. Courant.

"James Jackson is a distinguished scholar and academic leader. He is an articulate national and international spokesperson, researcher and scholar, and he has great experience as a University administrator. Professor Jackson is eminently qualified to lead the Institute for Social Research, which is a central element of the University of Michigan’s international leadership in the social sciences and one of the largest and oldest social research and academic survey organizations in the world. I am grateful to Professor Jackson for his willingness to assume this new role," said Courant.

A social psychologist, Jackson is the Daniel Katz Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and directs the ISR Research Center for Group Dynamics and the Program for Research on Black Americans, which he helped to establish in 1976 at the ISR. In addition, Jackson is a professor of health behavior and health education at the U-M School of Public Health and directs the U-M Center for Afroamerican and African Studies.

"I look forward to the opportunities and challenges in leading a world class institution, a distinguished group of social scientists, and an outstanding professional support staff. I feel fortunate to follow in the footsteps of so many illustrious social scientists that have preceded me, and I am especially grateful for the foundation provided me by David Featherman’s commitment and excellent stewardship over the last ten years."

A prolific and respected scholar, Jackson has published numerous books, chapters and scientific articles on international, comparative studies of immigration, race and ethnic relations, physical and mental health, adult development and aging, attitudes and attitude change, and African American politics.

In 1980, he directed the National Survey of Black Americans, the first survey of a nationally representative sample of Black Americans. Designed to elucidate the heterogeneity and strengths of the U.S. Black population, rather than to compare Black Americans as a group with whites and interpret any differences as deficits, the study broke new ground in the social sciences. Conducting the survey required Jackson and colleagues to develop new sampling methods, as well. Locating Blacks in the rural South and urban areas was simple, but a sample that was truly nationally representative needed to include Blacks in mainly white, sparsely populated areas of the country, such as Montana and Wyoming. Knocking on doors would have taken too long and cost too much money. The solution Jackson hit upon was simply to ask whites in the area, who knew exactly where the Black families lived. Jackson named the procedure the Wide Area Sampling Procedure—WASP.

The principal investigator of over two dozen grants funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, Jackson currently directs the most extensive social, political, behavioral and health surveys on the American and Caribbean populations ever conducted. Two of these surveys—the National Survey of American Life and the Family Survey Across Generations and Nations—are funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. A third —the National Study of Ethnic Pluralism and Politics—is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Jackson is also co-principal investigator with Wayne State University professor Peter Lichtenberg of the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research, funded by the National Institute on Aging. The Center works to improve the health of older adults living in the Metropolitan Detroit area and to mentor new researchers interested in minority aging.

Jackson received a B.S. degree in psychology from Michigan State University in 1966, an M.A. in psychology from the University of Toledo in 1970, and a Ph.D. in social psychology from Wayne State University in 1972. A native of Inkster Michigan, Jackson worked in the Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge plant while he was putting himself through school. Jackson is married to Toni Antonucci a developmental psychologist in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Life-Course Development Program at ISR. They have two children, Ariana 23 and Kendra 20 .

In 2002, Jackson was elected a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science. Jackson is immediate past-Chair of the Section on Social, Economic, and Political Sciences (K) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a former Chair of the Section on Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the Task Force on Minority Issues of the Gerontological Society of America, Committee on International Relations, and Association for the Advancement of Psychology, American Psychological Association. He was a recipient of a Fogarty Senior Postdoctoral International Fellowship, 1993-94, for study in France and Western Europe. He is former National President of the Black Students Psychological Association and the Association of Black Psychologists.

"I am very pleased that James will guide the Institute through what could be a challenging period for the Institute's scientific leadership because of tighter federal funding. He will be a strong advocate for the importance of social science in national conversations about important policies like Social Security and Medicare," said David L. Featherman, ISR Director since 1995. "ISR's research faculty has many nationally prominent leaders in social science, and James stands out among them. His appointment as director acknowledges decades of scientific contributions toward understanding the health and family lives of black Americans and his long-standing service to ISR, the University community, and national efforts to address racial health disparities."

Established in 1948, the Institute for Social Research (ISR) is among the world's oldest and largest academic social science research organizations, and a world leader in the development and application of social science methodologies. A leading source of non-partisan, research-based facts and statistics, the ISR pioneered the methods of scientific sampling and interviewing that remain the "gold standard" used by government statisticians and the private polling and market research industries. ISR conducts some of the most widely-cited studies in the nation, including the Survey of Consumer Attitudes, the National Election Studies, the Monitoring the Future Study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the Health and Retirement Study, the Columbia County Longitudinal Study and the National Survey of Black Americans. ISR researchers also collaborate with social scientists in more than 60 nations on the World Values Surveys and other projects, and the Institute has established formal ties with universities in Poland, China, Brazil, and South Africa. ISR is also home to the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the world’s largest computerized social science data archive. Visit the ISR Web site at for more information.


Contact: Diane Swanbrow
Phone: (734) 647-9069