A New Place to Collaborate

By Mona Malacane

On October 7, the brand new Social Science Research Commons (SSRC) was unveiled in Woodburn Hall. What used to be a library now serves as a tech-fancy multi-purpose hall. Created by the College of Arts and Sciences, Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Office of the Provost, and Office of the Vice President for Information Technology, the SSRC seeks to enhance collaboration among the departments on campus which conduct social science research. It boasts a main, grand room, IELab (Interdisciplinary Experimental Laboratory), a conference room, administrative staff, and two support units (explained below).

The Grand Hall, photo courtesy of the official website.

The Grand Hall, photo courtesy of the official website.

David Waterman is a member of the advisory committee for the SSRC. Working with the Interim Director, Jimmy Walker, David and others helped design and develop the space by giving “advice about the way the facilities should be laid out and the types of services that could be provided for the research center.” David provided personal input and also consulted with other social scientists for their thoughts on what would make the space as functional and useful as possible.

The product of David and the rest of the committee’s hard work is pretty impressive. The grand room has vaulted ceilings, large windows for natural light, tons of technology, and can be reserved for seminars or other presentations. The IELab is spacious with two computer labs and a conference room, which can be reserved for experiments. If you’re looking for a change of scenery, there is another conference room that can be reserved for meetings and defenses.

There are two other units in the SSRC that provide services to anyone who needs consultation: Research Analytics Group and the Indiana Statistical Consulting Center. On the left side of the grand hall is Research Analytics, formerly the Math/Stat Lab.  David says this unit is responsible for “[coordinating the] provision of software to the university and the campus, and they offer consulting services about using the software.” On the right side is the Indiana Statistical Consulting Center (ISCC), a unit of the  Department of Statistics. ISCC offers a variety of supportive services, including research design, interpretation of results, and statistical consulting. These services are available to anyone, faculty and graduate students, who makes an appointment.ssrc8

According to David, the SSRC seeks to “encourage submissions of proposals for external funding” by offering small grants and grant writing support via the Office of the Vice Provost for Research  (OVPR). Although the OVPR doesn’t currently have a direct representation in the SSRC like the Department of Statistics, David says that this may change in the future.

Open seminar space with audio visual equipment.

Open seminar space with audio visual equipment.

Throughout my conversation with David, I noticed an implicit theme: collaboration. The foremost goal of the SSRC is to facilitate collaboration among social science researchers on campus by providing an excellent space for us to come together. With our merger on the horizon but Franklin Hall renovations needing time, we should take advantage of the SSRC with our soon-to-be new colleagues in Journalism and Communication and Culture.

The excitement of collabortion

The product of collaboration!

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