Boston College Fact Book 1996 - 1997

Research Institutes and Centers

The Center for Corporate Community Relations

Established in 1985, the Center for Corporate Community Relations is a leading policy center for corporate citizenship. Its mission is to provide a forum through which corporations can commit to and learn about the best practices related to corporate social responsibility. A major objective of the Center is to promote Boston College as the world-wide center for the teaching and study of corporate citizenship.

The Center is a nonprofit membership association. More than 2,000 corporate executives, including CEOs, general managers, and community relations managers, have turned to the center to learn how to make their community involvement strategies more efficient. Corporate members of the Center include nearly 300 corporations representing every major trade group from companies in the U.S., Europe, Canada, and Latin America. The Center is governed by an International Advisory Board composed of CEOs, corporate community relations executives, faculty of Boston College, and public policy executives from around the world.

The Center serves (1) corporations, by helping them pursue the goals of corporate citizenship; (2) individual community relations practitioners, by providing professional development opportunities, information resources, and networking opportunities; (3) other corporate executives, by helping them meet their expanding community relations responsibilities; and (4) the entire community relations profession, by acting as an advocate of excellence in community relations.

The Center's activities are focused in four primary goal areas: professional development; research; consultation and custom research; and information resources.

The Jesuit Institute

The Jesuit Institute is a research institute whose purpose is to foster the Catholic, Jesuit character of Boston College precisely as a university. It does this by supporting the efforts of the university community to explore issues that are central to the character of the University, i.e., that emerge when religious faith, especially that of Catholic Christianity, intersects culture. It works in cooperation with existing schools, programs, and faculty, primarily but not exclusively at Boston College. The institute offers interdisciplinary faculty seminars as well as year-long visiting fellowships to distinguished research scholars. It sponsors visiting lecturers nominated by University departments and visiting scholars who conduct retreats for the faculty of individual departments. By special grants the Institute supports academic projects that engage its mandate.

The Social Welfare Research Institute

The Social Welfare Research Institute (SWRI) is a multidisciplinary research center founded at Boston College in 1970. Its staff specializes in research on the spiritual dimensions of everyday life, especially in regard to economic relations. The research agenda of the Institute currently includes:

The Institute for Scientific Research

Formed in 1954, the Institute for Scientific Research (ISR) is the largest sponsored research center at Boston College. With annual funding peaking at $4.5 million in 1992, the ISR team has aided the Department of Defense and NASA by developing data support systems for numerous space missions, as well as conducting theoretical research in space studies sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

ISR's professional staff hold advanced degrees in geophysics, mathematics, applied mathematics, physics, engineering, and applied statistics, and the ISR has utilized this diversity of knowledge to develop highly sophisticated techniques for analyzing raw scientific and engineering data and presenting it in useful ways. The Institute is a forerunner in scientific data analysis and interpretation using statistical data analysis; digital signal and image processing; mathematical signal modeling; animated visualization of real and simulated data; the manipulation and interpretation of scientific images; and the design of specialized databases.

ISR employs the most sophisticated solution approaches - fractal geometry, chaos theory, wavelet analysis, and neural networks. The ISR has the skills and resources to answer research needs within the realm of earth and space sciences, environmental studies, biomedical studies, and financial and economic analyses.

The Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation, and Educational Policy

The Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation, and Educational Policy (CSTEEP) at Boston College was established in 1980 to meet the measurement, research, and evaluation needs of local educational agencies as well as those of government agencies, private foundations, and private corporations. The aim of the Center is to advance the study of educational testing, evaluation, and policy so as to improve both the quality and fairness of education. CSTEEP is the International Study Center of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), the largest study of comparative educational achievement ever undertaken. Other CSTEEP projects include the Ford Project which examines proposals to create and implement a national testing system in the United States, the CoNECT Project to develop a model of school accountability, and the Clark Project to help the districts improve their annual reporting of progress toward high academic achievement for all middle school students. In addition, CSTEEP housed the National Commission on Testing and Public Policy (NCTPP). Boston College and its School of Education have made a strong commitment to CSTEEP both by housing it on the B.C. campus and by providing it with a substantial budget for proposal development and related costs. CSTEEP provides a variety of testing, consulting, optical scanning, and data analysis services to Boston College faculty and staff. Additionally, the Center regularly administers various national admissions tests.

Weston Observatory

Boston College's Weston Observatory, a research institute of the Department of Geology and Geophysics, was founded in 1928 by the Society of Jesus. Two years later its first seismograph began recording earthquakes, beginning a tradition of geophysical research that has ranked Weston Observatory as a nationally renowned research institution.

Today the Observatory's faculty and staff of geologists and geophysicists engage in many varied state-of-the-art research projects in geophysics, geology, geotechnical engineering, and geographic information systems. Graduate students conduct scientific research as a part of a Master's in Science (M.S.) degree. Weston Observatory operates a seismic network with 15 stations located around the New England region. In addition to research on naturally occurring seismic events, the Observatory also participates in research aimed at monitoring nuclear test ban treaties.

Source: Individual Institute and Center directors

Date Posted: April 16, 1997
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