ssri A university committee is seeking comments as part of a regular performance review of the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) director Thomas J. Nechyba. Regular reviews of Institute Directors are conducted in the fourth or fifth year of their-five year term by a committee formed by the Executive Committee of the Academic Council, in consultation with the provost. Such a committee has been appointed to review Nechyba, who has served in his post since 2012.

Erik Wibbels, Robert O. Keohane Professor of Political Science, will serve as committee chair. Other committee members include: Gary G. Bennett (Bishop-MacDermott Family Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience and Dir, Global Digital Health Science Center), Rachel Kranton (James B. Duke Professor of Economics), Martin Ruef (Jack and Pamela Egan Professor of Entrepreneurship and Sociology Chair) and Philip J. Stern (Sally Dalton Robinson Associate Professor of History).

An important part of the review process is the solicitation and consideration of comments from the university’s many constituencies. Comments on performance and suggestions for the future are important to the committee’s work.

The charge to the committee poses several questions for the review, including Tom Nechyba’s effectiveness in the following areas:

  • Ability to provide intellectual and organizational leadership for an institute intended to catalyze pioneering social science research and methods and support their broad application;
  • Effectiveness in providing a clear strategic direction for SSRI;
  • Ability to develop and foster successful interdisciplinary collaborations with faculty and leadership from departments, schools and other units across campus, in the three areas of education, research and engagement;
  • Specifically, effectiveness in collaborating and coordinating with leadership in the social and behavioral science departments as well as the humanities and natural science departments in A&S, the Sanford School of Public Policy, and other units that are engaged in or utilize social science research methods;
  • Effectiveness in developing services, such as grant support, workshops and the like, that are useful to faculty in the social sciences;
  • Effectiveness in engaging faculty from multiple schools and departments in the work of SSRI (the committee is interested in learning why some faculty do engage with SSRI while others do not);
  • Effectiveness in mentoring faculty leaders and pivotal senior and research staff who are responsible for directing key and emerging initiatives in SSRI;
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, inclusion and excellence through leadership in hiring practices, faculty engagement, the forging of strategic priorities, and the mentoring of staff members;
  • Administrative competencies regarding effective management of the budget and SSRI staff;
  • Effectiveness in engaging students—both undergraduate and graduate students—in SSRI activities and programs;
  • Overall effectiveness as the leader of a nimble, diverse organization.

The committee invites you to share your thoughts by email or letter. Communication should include the nature of your interactions with Director Nechyba so that the committee can understand the context of the comments as fully as possible. The committee will discuss responses, and a summary will be included in the written report to the provost.

The committee would appreciate receiving comments by December 21.

Ways to respond:

  • Contact Mindy Miller to arrange for an appointment with someone on the Committee (919-668-1460).

Information collected will be compiled in a report, without attribution, which will be submitted to the Provost and the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies at the conclusion of the review. Responses will be kept confidential. While a list of those from whom feedback is received will be part of the record, it will be in an appendix of the report which will not be shared. No comments or observations will be attributed to any individual in any report of the committee.