Robert Oldendick, Executive Director of the University of South Carolina’s Institute for Public Service and Policy Research and Professor in USC’s Department of Government and International Studies, has been named the 2015 recipient of the John M. Kennedy Achievement Award given by the Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations (AASRO) for his service and leadership in academic survey research.
Oldendick founded the University of South Carolina’s Survey Research Laboratory in 1989 and has directed it for the past 25 years. “Bob is always teaching, whether you know it or not,” said Dr. Dennis Lambries, a longtime colleague of Oldendick’s at the University of South Carolina. “Rather than giving you the answer, he asks questions that help you answer your own questions – always with the goal of improving your understanding of the complexities of survey research. He never makes you feel as though you are imposing on him. No matter how busy he is, no matter how focused on meeting his own deadlines, he always finds time for you. This is true not only of staff, but also students and others seeking his guidance.”
A founding member of AASRO, Oldendick has been involved since its first meeting, serving on the Executive Committee, the Program Committee and the Education and Advocacy Committee. He hosted the 2009 annual meeting and served as program chair for that conference. ”Bob Oldendick exemplifies the spirit of AASRO,” said former AASRO president Tom Guterbock. “From the beginning, Bob has always been willing to share solutions with other survey directors, drawing with wit and wisdom from his extensive research and management experience.”
In addition to his contributions to AASRO, Oldendick has been instrumental in training of the next generation of public opinion researchers. His book, Public Opinion: Measuring the American Mind, with co-author Barbara Bardes, is in its fourth edition and has introduced countless college students to the study of public opinion. “Bardes and Oldendick is one of the most accessible introductions to understanding public opinion and Oldendick’s commitment to education and mentoring of students is well known” said Andrew Smith, Director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.
Oldendick was also a pioneer in his early research on the impact of cellular telephones on survey research. The rise of cell phones has substantially changed many aspects of survey research.