La Follette School Professor Pam Herd was elected chair of the Board of Overseers for the General Social Survey (GSS), effective spring 2017.
The GSS is the only full-probability, personal-interview survey designed to monitor changes in social characteristics and attitudes being conducted in the United States. The Board provides guidance to the GSS principal investigators, forms linkages to the various research communities, spearheads the development of topical modules, approves the content of each survey, and evaluates the project.
Herd, who joined the University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty in 2005, is a professor public affairs and sociology and the principal investigator of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. She recently was named director of the UW’s Center for Demography of Health and Aging.
Herd’s research broadly focuses on aging, policy, health, and inequality. She has two streams of research: how social policies affect gender, race, and class inequality; and the relationship between social factors and health.
The GSS gathers data on contemporary American society in order to monitor and explain trends and constants in attitudes, behaviors, and attributes. It contains a standard core of demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal questions, plus topics of special interest. Findings from the GSS appear almost daily in major media outlets such as The New York Times and CNN.
Conducted regularly since 1972, the GSS provides scholars, students, policymakers, and others with high-quality data on issues such as national spending priorities, crime and punishment, intergroup relations, and confidence in institutions. It is a project of NORC at the University of Chicago, with principal funding from the National Science Foundation.