Message from Director

Despina Stavrinos

Embracing the Future: A Message from Dr. Despina Stavrinos, Director of the Institute for Social Science Research

Dear colleagues, students, and friends,

I am delighted to address you as the new Director of the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) at the University of Alabama. As I step into this esteemed role, I extend my deepest gratitude to my predecessor, Dr. Debra McCallum, for her invaluable contributions and unwavering dedication to advancing social science research. I am truly honored to follow in her footsteps.

July 1, 2023, marks the beginning of an exciting chapter for ISSR, as we set our sights on a future filled with innovation, collaboration, and impactful research. Today, I would like to share with you my vision for ISSR and the path we will take together.

At its core, ISSR is a hub of knowledge creation and dissemination, fostering interdisciplinary research that addresses the complex challenges facing our society. Building upon this strong foundation, my vision for ISSR is to further integrate our research efforts, fostering a culture of collaboration and multidisciplinary exploration.

To achieve this, we will prioritize the following key areas:

1. Interdisciplinary Collaboration: I firmly believe that the most groundbreaking discoveries emerge at the intersections of various disciplines. By actively promoting collaboration across social science fields and beyond, we will encourage new perspectives and facilitate innovative approaches to research.

2. Community Engagement: Our research should not exist solely within the confines of academia. ISSR will actively engage with our local community, policymakers, and stakeholders to ensure that our work has a tangible impact on society. By forging strong partnerships, we can contribute to evidence-based decision-making and promote positive social change.

3. Technology and Innovation: The digital era presents us with unprecedented opportunities to advance our research methodologies. ISSR will embrace emerging technologies, data analytics, and artificial intelligence to enhance our research capabilities and drive scientific progress. We will foster a supportive environment for researchers to explore new tools and leverage technological advancements effectively.

4. Student Empowerment: Students are the heart and soul of any academic institution. At ISSR, we will focus on nurturing and empowering the next generation of social and behavioral scientists. By providing unparalleled research mentorship, fostering a collaborative learning environment, and equipping students with the necessary skills, we will prepare them to tackle the challenges of the future.

5. Global Perspectives: The world is interconnected, and the issues we study at ISSR transcend borders. Embracing diversity, promoting international collaborations, and incorporating global perspectives into our research will enrich our understanding of social phenomena and enable us to make meaningful contributions on a global scale.

As we embark on this exciting journey together, I encourage each of you to share your ideas, expertise, and aspirations. ISSR thrives on the collective wisdom and innovation of its community, and I am excited to work alongside each of you to shape our shared future.

I am confident that, with our collective dedication and the incredible talent within ISSR, we will continue to push the boundaries of social science research and create positive change in our society.

Thank you for your warm welcome, and I eagerly look forward to collaborating with you all.

Warmest regards,

Dr. Despina Stavrinos
Director, Institute for Social Science Research University of Alabama
Professor, Department of Psychology
Director, Vehicle-Driver Simulation, Alabama Transportation Institute