Decision Research Center
Dr. Michael H. Birnbaum
College/Academic unit:
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Department of Psychology
Contact Information:
Dr. Michael H. Birnbaum
Submitted: May 13, 2009
Name of primary authors if different
From Director/Administrator:
1. Mission
The mission of the Decision Research Center (DRC) is for faculty and students to conduct
research on fundamental problems of human judgment and decision making and to serve as a
mechanism for the support of the study of human decision making and judgment. DRC has
linked its mission and goals to the University’s missions and goals for example it is noted that
collaboration is integral to the center’s activities and note that several research projects are
underway with scholars in France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.
2. Goals and Activities
DRC has developed four major goals linked to the mission including the organization and
operation of Advanced Training Institutes in accord with an extramural grant from the National
Science Foundation.
The Center has hosted or co-hosted an Annual Meeting known as the Edward Bayesian Research
Conference, which has been attended by scholars from various parts of the world. Several of the
conferences were held at CSUF and the 2008 Conference was scheduled for this campus. The
Center supports the Advanced Training Institutes (ATI), teaching scholars (most faculty
members at other universities, and a few graduate students) how to conduct their behavioral
Social Science research via the Internet. Some of these sessions were held on the CSUF campus.
According to the self-study the Center’s research has let to twenty-four publications since 2000.
The Director’s 2004 article in the Annual Review of Psychology has been cited in 43 published
works since that date. The director has been elected president of the Society for Judgment and
Decision Making and is president elect of the Society for Computers in Psychology.
3. Resources and Sustainability
Since 1986 the center has received financial support from a series of grants from NSF. DRC has
also funding from the Philanthropic Foundation. Presently, there is a grant from NSF (2007-10)
for $162,000. The University once provided three rooms for the center but according to the selfstudy this space is no longer available. The center is now housed in the Director’s office. The
issue of space continues to be an issue.
4. Organizational Structure and Governance
The center has a director and two advisory boards. One of the boards has played a role in the
Advanced Training Institutes (ATI) the members have included mainly outside scholars in the
field and designed curriculum for the ATI and served as instructors. The second advisory board
is composed of members from universities in southern California and provided advice on the
Bayesian Research Conference.
5. Highlights and Accomplishments
In addition to those highlights and accomplishments cited in 2 above, the center served as the
host for the Bayesian Meetings, which were co-hosted in 2007 and 2008 by faculty in the college
of Health and Human Development. This cross-disciplinary meeting was attended by scholars
from Asia, Africa, and Europe as well as this country. There is a guest scholar Dr. Navarro
Martinez from Spain is spending six months doing collaborative work with the center Director.
6. Planning and Strategic Outlook
It is reported that the Decision Research Center will be moving off the CSUF campus at the end
of this academic year. The self-study cited as reasons for this moving was a lack of adequate
space per a funded grant.
Update: the director indicates that the College of Business and Economics has provided space in
Langsdorf Hall but it is not adequate.
7. Viability
According to the self-study the outlook for the DRC is cautiously optimistic about is future at the
University. The director states: “I am hopeful that the decision research center will receive the
support needed to accomplish its goals”.
8. Appendices
Summary and Recommendation(s)
The Self-study for the Decision Research Center does not adequately address the criteria for
review. Considerable space is given to activities and accomplishments. Areas not included are:
organizational structure and governance, resources and sustainability, planning and
strategic outlook, and viability. Moreover, the Director indicates that the Center will be moving
off campus at the end of this (2007-2008) academic year.
The Dean states that university is currently exploring options for Dr. Birnbaum to move records
stored in H-532 and H-682C to a secure off-campus storage site to provide more room for his
research and training activities.
Update June 2009:
The Decision Research Center has provided additional information in a re-submitted self-study
which addresses all content items and supplements the previously submitted narrative. There is
an organizational structure which includes the director and two advisory boards composed
mainly of scholars in the field including researchers from outside the United States. DRC
financial support has come largely from grants from the National Science Foundation presently
there is a grant totaling $162,000 (2007-10). The self-study makes the case that planning has
been difficult for the center because of the uncertainty of its status on campus and the lack of
adequate space to house the center. To some extent these matters have been mitigated, however,
the issue of adequate space for the center continues to be a concern. These issues
notwithstanding, the center has made significant contributions to the field, the last three years
research in the center has led to the publication of 14 scholarly publications including a major
paper in the Psychological Review; co-hosted an international conference; has a visiting scholar
from Spain, and the director is president elect of the Society of Computers in Psychology.
Reviewed by the Council of Deans
July 15, 2009
Action taken: Continuation
Gerald W. Patton
Director of Assessment and Educational Effectiveness