Founded in 1982, the Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory (SERL) offers a wide range of high-quality social science research and evaluation services. Part of the Center for Public Policy (CPP) in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs (Wilder School) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), SERL’s mission is to examine public and social issues using applied research techniques to broaden and improve public discourse and decision-making.
SERL does about 20 to 30 projects a year. Some projects are ongoing, such as the Virginia Judicial Performance Review Program conducted for the Supreme Court of Virginia. Each year about 175 judges are evaluated. SERL contacts more than 28,000 attorneys and receives surveys from several thousand jurors, court reporters and others. SERL sends a confidential report to the judge, and also to the Virginia General Assembly in years when the judge is up for reelection.
Another key example of an ongoing project is the Ryan White Data Management and AIDS Drug Assistance Program, carried out for the Virginia Department of Health. This project securely tracks individually identifying data for patients who receive services funded under Title II of the United States Code, in order to evaluate those services.
Some projects are serial – SERL has done several annual surveys of the VCU community regarding their feelings of safety and the performance of the VCU Police Department. Some are one-time, standalone projects. All of them connect SERL to the broader community and advance SERL’s mission.