by | Jul 8, 2017 | News


Ann Arbor, Michigan – July 7, 2017

As preparations have begun for another implementation of the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership (MSL), and with nearly 60 schools enrolled for the MSL2018 implementation (a record enrollment for the study at this stage of early recruitment), study Principal Investigator (PI) Dr. John P. Dugan has announced his move to The Aspen Institute as their Director of Program Quality, Design, & Assessment. Dr. Dugan will continue to shepherd MSL growth as part of his new role. The Aspen Institute’s support as a new sponsor of the MSL will provide tremendous opportunities for exposure to a broader range of thought leaders and a multitude of new opportunities for the study.  Dugan said, “The MSL is growing up.  The study has matured through years of nurturing by the relatively small MSL research team.  It is now time for it to flourish.  We have a lot of exciting plans for the coming months and years for the MSL – we look forward to sharing those with you as they unfold.”

The MSL has thrived for over a decade through a collaborative approach to leadership education research — by partnering with schools and various organizations to collect data that informs practice at the local level while providing a rich data source for scholarship at the national and international levels.  These partnerships have led to:

  • More than 350 colleges and universities in six countries participating in the study across seven data collection implementations (2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and now 2018).

  • Over 30 publications in peer-reviewed journals (and many more dissertations, presentations, and other deliverables) extending our knowledge of how best to approach leadership development.

  • Development of solid research methods, including innovations in survey contact methodologies and web-based survey design.

The next stage of growth for the MSL involves:

  • Continuing to develop strategic partnerships to further extend the beneficial reach of the MSL as a tool for education, assessment, improvement, benchmarking, and research.

  • Efforts that will lead to steady growth of the study while maintaining its focus on quality–to this end, the MSL will immediately remove its 100 school limitation for the MSL2018 implementation.

  • An investment in the technology/infrastructure supporting the operational elements of the MSL– many of which will be initiated immediately in preparation for the MSL2018.

Schools who have participated in the MSL in past years are unlikely to experience any major differences in how the MSL unfolds in the short term– with the exception of it being a larger study and some outwardly visible technology enhancements which will be announced later this summer.

SoundRocket , led by Scott D. Crawford, will continue as the operational arm of the MSL and will deepen its partnership with the MSL in the coming months.  Crawford said, “In 2005, when we collaborated with John and his research team on the implementation of the first MSL in 2006, we were collectively navigating a new model for the conduct of large scale survey data collection that combines a research agenda with a beneficial and immediate service to participating schools. We are excited to continue to extend this model as we collaborate on implementing a new reach for the MSL.”  The MSL, in 2006, helped SoundRocket shape a service line – SoundRocket Innovative Research Collaboratives (IRCs). Today, it is the largest IRC study administered by SoundRocket.

Enrollment for the MSL2018 is currently open, and schools may enroll before August 1, 2017 and receive an early enrollment discount.  Enrollment is completed online. Standard enrollment for the MSL2018 closes December 1, 2017.  An updated list of already enrolled schools may be found through the recent news section of the MSL website.

More information about the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership is available online at:

Twitter: @MSLconnection

Organizational Info:

SoundRocket ( is an Ann Arbor-based social science survey research firm founded by a University of Michigan graduate, Scott D. Crawford, and formerly known as Survey Sciences Group, LLC.  SoundRocket’s purpose is to propel social science forward for the greater good.  Its mission is to develop and deliver innovative, science-guided survey methodology practices and services to the global community of social science researchers.

Since its founding in 2004, SoundRocket has been involved in conducting hundreds of social science survey projects.  SoundRocket has an expertise in collecting data from college students and data on sensitive topics.   Currently, SoundRocket is currently preparing for the MSL2018.


Scott D. Crawford

950 Victors Way, Suite 50
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108

Ph: 734-527-2150

Twitter: @SoundRocket

About the Author


Understanding human behavior—individually and in groups—drives our curiosity, our purpose, and our science. We are experts in social science research. We see the study of humans as an ongoing negotiation between multiple stakeholders: scientists, research funders, academia, corporations, and study participants.