Bradburn is the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the faculties of the University of Chicago’s Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, Department of Psychology, Booth School of Business and the College and a Senior Fellow at NORC at the University of Chicago. He is a former provost of the University (1984-1989), chairman of the Department of Behavioral Sciences (1973-1979), and associate dean of the Division of the Social Sciences (1971-1973). From 2000-2004 he was the Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation. Associated with NORC since 1961, he has been director of NORC and president of its Board of Trustees.
Bradburn has been at the forefront in developing theory and practice in the field of sample survey research in the cultural sector. He is co-director of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators project and co-principal investigator of Set in Stone, the CPC’s cultural building project. For the Humanities Indicators project he oversees the collation and analysis of data, the creation of reliable benchmarks to guide future analysis of the humanities, and the development of a consistent and sustainable means of updating the data. For the cultural building project he oversees the systematic measurement of recent building projects and their consequences, modeling levels of creativity and sustainability of individual arts organizations before and after building projects, and the overall cultural vibrancy and vitality of their cities or regions as a result.