WYSAC traces its origins to 1972, when the Government Research Bureau conducted the first in what then became a biennial series of statewide election surveys. The Survey Research Center was formally established in 1989 to continue the biennial Wyoming Election Survey and to take on other projects for state and local agencies throughout Wyoming.
At the time, Wyoming’s federally recognized clearinghouse for research in criminal justice was a unit of the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation. Established in 1984, that unit ceased to function in 1994. In 2000, Executive Order #2000-5 by the governor of Wyoming created a research center at UW to fill the same role. The Wyoming Statistical Analysis Center, as it was called, merged with the Survey Research Center in 2004 to form WYSAC -- the Wyoming Survey & Analysis Center.
In 2006 WYSAC conducted its first nationwide survey of the general public, a federally funded policy study on which WYSAC researchers collaborated with UW faculty in economics, sociology, and statistics. Other national projects soon followed, along with a mix of surveys, evaluation research, and policy analyses for public and private clients in Wyoming and throughout the region (including state and local agencies in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, and Washington). By 2007, when WYSAC moved into its permanent home in the UW Office Annex, the clientele also extended to each of Wyoming’s 23 counties, plus the Wind River Indian Reservation.
In 2008, Executive Order #2008-3 affirmed WYSAC’s role as the state’s federally recognized center for research on criminal justice and related policy issues. The order also designated the Governor’s Substance Abuse and Violent Crime Advisory Board to provide WYSAC with guidance as to Wyoming’s needs for policy research.