Orlando, 1995

Thirty-nine isolated statisticians met in Orlando at 6:00 on 13 August 1995, in connection with JSM.   We spent most of the time discussing (1) what to do with the mathematical statistics course, so that students might find out what statistics is all about, (2) how to deal with the reality that people use spreadsheets in place of statistics packages, and (3) what advice to give to undergraduates about the job market in statistics.

Regarding (1), it was mentioned that the CUPM guidelines call for math majors to take a stat course like the intro course that many of us teach (as opposed to the probability/math stat sequence); some schools (e.g., Gustavus Adolphus) have added this to the requirements for a math major.  Others offer applied courses (regression, DOE, etc.) on a regular basis, even if it means teaching math stat only in alternate years.

As for (2), it seems that some people use spreadsheets when teaching statistics, despite possible errors in the statistics routines of spreadsheets.  We can promote the use of statistics packages that have reliable routines.

There isn't much to report on (3).  We heard that at some schools recent graduates with MS or PhD degrees have had little trouble finding jobs, but the reports from some other schools have been less positive.  We have been told that ASA is planning a survey late this winter that should provide data on salaries in statistics by job category, but we don't know if this survey will also yield information concerning job prospects (supply and demand).

Jeff Witmer