Isostat Folks,

Here are the minutes for the Isolated Statisticians Meeting, 7:00PM, Sunday, August 10, 1997, in Anaheim, CA.

0.  We introduced ourselves to the group, and passed around an attendance sheet, requesting newcomers to submit their e-mail address to the Isostat e-mail list.  Then the following announcements were made:

0a)  There is a new version of S-Plus available, with an easier interface that makes it more suitable for teaching.  For a review copy for teaching purposes contact Tim Hesterberg <>.

0b)  David Moore and Christine MacLaren implored everyone of us (or every one of our departments) to get a subscription of STATS magazine and place the copies in our department’s lounge or library.

0c)  At this January’s Joint Mathematical Meetings in Baltimore, Maryland, there will be a meeting of ‘teachers of statistics’ (very much like our first in Atlanta in 1992).  Mathematicians and statisticians alike will be welcome.  [Tom Moore and I are working under the assumption that the mathematicians will self-select, and only those truly interested in teaching statistics (and care about doing it well) will show up.]

0d)  If your school has a degree program in statistics, even an undergraduate concentration, you should advertise it by getting your school listed in the official ASA book: “Schools Offering Degrees in Statistics in the United States and Canada, Including Departments with Statistics Concentrations.”  [Whew!]

0e)  If you want to chair a session at the JSMs in Dallas next year, you should contact Jerry Moreno of John Carroll U. at <>.  He is next year’s Stat Ed program chair.

1.  The first discussion item was what schools were doing about the AP statistics exam, or what they were going to do with the AP exam scores when students arrived on their campus.  About 8 of the 36 people present (from academic institutions) said that their school had talked about what to do.  Of the schools that volunteered to share their discussion results, all said that an exam score of 4 or 5 would get credit for their introductory statistics course, and one said that a 3 would get credit.  Rosemary Roberts (now past chair of the AP Statistics Exam committee), spoke about how the scores were supposed to translate in to grades on a college level course.  A 5 reflects an A or A+; a 4 a B, B+ or A-; and a 3 a C, C+ or B-.

2.  The second item started with the question: “How do we ‘warn’ new PhDs about ‘bad’ departments (with respect to awarding tenure, etc.)?”  After a very brief discussion the consensus was that warning people was best left to ‘word of mouth,’ if it is to be done at all.  One never knows if ‘the problem’ was with the tenure candidate and not the ‘tenure committee’ or college, and committees change.  Related to this was the Don Bentley’s report on the ASA/MAA Joint Committee on Undergraduate Statistics’s response to the MAA’s ‘Guidelines for Programs and Departments in Undergraduate Mathematical Sciences,’ which did not adequately deal with the statistician in the math department.  He suggested that from now on we could only watch the math departments, and warn people of departments that are not following the guidelines.  [To see the Guidelines or the response, see the MAA’s web page, MAA Online, at  When you get there, look under ‘MAA Programs and Projects,’ and the Guidelines button will be near the bottom.]

3.  The third item concerned how one could find collaborators for doing research in one’s own area; a web site had been suggested.  General opinion was that using the web for soliciting collaborators for a research problem was dangerous, since people could ‘steal’ your ideas.  David Moore said that research projects build from relationships, as well as the other way around.  Work to meet people in your field at technical sessions of the JSM and at regional research conferences.  If you get to know them, collaboration may soon follow.  [Note:  I have a co-authored paper that was a result of me introducing myself to a fellow ‘Mainer’ who also worked in design.]

3b.  Out of the above discussion came the idea that the isolated statisticians as a whole could still have a web page with addresses, phone numbers and research interests (with a form for people to add their info to this list).  This would facilitate collaboration between isolated statisticians in similar research fields, or in geographic proximity.  Any suggestions as to what else should be included on the web page should be forwarded to Beth Chance of University of the Pacific <>.  Other ideas for things to include on the web page are:  an isolated statisticians mission statement (which of course has to be written), links to regional web pages (e.g., GLISM (Great Lakes) has one), books recommended by isolated statisticians for consulting references, news on relations and interactions with industry (if something ‘share-able’ comes out of the 1997 NEISM (New England) meeting), announcements of upcoming regional meetings.

4.  We discussed salary listings, and whether or not any of the usual listings are broken down with categories that might reflect we isolated statisticians.  Ray Waller reiterated that his office is willing to help our group in any way that he can, including this.  It was suggested that if we tried to gather the data ourselves, it might be difficult to get data at all, let alone unbiased data (from our chairs or deans or whomever).  At the end of a brief discussion it was suggested that a little research be done to find out what listings there are before we do anything ourselves.  [Since then I heard from Terry King at Northwest Missouri State, and he said:  “I asked the former chair of our Northwest's Faculty Welfare Committee about the "salary matrix."  She said to do a search on the web for CUPA.  I did and came up with College and University Personnel Association (or something very close to that).  However, I think there is a subscription fee to get to the actual data.  She also said that this information was published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, probably in March or April.  I know there is a "time warp" feeling involved here.  The data is already a year old when it is published, and well into the season for negotiating the salaries for the next year.  Hence a two-year lag.”  I forwarded this from Terry so that those interested would have a place to start.]

At approximately 8:10 we adjourned for dinner.

Respectfully submitted, 9/15/97.
Dex Whittinghill