Minutes from the annual meeting of the Isolated Statisticians


2010 JSM, Vancouver

Sun 1 Aug, 7:00p


32 people were present at the start of the meeting, and 5 more trickled in over the next several minutes.  A sign-up list was circulated to register attendance and collect e-addresses.


Shonda Kuipers presided as convener.  She started by reading through the agenda, with six main items:


a)         electing a new convener

b)         IsoStat and the ASA “community” on stat ed

c)         the IsoStat web site

d)         IsoStat suggestions for tenure and review of statisticians

e)         an update from the Stat Ed section

f)          NIH funding rep to speak


We then dove right into the agenda itself....


a) electing a new convener


Shonda nominated Pat Humphrey, who was willing.  Pat was elected, unopposed and unanimously.


b) IsoStat and the ASA “community” on stat ed


John McKenzie wondered whether there was or should be any connection between the IsoStat distribution list and the list for the ASA community on statistics education.  Evidently there is no formal connection, though there’s certainly a fair bit of duplication in postings and overlap of list members.  The consensus was that there need not be any formal connection or merging of the two lists, and that folks should continue to cross-forward messages as appropriate.


c) the IsoStat web site


John McKenzie wanted to draw new IsoStat members’ attention to the IsoStat web site.  A bit disappointed that there are far fewer names on the site’s roster than there are known IsoStatisticians, he suggested that we remind or alert members that they could be included on this roster.  He also pointed out that the new IsoStat charter would be an appropriate addition to the site.  Several were eager to recognize Joy for her continued good work on maintaining this site on behalf of the group.


d) IsoStat suggestions for tenure and review of statisticians


Shonda relayed a concern from Laura Chihara (who could not attend) about what we as a group can tell math departments about proper personnel review of statisticians imbedded in math departments.  Perhaps IsoStat could formulate a statement or list of suggestions.  Ann Cannon wondered whether this would best be handled by the Stat Education section.  Carolyn Cuff referred to the 1993 MAA guidelines, which didn’t seem to reflect much of what the stat community valued, and to which the ASA then responded in 1996.  Albyn Jones stressed that we must communicate any such suggestions not only to math departments but also to the broader personnel review committees at the schools at which statisticians come up for tenure.  After a bit of discussion, Pat Humphrey and Carolyn Cuff volunteered to look into this further and report back to the group, and  Shonda “voluntold” Dex Whittinghill to assist, because of his interest and helpful comments.


e) an update from the Stat Ed section


Typically we’d have a report from the ASA Stat Education section at this point in our meeting.  But Stat Ed program chair Tisha Hooks was not present at this time, so we skipped this report in the interests of time.  But after item f) below, our Stat Ed Council of Sections rep Ann Cannon reminded everyone about the Stat Ed business meeting three days hence, which is open to all members of the section.


f) NIH funding rep to speak


On behalf of Michelle Dunn at the National Cancer Institute, Marie Davidian gave a presentation on the National Institute of Health’s efforts at funding statistical research.  Projects are often clinical or methodological and applied to the health sciences, of course, but can feature basic science as well.  Special emphasis was on the Academic Research Enhancement Award grants (R15), competition for which is limited only to other R15 proposals, and eligibility for which is limited to schools without large NIH funding for other projects.  As such, isolated statisticians might be more able to secure this kind of funding, separately or in joint proposals with other isolated statisticians. Feel free to contact dunnm3@mail.nih.gov or check out the site http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/area.htm.


John McKenzie had two announcements: one about the slick mini-posters describing our profession and field which were available at the ASA exhibit booth (and on line) and which would be ideal for bulletin boards, and another about the tenure-track opening for a statistician at Babson in 2011.  Roger Johnson solicited submissions to “Teaching Statistics” for their special 100th issue in 2012.


Shonda adjourned the meeting at about 8:15p.