Education > Caucus of Academic Representatives

Caucus Activities

Eighth Annual Workshop for Chairs of Programs in Statistics and Biostatistics

Time: Sunday, August 3rd, 2014: 8:30am to 1:30pm

On Sunday, August 3, prior to JSM, the Caucus of Academic Reps will hold the 8th annual workshop for Chairs of Programs in Statistics and Biostatistics. This half-day workshop will stimulate discussion between new and experienced chairs on a range of topics from the scientific diversification of our field and its implications for education and departmental organization, to attracting talented students to our discipline. The Workshop will be held at the Westin Boston Waterfront [one of the JSM hotels] in the W-Douglass meeting room. The Program Chair for this workshop is Paul Rathouz (; feel free to contact him for additional information.

In order to keep registration fees reasonable, the Caucus is providing partial support for this Workshop. There will be a registration fee of $100 per participant (in addition to and separate from JSM registration) to cover the remaining costs. Registration includes breakfast and lunch on the day of the Workshop. Hotels should be booked through the JSM meeting site. Registration for the workshop is available online at the link below. Space is limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Workshop is highly interactive with presentations designed to spark lively and fruitful discussions-for which we have built in time-and flexibility for Chairs to interact and get to know each other.

In one session, we will hear from Kathryn Chaloner, University of Iowa, who has taken the lead in increasing diversity in graduate student populations in math, statistics and biostatistics. She will report on her efforts, plans at specific institutions developed in a recent SAMSI workshop, and the work of the Math Alliance. She will be joined by Richard Smith, SAMSI Director.

A second session will explore two overlapping and related themes in graduate education reform:

  • The contrast of large distributed type courses with formats that emphasize personal interaction and high instructor-to-student ratios.
  • What is the right level of mathematical rigor required to enter and be successful in (bio) statistics graduate school: Costs and benefits to students and to the profession.

In this session, Jeffrey Leek, a dynamic mid-level instructor at Johns Hopkins who has taught several Coursera courses will present on:

Jeff will be followed by Joe Blitzstein from Harvard Statistics. Joe is teaching a new course on "Data Science", has been regularly involved in teaching the graduate probability sequence at Harvard, and is one of most popular instructors on the Harvard campus.

We look forward to you joining us in Boston!


Meeting Agenda:

  • 8:30 to 9:00 Continental breakfast
  • 9:00 to 9:15 Welcome, introductions and introductory remarks
    • Paul Rathouz, University of Wisconsin
  • 9:15 to 10:15 Increasing Diversity in PhD programs in Statistics and Biostatistics: The Math Alliance and a SAMSI workshop
    • Kathryn Chaloner, University of Iowa; Richard Smith, SAMSI
    • Group discussion
  • 10:15-10:30 Break
  • 10:30 to 10:45 Brief report: Preliminary guidelines for undergraduate programs in statistical sciences
    • Nicholas Horton, Amherst College
  • 10:45 to 12:00 Future Directions in Graduate Training in Statistics and Biostatistics
    • Jeffrey Leek, Johns Hopkins University
    • Joseph Blitzstein, Harvard University
    • Group discussion
  • 12:00 to 12:15 Opportunities for junior and senior (bio) statisticians at or through the FDA Office of Biostatistics
    • Lisa LaVange and Ram Tiwari, FDA
  • 12:15 to 12:30 Brief comments from current President or President Elect of ASA
    • Nathaniel Schenker or David Morgenstein
  • 12:30 to 1:30 Lunch: Networking, ongoing discussion