SRMS Business Meeting

Wednesday, August 5, 2009, Washington DC

6:00 – 7:30 p.m. EST


1) Call to Order—Rod Little (Chair).

Rod thanked Wendy Alvey for the revised brochures for the 2009 JSM. Rod offered brochures to any one interested. Rod also thanked the Marketing Systems Group (Rebecca and Mansour Fahimi) for help sponsoring the SRMS business meeting.


2) Introduction of current officers for 2009:

Howard Hogan (Chair-Elect), Mary Mulry (Past Chair), Jonaki Bose (Secretary), Dawn Haines (Treasurer), Rachel Harter, Nora Cate Schaeffer (Council of Sections Reps), Elaine Zanutto (Program Chair), Michael Elliott (Program Chair Elect), Jean Opsomer (Publications Officer), Donna Stroup (COS Governing Board Vice Chair), Michael Larsen (Education Officer)


3) Introduction of newly-elected officers for 2010:

Rod introduced and congratulated the newly appointed officers. Stephen H. Cohen (Chair-Elect), Paul Beatty (Program Chair Elect), Emily McFarlane (Secretary), Anthony An (Council of Sections Rep).   Rod also thanked all candidates who had agreed to stand for election.


4) Treasurer’s Report – Dawn Haines

Dawn provided the treasurers report. SRMS has about $52K in the account. This year SRMS provided student paper awards.


Dawn also informed the membership that the board has decided to raise the dues to $5 and make it free for students (from $2 and $1 respectively). The attendees asked why there was a need to increase the membership if SRMS has $52K in reserves. Mary explained that we no longer have any significant sources of revenue and therefore are looking for alternatives. Our only sources of incoming revenue are membership dues and some return from conference sponsorship. By increasing the dues we are able to provide our membership greater service by sponsoring and providing seed money for membership-relevant conferences.


Tom Belin reported that the biometrics section just raised their dues from $3 to $5, and that they'd had similar discussions regarding this. Andy White and Jana Asher expressed support for the motion to increase membership fees. Steve Cohen mentioned that ICES III very nearly did not make a profit and that SRMS would have had to cover 30 percent of the loss (the risk it had assumed.)


5) Award announcements: Student Travel, Poster Competition, Waksberg Award.

Mike Elliott announced the SRMS poster award winners. There was one winner and two honourable mentions.


First Place Winners: Edward Mulrow, Susan Hinkins and Fritz Scheuren (NORC at the University of Chicago) "Visualization of Complex Survey Data"

Honorable Mentions

o    Jeffrey Gonzalez and John L. Eltinge (Bureau of Labor Statistics) "Imputation Methods for Adaptive Matrix Sampling"

o    Tian Zheng and Tyler H. McCormick (Columbia University) "Latent Structure Models for Social Networks Using Aggregated Relational Data"


Jana asked if their posters could be made available through the SRMS website. Mary mentioned that the poster submitters can also submit papers. Mike Elliott encouraged SRMS members to submit posters for next years JSM. Rod also thanked the judges for their work—there were 8 judges. Dave said that the new program coordinator, Kathleen Wirt plans to organize posters by section next year. Marilyn Seastrom mentioned that when SRMS moved to promoting more poster presentations the board has considered the idea of providing some refreshments.


Rod announced the 2009 student travel award winners:

o    Burcu Eke, School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, Arizona State University

o    Brady West, the Program in Survey Methodology, University of Michigan


The 2009 E. C. Bryant Scholarship Award Winner was Qixuan Chen, Department of Biostatistics, University of Michigan.


Dan Kasprzyk announced the 2009 Waksberg Award winner: Ivan P. Fellegi, Chief Statistician Emiretus, Statistics Canada. Dr. Fellegi will give the 2010 Waksberg Invited Address at the Statistics Canada Symposium to be held in the autumn of 2010. The paper written by the award winner will be published in Survey Methodology.


In addition the five 2009 student paper competition (co-sponsored with SSS and GSS_ winners are:

o    Solange Corre (University of Southampton) "Bias corrections in multilevel modeling of survey data with applications to small area estimation"

o    Benmei Liu (University of Maryland, JPSM) "Adaptive hierarchical Bayes estimation of small-area proportion"

o    Jeremy Porter (Mississippi State University) "Using multivariate special statistics in the modeling of rate-based diffusion processes: an extension and replication of Cohen and Tita"

o    Santanu Pramanik (University of Maryland, JPSM) "The prior selection and approximations for the nested error regression model: estimation of finite population means for small area"

o    Hui Zhang (University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology) "Generalized ANOVA for concurrently modeling mean and variance within a longitudinal data setting"


Rod encouraged members to encourage their students to submit applications to awards such as the student travel award. Jana asked what kind of candidates should be nominated for the Waksberg award, and Dan explained that was based on achievement, but the winners tended to be mid to late career.



6) SRMS Fellows Committee – Clyde Tucker

Clyde Tucker mentioned the newly announced ASA fellows who were also SRMS members:  Gary Shapiro, Julia Lane, (William) Phil Butz, Edward Gbur, Stephen Cohen, Jana Asher. He also mentioned that the fellows committee is collecting names for next year and they should be sent to him. David Marker encouraged members to make sure they considered more women in their nominations.


7) Continuing Education Report – Michael Larsen

Rod mentioned that SRMS is planning to host a few webinars and that the first one will most likely be this fall. Anybody who would like to be a presenter or have ideas should let Mike L. know.


Mike L. would also like proposals for short courses or tutorials. The deadline for that is the end of September.


8) 2009, 2010 JSM Programs – Elaine Zanutto/Michael Elliott


Mike E. encouraged attendees to let him know if they were interested in submitting proposals for invited sessions. The deadline is September 8th. SRMS has five sessions and two for competition. Mike also asked attendees to let Paul Beatty know if they had any ideas for round tables for JSM 2010 in Vancouver.


Dave Judkins will be putting together a speaker/presenter satisfaction survey. Any comments should be sent to him. Dana Moore said that poster sessions would work better if the posters were exhibited better and the SRMS ones were exhibited together—potentially around food.


9) Council of Sections – Nora Cate Schaeffer/Rachel Harter


Growth, Impact, Visibility and Education (GIVE) are the new president's initiatives. ASA is looking at the reserves needed for two years of functioning. They are also going to be sending out non-partisan member alerts for member input. ASA is partnering with Springer to do a Wiki on statistics. ASA has approved a motion to look at voluntary membership accreditation that looks at dimensions such as ASA membership, advanced degree in stat or related fields, numbers of years in the job, agreement to uphold professional standards, demonstration of communication skills, demonstration of professional growth and letters of support. Nat Schenker reported that details regarding accreditation requirements will be worked out by the implementation committee.


Rachel reported that the council of sections discussed clarifying rules for the creation of new sections. If approved in the fall, new sections are eligible for sessions the next JSM, and have to wait a year (not two) for invited sections.  The council is discussing increasing the time that the COSGB has for considering new sections. Rachel asked the business meeting attendees what their opinions were. Andy White reported based on his experience is that he feels that the time for consideration should be 90 days or longer. Promod Chandhok said he supported 60 days.

Julie (another member of the council of sections governing board) said that the issue was for the governing board to have more time to think about it and send it out to sections provide feedback as well. She said that people had discussed whether it would make more sense to become an interest group first. Andy said that regardless of what the process was sustainability over time for the proposed new sections should be considered. Steve Cohen asked if there was a process for decommissioning sections, which there is.


Multiple student award winners: Rachel asked the attendees if they wanted to limit award winners to only one award. Jana pointed out that this has happened in the past, but the process coordinating across sections can be difficult. Alan Zaslavsky said that it had happened to him—but the current ASA process does not work very well. He feels like there has to be a mechanism for only one award winner because a person can only present one paper. Tom Belin said it also happened in Biometrics—where they decided that the winner's paper has to be incorporated into a topics contributed session. Jana pointed out that a student can submit papers as a regular paper as well as an award winner and the same presentation can be made only once and one person can present only once as a regular or topics-contributed presenter. Mary pointed out that the SRMS travel award does not require paper. Jana said that ASA could build in a system in the program organization process where prior to the publication of winners a comparison could be made. Any White suggested that if the paper was on a similar topic then the student might need to pick one, but students could submit papers on different topics. Steve Cohen suggested that maybe the application process should include the revelation of where else they are submitting. Rod said that the principal is that a person should be able to submit to more than one section/award, but win one award for the same work.


Invited session allocation process: The allocation process is based on four years worth of data and the current formula takes into account factors such as total section membership, section membership attending JSM, number of invited sessions currently, number of topic contributed sessions, number of contributed sessions and number of posters. However the number of posters is not heavily weighted. Dave Judkins said that session attendance numbers historically have not been of high quality. He said that it would be very helpful if someone would volunteer to come up with an accurate measurement system. Julia also pointed out not everyone is able to attend due to space restrictions. Jonaki also pointed out that attendance is a function of other concurrent sessions. Bill Wong asked why ASA limits invited sessions. David Marker explained some of the reasons. Rod said that we would continue to press for posters receiving higher weights.


10) Newsletter report – Steven Pedlow, Ting Yan.

Rod thanked outgoing editors, Emily McFarlane and Laura Flicker and thanked Steven Pedlow and Ting Yan for taking on newsletter responsibilities.


11) Updates on future conferences co-sponsored by section.

ICES IV is currently being considered for mid June, 2012 in Montreal. SRMS as a co-sponsor, has contributed some seed money and has assumed some risk. Rod also mentioned that Nancy Bates and Brad Edwards are planning a conference on hard-to-reach populations for the fall of 2012 in the US. Rod pointed out that SRMS supports these conferences and assumes risks. He encouraged members to attend such conferences.




12) Report from Task Force on Publications – Rod Little, Mary Mulry

Rod reported that Mary and he co-chair this task force with the goal of encouraging more published research on survey methods in refereed publications. They sent out a survey to SRMS members in spring 2009 looking for member feedback. Rod summarized findings for the SRMS newsletter. Rod indicated that respondents indicated an agreement with the notion that there needs to be more refereed research on survey methodology. The task force considering a journal in collaboration with ASA or with an organization such as AAPOR.


As next steps, Rod is proposing pursuing this further with ASA. He plans to approach Ron Wasserstein and the ASA publications committee. Rod said that he felt that there were two good survey methodology-related journals, but there is a backlog and slow turn around of submitted articles. Rod mentioned he has talked to Wiley some, and they will be providing some feedback on how to conduct a study to understand whether a new journal would have enough circulation. SRMS is not committed to Wiley, but they have experience in partnering with ASA. Dana Moore asked about Survey Practices—members pointed out that it was not refereed. Jana asked if we could consider open access. Rod asked for comments on that or any other issue.


13) Other business

Gary Shapiro provided information on a volunteer group—Statisticians Without Borders, which is a pro-bono group in the field of international health. They have about 50 volunteers and are looking for both projects and volunteers. Most of their volunteers have strong analytic skills, while a lot of the help that they've been asked to provide has been the field of survey methodology and survey design. They are planning to have something on the ASA website pretty soon. Anyone interested is asked to contact Gary (g.shapiro4@verizon.net). Gary will also be writing an article for the SRMS newsletter. Patricia Melvin (past GSS/SSS newsletter editor) suggested that Gary should probably submit the article/the information to other sections and possibly even Amstat News (beyond the October 2008 article).


Jana Asher has started a statistical non-profit agency that complements Statistics Without Borders, and provides statistical consulting at a low cost.


Howard is the country reporter (US) for the International Association of Survey Statistician and would like to receive relevant information for publication it their newsletter.