Report on Joint Stat Ed and TSHS Dinner at JSM 2004

Contributed by Bob Oster, Brian Jersky, and Patrick Arbogast

Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 10, Number 2 (Fall 2004)

On August 10, in Toronto, several members of the executive committees and newsletter editors of the Sections on Statistical Education (Stat Ed) and Teaching of Statistics in the Health Sciences (TSHS) met at the Jump Café and Bar. The purpose of the meeting (in addition to dinner) was for our officers to get to know each other and to exchange ideas that would be of interest to both of our sections.

In attendance were Patrick Arbogast (TSHS Program Chair-Elect), Karen McGaughey (Stat Ed Program Chair-Elect), Brian Jersky (Stat Ed Newsletter Editor), Bob Oster (TSHS Chair), Katherine Halvorsen (Stat Ed COS Representative), Lynn Ackerson (TSHS COS Representative), Beth Chance (Stat Ed Executive Committee at Large), Cyndy Long (TSHS Chair-Elect-Elect), Marjorie Bond (Stat Ed Executive Committee at Large), Jim Leeper (TSHS Past Chair), Renee Stolove (TSHS Publications Officer), and Dan Byrne (TSHS Book Review Editor). The dinner meeting was very successful. Following are some specific ideas that we generated as to how our two sections can interact with each other.

The first set of ideas is primarily for the executive committees to consider. The first idea is for the officers of both sections to approve a reduced membership fee for an ASA member who joins both sections. For example, a person joining both sections could pay $10 in dues rather than $12 in dues (the current Stat Ed dues are $5 and the current TSHS dues are $7). Persons joining both sections would be full voting members of both sections and would have a subscription to both newsletters. We believe that a joint membership would greatly benefit both sections.

Other ideas in the first set include the following: to form local / regional consortia of those who teach (at any level), to find a way to share ideas for student research projects, to link the Stat Ed and TSHS websites, and to either schedule the Stat Ed and TSHS mixers in adjacent rooms or schedule a joint Stat Ed / TSHS mixer. This latter idea could involve having separate concurrent business meetings with a common mixer, or having the meetings and mixers jointly. Robin Lock (Stat Ed Chair-Elect) has already started an initiative regarding the sharing of ideas for student research projects; for details, refer to the web page (

The second set of ideas is primarily for the section program chair-elects (Karen McGaughey for Stat Ed and Patrick Arbogast for TSHS) and the program chair-elect-elects (Janet Tooze for TSHS and Paul Roback for Stat Ed) to consider. These ideas include the following: to organize joint Stat Ed / TSHS roundtable luncheons, to organize a joint session on issues that apply to our respective teaching audiences (undergraduate, graduate, medical, etc.), to organize a joint topic contributed panel session regarding the statistical education of pre-professional students (pre-med, pre-dental, etc.), to organize a joint session on distance education, and to organize a joint session on the review of web pages containing helpful statistical educational material that are relevant to TSHS and/or Stat Ed. Intertwined with this final idea is the intention to publish a review of these web pages in The American Statistician.

After the JSM, it was noted that there is a CAUSE initiative that will provide a single place to go for web resources related to statistics education, including peer reviews of these web resources. A JSM session on Thursday morning was devoted to this initiative. Stat Ed is already fairly well plugged in to this initiative, but it may be helpful for TSHS to become involved as well. (Thanks to Robin Lock for this information.)

Thanks to Patrick Arbogast for organizing the dinner. We (the authors of this article) are excited by the opportunities that our two sections have to work together!

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