Message from the Section Chair

Jessica Utts
University of California, Davis

Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 12, Number 1 (Spring 2007)

I am delighted to have the opportunity to serve as Section Chair for 2007. There will be a quiz in a minute, but first I want you to join me in thanking the dedicated individuals whose terms on the Executive Committee ended in December 2006. (Please hold your applause until all names have been read. Better yet, please hold your applause until you can thank them in person, then do so!) They are 2005 Section Chair Robin Lock, 2006 Program Chair Paul Roback, Secretary/Treasurer Beth Chance and members Marjorie Bond and Michael Kahn. I would like to welcome the incoming Executive Committee members, including Chair-Elect Linda Young, 2008 Program Chair Jackie Miller, Secretary/Treasurer Tom Short and at-large members Jo Hardin and Deb Rumsey. Finally, I would like to extend a big thank-you to our newsletter editors Joan Garfield and Jackie Dietz. Jackie maintains our web site as well. Without their hard work, you wouldn't be reading this!

Now it's time for that quiz I promised. Close your eyes, don't peek, and answer this simple question: What is the name of our Section?? OK, now open your eyes.

If you said "Section on Statistics Education," you probably are in the majority, but you are wrong. The name is "Section on Statistical Education." Why is that the name of our Section, when most people talk about "Statistics Education?" I wasn't there when the Section name was established, but I suspect it's because "statistical" is an adjective and "statistics" is a noun. Therefore, it is grammatically correct to say "statistical education."

How many of you have subtracted points from students' papers for bad grammar? If you have been brave enough to do so, your students probably have complained, "This isn't an English class, it's a math class -- you can't take off points for bad grammar!"

The wonderful truth about Statistics is that it is about English (or whatever your language is), because it's about good communication. And it's about philosophy and science and logical reasoning and a wealth of other interrelated subjects and ideas. It's not about math alone. That broad view of our discipline is what the Section on Statistical Education is all about. What unites us is a desire to provide the best statistical education possible to students at all levels, including those who are no longer formal students, and to help them understand the comprehensive nature of what Statistics has to offer. If you have ideas about how the Section can do a better job of facilitating that, please get involved in the Section activities and let us hear your ideas. You can send an email to me (, or get involved in one of the many exciting activities you read about elsewhere in our newsletters.

I'm looking forward to a productive year as Chair of the Stat Ed Section (the safe name to use when discussing our Section)!

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