Report from the Chair

Linda Young
University of Florida

Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 13, Number 1 (Spring 2008)


Thank you for the honor of serving as Section Chair for 2008. We have enthusiastic members who are ready to participate in all areas of statistical education. Some of these completed their terms on the Executive Committee in December 2007. They are 2006 Section Chair Chris Franklin, 2007 Program Chair Patti Collings, Publications Officer Sterling Hilton, and at-large members Julie Legler and Ginger Holmes Rowell. They have each helped ensure the continued vitality of the Section. Please join me in thanking each of them for their service. Other members are just beginning their service on the Executive Committee. Please join me in welcoming Section Chair-Elect Robert C. DelMas, 2009 Program Chair Peter H. Westfall, Publications Officer E. Jacquelin Dietz, Council of Sections Representative Ann R. Cannon, and at-large members Kim Gilbert and Carmen O. Acuna. One of the wonderful aspects of our Section is that there are many other active volunteers whose names do not appear here but who spend countless hours furthering statistical education at all levels, across the globe. Thank you so much for your hard work.

As you know, ASA has been in the process of developing a new strategic plan. One of the eight theme areas is statistical education. Each year our Section and its members are offered numerous opportunities to become involved in all kinds of exciting statistical education projects. As we were discussing some of these at JSM in Salt Lake City, it became evident that the Section would benefit from conducting a strategic planning process. Jessica Utts, Past Section Chair, was part of the ad hoc committee that participated in the ASA planning, and she found it very effective. For the ASA strategic plan, a facilitator was used for a one full day in-person meeting. She directed the committee members in a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) and then helped them reorganize all these into strategic issues for ASA, such as Membership, Journals, Visibility, etc. Based on Jessica's experience, we have decided to follow a similar process. First, a small group of about six people, representing the diverse areas of statistical education, will meet with a facilitator for a SWOT analysis and to organize these into strategic issues. Members of the section's Executive Committee will then join the smaller group to discuss the results and begin formalizing a strategic plan. To minimize costs, both of these initial meetings will be held prior to JSM. We will be providing full information on the exact status of the planning process during JSM. All members will have an opportunity to review and comment on the strategic plan before it is finalized. To help cover the costs of strategic planning, we submitted a member initiative proposal and were awarded $3000. Section funds will be used to defray additional expenses.

Of course, we do not want to get so caught up in planning that we fail to do anything this year. Our common goal is to provide improved statistical education for students at all levels. If you have ideas about how we can more effectively facilitate that, please become more involved in Section activities and share your ideas. I encourage you to become involved in one or more of the exciting activities that are mentioned elsewhere in the newsletter. You may also e-mail me (LJYoung@ufl.edu).

I am looking forward to a productive year as Chair of the Statistical Education Section!


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