Report from the Chair

Linda Young
University of Florida

Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 13, Number 2 (Fall 2008)

Every ASA Section has a core of members that work diligently to advance the ideals held by that Section; these people are the heart of the Section and keep it healthy and moving forward. However, the Section on Statistical Education seems to me to be unique in that the proportion of its members who are eager to become involved in Section activities is truly amazing. Thank you for the time, energy, and ideas that you are all willing to give so freely. I want to take this opportunity to update you on a couple of things and then to recognize a few who have worked so diligently on our behalf.

At last yearís JSM, ASAís draft strategic plan was presented to the membership. Our Sectionís Executive Committee decided that the Section needed to develop its own strategic plan, using the ASA plan as a foundation. With membership initiative funding, the strategic planning process was a major part of our 2008 JSM activities. A small group, comprised of Ann Cannon, Bob delMas, Robert Gould, Jackie Miller, June Morita, and Jessica Utts, met with a professional facilitator, Charles Goretsky, the Saturday before JSM. (Jessica identified Charlie, and he graciously donated his services. We only covered his expenses.) Saturday evening the Executive Committee reviewed the draft strategic objectives developed by the small group, suggesting some minor revisions. The updated plan was discussed at the Sectionís business meeting on Wednesday of JSM and then sent to our membership. Some good feedback has been received, which will result in further revisions. The Executive Committee will then review the revised set of strategic objectives and, if accepted, they will be adopted by the Section. Bob delMas, 2009 Section chair, has been fully involved in the strategic planning process, and he will provide wonderful leadership in using the strategic plan to provide focus and to enhance the already strong work of the Section.

Thanks to a generous donation from former ASA Executive Director Ray Waller and his wife Carolyn, the Waller Education Award provides recognition to an individual who has been teaching full-time for ten or fewer years, and who has demonstrated innovation in the instruction of elementary statistics. For some time, there has been a desire to award the Waller Education Award on Tuesday night of JSM. From its inception, this award has been administered by our Section, but only association-wide awards are recognized on Tuesday night. Thus, our Executive Committee was faced with whether to give up control of the award for the broader recognition. After thorough discussion and recognizing that the appointments to a Waller award committee would most likely come from our Section membership, a proposal to make the award an ASA award was presented to the Committee on Meetings. The committee will discuss this proposal during a conference call toward the end of October. After that time, we will know whether our Section will continue to administer this award or whether ASA will. In either case, please start planning now to nominate someone who is truly worthy of this recognition.

Each year ASA members nominate their peers for recognition as ASA fellows. According to the ASA by-laws: "By the honorary title of Fellow the Association recognizes full members of established reputation who have made outstanding contributions in some aspect of statistical work." This Section has a number of Fellows, and we were fortunate to have six more members become Fellow this year: Katherine T. Halvorsen, Joseph W. Hogan, Carl Lee, Jill M. Montaquila, Walter W. Stroup, and Dennis L. Young. No one becomes a Fellow without a peer nominating them. I want to thank the Section members who took the time and energy to nominate someone as a Fellow, whether that person was selected this year or not. (The number of recipients is limited to only 1/3 of 1% of the ASA membership.) Please consider nominating someone who is deserving of this award.

This Section has a great tradition of a strong JSM program and that tradition was certainly continued this year. Thank you, Jackie Miller, for organizing a vibrant array of sessions for the 2008 JSM and, Peter Westfall, for organizing wonderful round tables for the 2008 JSM and for your ongoing work organizing our program for the 2009 JSM.

Thank you, Deb Rumsey, for continued leadership on our Stat Ed booth at JSM and to the following volunteers who manned the booth this year: Carmen Acuna, Gidean Bahn, Carol Bigelow, Sarah Boslaugh, Steve Dafilou, Bob delMas, Kay Endriss, Chris Franklin, Joan B. Garfield, Rob Gould, Bob Granzow, Katherine Halverson, Pat Humphrey, Dean Isaacson, Roger Johnson, Gary Kadar, Terry King, Carl Lee, David Loewen, Megan Mocko, Adam Molnar, Julia Norton, Roxy Peck, Amy Phelps, Rebecca Pierce, Paul Plummer, Neal Rogness, Deepak Sanjel, Sue Schou, Leigh Slauson, Norean Sharpe, Walt Stroup, Gail Tudor, Dex Whittinghill, and David Zeitler.

Thank you, Jackie Dietz, for your work on the newsletter, web page and mailing list. Thanks also to you, Joan Garfield, for your tremendous work on the newsletter. In spite of your hectic schedule at JSM, Ron Wasserstein, you have continued to organize the contributed paper award, and you deeply deserve our appreciation. Thank you, members of the small strategic planning group, for both your initial and continuing efforts to develop a strategic plan for our Section. The entire Executive Committee has been extremely responsive and has done their jobs very well; I want to thank you for those efforts. Finally, I want to thank 2008 Past Chair Jessica Utts. Jessica, you always bring a positive attitude, wisdom, and support to all Section activities; thank you.

Thanks to every single Section member because you contribute to the success of the Section and to Statistical Education.


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