Jeff Witmer
Oberlin College

Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 1, Number 2 (Summer 1995)

Being the only statistician at Oberlin College, I often miss the interaction I had with other statisticians when I was in graduate school and when I taught within a statistics department at a large university. There are many isolated statisticians in academia, often within mathematics departments. Some of us have formed a group--the Isolated Statisticians--that meets each year at the Joint Statistics Meetings to discuss common problems and to provide moral support to each other.

We call our annual meeting the "department meeting" of isolated statisticians, because we discuss many of the things that are discussed in meetings of academic departments, such as "What are reasonable criteria for tenure or for annual salary increases?" and "What computer software are people using in their teaching?" We also discuss matters that are more specific to the role of the isolated statistician, such as "How do you get your Dean to recognize the importance of statistical consulting to the career of a statistician, the value of this consulting to the rest of the campus, and the time that consulting takes, if your college has never before employed a statistician?" and "How might we convince the Mathematical Association of America that their guidelines for programs in undergraduate mathematical sciences should give more emphasis to statistics?"

In addition to meeting each August, we have an e-mail list in which people can share questions and ideas throughout the year. Messages sent to the list, which is not moderated, are broadcast to the list, which currently has 54 members. (There are other members of the Isolated Statisticians who do not have e-mail accounts.)

"Membership" in the Isolated Statisticians group is open to everyone. As we say, if you feel isolated then you probably are. Most of us teach at small colleges, but there are a few statisticians from large universities among us. The only official function we have each year is the meeting in August, after which we go out to dinner together. We have requested 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, 13 August, as the time for this year's meeting in Orlando. The location has yet to be determined, but it will be listed in the program people get when they register for the meetings.

If you would like to be added to the group, you can contact

Jeff Witmer
Mathematics Department
Oberlin College
Oberlin, OH 44074
Phone: (216) 775-8381
FAX: (216) 775-8124

To contact the entire e-mail list, send a message to:

We'd love to hear from you.

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