ASA Stat. Ed. Section Newsletter - V10 N2

Newsletter of the Section on Statistical Education of the American Statistical Association

Contents of Volume 10, Number 2 (Fall 2004):
  • Report from the Section Chair
  • Editors
  • Mark Your Calendar
  • Report on Joint Stat Ed and TSHS Dinner at JSM 2004
  • CAUSE Launches
  • Mentoring Program Within the Section on Statistical Education
  • ASA Mentors Partner with AP Statistics Teachers
  • United States Conference on Teaching Statistics (USCOTS)
  • The ARTIST Roundtable Conference on Assessment in Statistics Education
  • NSF Postdoctoral Fellow Position Announcement
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    Report from the Section Chair

    Ron Wasserstein
    Washburn University

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

    It has been an honor and a delight to serve as your chair of the Statistical Education Section this year. We've accomplished many things in the past 12 months. While I shall not list them (because they have been amply chronicled in this fine newsletter), I do want to thank the members of the Statistical Education Section Executive Committee for their hard work and outstanding leadership. What a tremendous group!

    Having been a member of this section for a very long time (I'd rather not mention HOW long), I've had the privilege of observing and learning from many great statistics educators. I find it particularly exciting now to see how many new faces are emerging on the scene, showing remarkable insight into how students learn and how we need to teach. And the "not-so-new" folks continue to add depth to our understanding of statistics education. My classes benefit every year from the things I learn from you all, and I benefit personally as well, because your ideas help make the classroom more interesting to me as well.

    I have so enjoyed the opportunity to be your section chair, and to experience first hand your dedication to our profession, your commitment to students, and your own love of learning. Thank you for this privilege, and I look forward to working with you in other capacities in the years to come.

    Best wishes,

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

    Comments and suggestions for the improvement of the newsletter are most welcome, and should be sent to a member of the editorial board.

    Brian Jersky
    Sonoma State University
    Rohnert Park, CA 94928-3613
    (707) 664-2361
    Fax: (707) 664-3535

    Joan Garfield
    Department of Educational Psychology
    University of Minnesota
    332 Burton Hall
    128 Pillsbury Dr., S.E.
    Minneapolis MN 55455
    (612) 625-0337
    Fax: (612) 624-8241

    E. Jacquelin Dietz
    Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
    Meredith College
    3800 Hillsborough Street
    Raleigh, NC 27607-5298
    (919) 760-8234
    Fax: (919) 760-8141

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

    May 19, 2005 - May 21, 2005
    United States Conference on Teaching Statistics (USCOTS)
    "Building Connections for Undergraduate Statistics Teaching"

    July 2, 2006 - July 7, 2006
    7th International Conference on Teaching Statistics (ICOTS)
    Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
    "Working cooperatively in statistics education"

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    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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    CAUSE Launches

    Dennis Pearl
    Director, CAUSE
    Ohio State University

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

    The Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education (CAUSE) launched its website,, at JSM in an invited session sponsored by the Section on Statistics Education. CAUSE is a national organization whose mission is to support and advance undergraduate statistics education in four target areas: resources, professional development, outreach, and research. is funded by a digital library grant from the National Science Foundation. CAUSEweb already features a searchable annotated listing of more than 1500 reference articles in statistics education, more than 300 high quality resources for teaching statistics, more than 30 cartoons for free use by statistics instructors, a calendar of research and professional development events, and a growing collection of refereed items providing the core of the library's holdings. CAUSEweb is also the place to go to find out about the upcoming US Conference on Teaching Statistics being hosted by CAUSE May 19-21, 2005 (see

    The CAUSEweb editorial board reviews items using the criteria of the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT: This involves reviewing strengths and weaknesses in content quality, effectiveness for teaching, and ease of use. Lesson plans, learning objectives, assessment methods, and research evidence of effectiveness will provide crucial supplemental materials when available. The 20-member editorial board includes statistics educators from research universities, four-year colleges, two-year colleges, and high school AP statistics environments.

    Since JSM, 15 to 20 people per week have registered log-in names at Registering allows you to submit items for review and user profiles will soon be used to provide tailor-made content to those who are logged in.

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    Mentoring Program Within the Section on Statistical Education

    Joy Jordan
    Lawrence University

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

    As a service to new faculty members in the Section on Statistical Education (EDUC) and as a potential way to increase membership, an EDUC mentoring program has been created. Members of the section who are in their first five years of teaching are now given the opportunity to have a mentor. The mentor will serve as a resource for the new faculty member with regard to academic issues (e.g., choosing a textbook, creating new courses, balancing teaching and research). Many schools already have mentoring programs in place, but an EDUC mentor can still be effective, as he/she can bring a valuable perspective from outside the specific college of the mentee (note: mentee = person being mentored).

    The expectations of the mentor are fairly limited and hopefully not too time consuming: 1) Meet with his/her mentee while at JSM -- either through an official EDUC mentor/mentee event, or informally at lunch or dinner; 2) initiate contact with his/her mentee a few times during the academic year, either by phone or email; and 3) answer any questions that his/her mentee has during the course of the academic year. The official mentoring relationship will last for two years, although it can continue informally for much longer.

    The program officially began this August with a successful mentor/mentee breakfast at JSM. There are currently six mentor/mentee pairings, and I am now in search of new mentees.

    I would greatly appreciate your help with the mentoring program. Please contact me (via email or phone) if


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    ASA Mentors Partner with AP Statistics Teachers

    Roxy Peck -- Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
    Rob Gould, UCLA

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

    Last summer, 32 AP Statistics teachers participated in an intensive professional development experience as part of the INSPIRE (INsight into Statistical Practice, Instruction and Reasoning) project. Through this NSF-funded project, UCLA and Cal Poly -- San Luis Obispo, in collaboration with the American Statistical Association, work with teachers to prepare them to teach the content of the introductory statistics course. The first-year experience consisted of a weeklong summer workshop followed by a year-long online course designed specifically for secondary teachers.

    Teachers who successfully completed the first year were eligible to participate in a second-year enrichment experience designed to provide participants with experience solving statistical problems under the guidance of a practicing statistician working in industry or government. In July of this year, twelve dedicated teachers returned to Cal Poly for a "Beyond AP" style weeklong workshop planned to prepare them for project work by introducing statistical methods beyond those covered in the introductory statistics course. Instructors Beth Chance, Allan Rossman, Robin Lock, and Tom Short taught sessions on statistical consulting and statistical software, and a variety of statistical methods, including analysis of variance, multiple regression, logistic regression.

    At the completion of the workshop, each teacher was then matched to an ASA mentor who will guide them through the process of developing a project proposal and then as the teachers carry out the proposed project. ASA mentors include: Karla Ballman, Rob Carver, Jimmy Elfird, Paul Fields, Lisa Ganio, David Gagnon, Suzanne Hendrix, Roger Hoerl, Ghada Khoury, David Rumpf, Greg Snow, and Heidi Weiss. Judy O'Fallon and Carolyn Morgan recruited the ASA mentors for the project and will be overseeing the "practicum experience". Even though the projects that the teachers will be engaged in will generally involve statistical methods and skills that are beyond what is taught in high school statistics courses, our hope is that by experiencing the work of statistician, teachers will develop a more complete picture of the discipline and, as a consequence, become better teachers of statistics. Next year we will hopefully be able to report on the success of this endeavor!

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    United States Conference on Teaching Statistics (USCOTS), May 19-21, 2005

    Deb Rumsey
    USCOTS Program Chair

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

    The first United States Conference on Teaching Statistics (USCOTS) will be held on May 19-21, 2005, at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, hosted by CAUSE, the Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education.

    Goals of USCOTS

    Special Features of USCOTS

    USCOTS Program Committee:
    Deb Rumsey (Chair); Jackie Miller (Co-chair); Richard Alldredge; Bob delMas; Mark Earley; Peter Flanagan-Hyde; Christine Franklin; Joan Garfield; Rob Gould; Bill Harkness; Brad Hartlaub; Sterling Hilton; John Holcomb; Bob Johnson; Carl Lee; Robin Lock; Marsha Lovett; Mary Parker; Dennis Pearl; Jeff Witmer

    To Register for USCOTS, go to the USCOTS website:

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    The ARTIST Roundtable Conference on Assessment in Statistics Education

    Beth Chance
    Cal Poly -- San Luis Obispo

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

    Over 30 statistics instructors (from 4 different countries) participated in the ARTIST Roundtable Conference on Assessment held August 1-4 at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI.  Participants gathered to present and discuss issues related to assessing student’s outcomes in college statistics courses. The Conference was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, as part of the Assessment Resource Tools for Improving Statistical Thinking (ARTIST) Project, directed by Joan Garfield, Bob delMas, and Beth Chance. (See

    Plenary speakers included George Cobb, Peter Holmes, Michael Rodriguez, Roxy Peck, Norean Sharpe, John Holcomb, and Joy Jordan. In addition, 17 talks were given on assessment theory/designing an assessment program, classroom assessment strategies, and authentic assessment methods.  Participants also engaged in small group discussions about computerized testing software, developing exams that assess students at deeper levels, creating tasks that create cognitive dissonance, assessment in large classes, using classroom assessment techniques, group projects, scoring rubrics, and using writing as assessment.  Participants were also oriented to, and provided feedback on, the ARTIST Assessment Builder and web resources.  Papers and handouts from the conference will soon be available in a proceedings document at the ARTIST website.

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    NSF Postdoctoral Fellow Position Announcement

    Unique Opportunity for Recent Statistics or Biostatistics Ph.D.s for Teaching and Research

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

    This two-year NSF-sponsored postdoctoral position will provide recent PhDs in statistics or biostatistics a unique opportunity to teach and conduct research at an undergraduate institution. Successful candidates will serve as a mentor and role model for enthusiastic undergraduates. Unlike entry-level tenure-track positions at most teaching institutions, this position offers a two-year half time teaching and half time research assignment. In addition to gaining teaching experience, the Fellow will have opportunities to mentor student researchers, work on their own research, and participate as an associate of a newly established Center for Interdisciplinary Research (CIR). The Fellow will be mentored and supported by two doctoral level statisticians and a department of experienced, dedicated professors. A variety of new hires in response to a commitment to interdisciplinary collaborations make for a stimulating, productive environment with opportunities in a variety of fields. The Fellow will be teaching 4 statistics courses each year at all levels including a capstone seminar for students concentrating in statistics during their second year. The Fellow will also benefit from annual reviews of their teaching and receive assistance in their search for a tenure-track position after their association with St. Olaf. Money to travel to appropriate meetings and workshops will be available.

    Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, 2 year NSF post-doctoral fellow, beginning September 1, 2005.

    Review of completed applications will begin on October 1, 2004, and will continue until the position is filled.

    Applicants should provide a curriculum vita, copies of undergraduate and graduate transcripts, a statement of teaching interests and philosophy and a summary of research interests and goals,.  In addition, applicants should have letters of reference sent by three persons who are well acquainted with the applicant's professional qualifications, at least one of which addresses the applicant's teaching performance and potential. Inquiries and applications should be addressed to:

    Julie Legler, Sc. D.
    Director, Statistics Program
    Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science
    1520 St.Olaf Ave.
    Northfield, MN 55057
    voice: (507) 646-3573
    fax: (507) 646-3116

    The St. Olaf Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science (MSCS) is one of five departments within the Faculty of Natural Science and Mathematics.  The Department graduates approximately 60 mathematics majors and 16 statistics concentrators each year. From 1991-200, approximately 50 St. Olaf students went on to earn a PhD in mathematics or statistics, ranking first among all Undergraduate Liberal Arts (UGLA) schools, eleventh among all schools (NSF Survey of Earned Doctorates, 2001).

    The MSCS Department has a faculty of 24 including two doctoral level statisticians who lead the Statistics Program. We have had a statistics concentration (similar to a minor) for over twenty years and offer several upper-level courses annually. We have a long-standing, robust undergraduate research program in the sciences. For the last twelve years, with the support of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and other sources, we have had approximately forty undergraduate research students (under the supervision of twenty-five faculty) in the natural sciences each summer. An NSF grant for the Statistics Program totaling $1.3 million will allow statistics students to join these interdisciplinary research teams following preparation and collaboration during the academic year. International study programs are also a source of research collaborations; nearly two-thirds of each graduating class study abroad including a biostatistics interim to Geneva to work with WHO researchers and a program in South India.

    St. Olaf College, located approximately 35 miles south of the downtown areas of Minneapolis/St. Paul and 40 miles north of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, is a highly selective, private liberal arts college enrolling approximately 3000 students. General information about the College and its academic programs may be found at  Detailed information about the MSCS Department and the NSF Center for Interdisciplinary Research may be found at See the link labeled PP.

    A liberal arts college affiliated with the Lutheran Church (ELCA), St. Olaf College is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and values diversity in its students, faculty and staff.  Applications by women and minorities are encouraged.

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