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ASA Fellow Award Revisited

1 August 2009 4,198 views No Comment
Robert Starbuck

Awards08 046The 2009 ASA Fellow awards were presented during JSM in Washington, DC. Presented below is a brief update to previous articles on this subject appearing in Amstat News. A few corrections have been made to previous counts of Fellow nominees and awardees.

Employment Sector

In the range of years shown, the percentages of ASA members by employment sector have remained relatively stable: 42% academe, 47% business/industry, and 11% government.

The counts of ASA Fellow awards given by employment sector since 2004 are presented in Table 1 and Figure 1.

The percentages of Fellows awarded by employment sector relative to the percentages of ASA membership by sector are shown in Figure 2.

The counts and percentages of Fellow nominations by employment sector are shown in Table 2.

So, how have the nominations fared in each of the employment sectors? As shown in Table 3 and Figure 3, nominations submitted in 2009 from the business/industry sector had a greater chance of success than nominations from the two other sectors, and government had the lowest chance of success.


At the request of ASA President Sally Morton, I am including an analysis of Fellow awards by gender. The membership of the ASA has changed significantly in the percentages of females and males, as illustrated in Table 4 and Figure 4. This table looks at the current membership, and subsets who joined the ASA in ranges of previous years.

Assuming the number of departures from ASA membership has been proportional to gender (i.e., females and males are equally likely to discontinue or remain ASA members), there has been a noticeable increase in the percentage of female members.

The ASA Fellow award is almost always given to ASA members who have reached mid-career, and as such, the gender percentages of ASA membership that are appropriate reference points for years 2004–2009 are those reflecting members who joined the ASA on or before 1994–1999. Thus, the relevant reference percentages for females for Fellow nominations and awards are in the 21% to 23% range.

The counts and percentages by gender of ASA Fellow nominations in 2004–2009 are presented in Table 5.

The percentages of female nominees have been slightly below the reference percentages for three of the six years, and substantially below in 2009.

The counts and percentages by gender of ASA Fellow awards in 2004–2009 are presented in Table 6, and the counts are presented in Figure 5.

The percentages of female Fellow awardees have been generally reflective of the reference percentages for all but 2009. As shown in Table 7 and Figure 6, the decline in the percentage of female Fellow awardees in 2009 is due to the lower percentage of female Fellow nominations. For nominees, the chance of success is about the same for each gender.


The number of Fellow nominations from a given employment sector or gender is a key factor in determining the number of awards from that sector. The other obvious key factor is the quality of the nominations. To increase the number of Fellow awards in the business/industry employment sector or in the female gender to achieve parity in the percentages of awards relative to the percentages of ASA membership (see figures 2 and 5), the number of nominations from business/industry and females needs to increase, and these nominations need to be of good quality.

The ASA Fellow award is a significant recognition of contributions to the statistics profession, and one that should reflect the constituency of the membership of the ASA. If you or others you know of are deserving of this award, participate in and encourage others to participate in the award nomination process.

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