ASA Board of Directors Candidates
The ASA announces the selection of candidates for the 2010 election. The winning candidates’ terms will begin in 2011. The ASA is emailing ballots this year, so look for your ballots in your email inbox. Paper ballots will be mailed only to those without email addresses on file with the ASA. Voting begins March 16, 2010, and ends May 17, 2010. Results will be announced after the election ends.
Click here for all of the candidates’ full biographies.
Voting is now open. To cast your vote, click here.
The ASA election procedures designate that this year’s candidates for president-elect represent the industrial sector of our membership. I have worked in statistics research and applications in the telecommunications industry for virtually my entire career. For many years, I was a member and supervisor in the statistics research department at Bell Labs when it was part of AT&T and then Lucent Technologies. Since 2000, I have led a group of about 10 PhDs (in statistics and computer science) in the data analysis research department of Avaya Labs, which was spun off of Lucent. Our group pursues applied research and applications of data analysis technology that is shaped by important, real-world problems faced by the company.
I have been fortunate to be involved in a variety of professional activities in the ASA and related organizations. One of the most satisfying aspects of my “outside” professional activities has been my involvement with K–12 statistics education through quantitative literacy activities of the ASA-NCTM Joint Committee on Curriculum in Statistics and Probability. Over a 20-year period, I helped lead several projects that produced curriculum materials and workshops for teachers. I coauthored five books that introduce modern ideas of data analysis and statistics into grade 7–12 classrooms by supplementing standard math textbooks. Two of these—Exploring Data and Exploring Surveys and Information from Samples—have, I think, been particularly influential. Today, statistics and probability are definitely part of the conversation regarding the K–12 mathematics and science curricula and are being included more broadly in national standards documents, curriculum materials, and assessments.
What are the challenges and opportunities for the ASA and our profession? The ASA exists to further the careers of our members, both individually and collectively, by advancing the profession. The core factor for the ASA’s past and continued success is volunteerism by our membership. While we need, and have, a highly competent professional staff, there would be no ASA as we know it without the voluntary efforts of our members. Hence, the overarching issue for the ASA is maintaining and strengthening this spirit of volunteerism as the issues, membership, and members’ working environments evolve. Volunteers often receive valuable career growth and satisfaction through their contributions to the ASA. I will strive to ensure that meaningful and rewarding volunteer opportunities are broadly available, distributed, and appreciated.
Meetings and publications are at the heart of the ASA’s activities. For meetings, JSM continues to be successful, but the overall meetings portfolio needs to broaden. We must make sure there are opportunities that appeal to all segments of our membership, especially the nonresearch-oriented groups. An idea to explore is creating smaller conferences and combining them with web-based training and communication sessions, both pre- and post-conference. Broadening the meetings portfolio can strengthen ties of current members to the association and increase the ASA’s appeal to nonmembers who are involved in statistics—an important goal for increasing membership.
The role of professional journals has clearly changed, and there are well-known and difficult problems facing professional societies as the electronic era changes our communication habits. My view is that the core and enduring value of our journals comes from the quality standards around content, relevance, and significance achieved through the peer-review process. This process fundamentally depends on the voluntary efforts of reviewers and editors, along with iteration and responsiveness of authors. To address challenges, the ASA needs to stay closely connected with similar societies so useful models can be explored, tested, and adopted.
Two other important aspects of the ASA are statistics education at all levels and outreach to multiple communities. One current opportunity is to use the large and often enthusiastic population of AP Statistics students to expand the number of undergraduate and graduate students who study statistics and enter our field. The ASA can’t do this by itself, but it should provide useful forums for sharing approaches and results. Education and outreach have been supported and seen as priorities by recent boards, and I will continue this. The challenge is to be sufficiently focused and effective.
Turning now to the profession overall, I see our main challenge as maintaining strong connections with the technology fields in which we work. We get to “play in everyone’s backyard,” as John Tukey once remarked. But to have fun and be effective, we have to continually relearn the terrain, and it’s not easy or quick. Specific technology fields differ among statisticians, and each of us is responsible for meeting our individual needs. But the ASA can and must help by serving as the focal point for our common concerns, providing opportunities for individual growth and connections, and enabling us to collectively achieve the appropriate impact with other communities.
Present Position: Director, Data Analysis Research Department, Avaya Labs
Former Positions: Statistics Research Department, Bell Labs (1973–2000); Assistant Professor and Lecturer, University of Michigan (1970–1973)
Degrees: PhD in statistics, University of Chicago, 1972; BA (magna cum laude) in mathematics and economics, Yale University, 1966
Fields of Major Statistical Activity: Applications in data networks and analytics for contact centers, modeling for categorical data and logistic regression, graphical methods, clustering, K–12
ASA Activities and Offices Held: Outstanding Statistical Application Award (2003); Frank Wilcoxon Award (2002); Founders Award (1994); Fellow (1990); Fellows Committee (2003–2005); E-Publications Task Force (2001–2004); Publications Representative to the Board (2000–2002); Editor of The American Statistician (1997–1999); Council of Sections Chair (1995); Executive Director Search Committee (1994–1995); Statistics Education, Physical and Engineering Sciences, and Statistical Graphics sections; New Jersey Chapter
Related Professional Activities: Chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences; Governing Board of the Statistics and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute; NAS-NRC Committee to Review NIST-Information Technology Laboratory, Statistical Engineering Division Panel; AAAS Fellow; NCTM; MAA; ISI; IMS; NSF
Robert N. Rodriguez
We are entering a new decade with unprecedented opportunities for statisticians to serve society. During this election, we need to ask how the American Statistical Association can become a stronger, more prominent advocate for our members as they engage in these opportunities. Where should we be headed, and how do we get there?
Broadening the benefits of membership. If the ASA is to play a leading role in the future of statistics, we must provide benefits and services that attract, retain, and involve increasingly diverse groups of statisticians. Recent statistics graduates do not perceive the same value in membership that attracted previous generations to our association. Many graduates, including new PhDs, are entering areas of interdisciplinary practice such as business analytics, genomics, and medical informatics, for which JSM is not a focal point. Others, especially MS graduates, work in environments in which their problemsolving skills are prized, but in which statistics as a discipline is undervalued and the ASA has little recognition.
Universities award more than 450 PhDs and 1,750 MS degrees in statistics and biostatistics annually. Imagine how our chapters and sections could grow—not just in numbers, but in vitality—if the majority of these graduates made the ASA their professional home. To reach this level, we must provide benefits that are valued by all statisticians, including training in professional career skills and continuing education in special topics not covered in graduate programs.
We also must offer value in more interdisciplinary areas. These goals can be accomplished through webinars, thematic conferences, industry working groups, and a richer ASA web site. Our chapters and sections possess the energy and expertise needed for these efforts, and they can help transform new statisticians into active members by providing career support and a personal sense of connection, challenge, and impact.
Building on the ASA’s strategic plan. Membership growth is one of eight areas of the strategic plan, which is the association’s roadmap and a framework within which ASA presidents can address long-term goals. Our presidents have embraced the plan since its adoption in 2008, and the ASA is simultaneously moving forward in all areas. I strongly believe in building on this momentum.
Two areas, in my opinion, that require sustained effort are public awareness (strengthening the external perception of the ASA and the statistics profession) and visibility and impact in policymaking (giving the profession a greater voice in public policy and science policy, where critical decisions must be based on statistical evidence). If we, as an association, can succeed in these areas, the next generation will see the ASA as an effective representative of the discipline and of themselves—a compelling reason to join our community.
Ultimately, all areas of the plan are highly interdependent, and all depend on the financial stability of the association. A current concern is the decline in income from journal subscriptions and advertising, two activities that have subsidized others in the past. I believe creative new revenue sources, along with careful financial oversight, are needed to fund more programs while sustaining our traditional strengths in publications, meetings, and educational activities. The Statistical Practice Conference now being planned is an example of a novel meeting that can provide additional member benefits and generate revenue.
Putting the plan into practice. As an ASA vice president, I gained extensive experience in accomplishing goals within the association. While chairing the Strategic Planning Task Force, I learned the importance of delegating responsibility to volunteers with vision and practical insight, building consensus among stakeholders, and communicating progress to all members. Participation in minority pipeline workshops and international conferences has taught me the diversity of our profession is a strength that must be nourished. My career at SAS has given me a broad perspective on all sectors of our membership, because I manage development of statistical software that bridges the needs of academics, industry, and government with methodological advances in statistics and biostatistics. These experiences have prepared me to be an effective leader for the ASA.
Present Position: Senior Director, Statistical Software Research & Development, SAS Institute
Former Positions: At SAS Institute: Director, Statistical Software R&D (2003–2007); Manager, Linear Models and Statistical Quality Improvement R&D (1992–2003); Manager, Statistical Quality Improvement R&D (1987–1992); Senior Research Statistician (1983–1987); at General Motors Research Laboratories: Staff Research Scientist (1977–1983)
Degrees: PhD in statistics, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1977; MS in statistics, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1976; BS in mathematics, Case Western Reserve University, 1972
Fields of Major Statistical Activity: Statistical computing and software development, statistical quality improvement, distributional modeling
Publications: More than 40, including papers on statistical quality improvement published in the Journal of Quality Technology, Encyclopedia of Statistical Sciences, and Biometrika and papers on statistical computing and software development published in conference proceedings
ASA Activities and Offices Held: Founders Award (2009); Fellow (2004); Vice President (2006–2008); Strategic Planning Task Force Chair (2007); Organizational Efficiency Workgroup Chair (2008–2009); Executive Director Search Committee Chair (2006); Budget Committee Chair (2008); Executive Committee (2008); Committee on Committees (2006–2008); ASA-SIAM Book Series Editor-in-Chief (2002–2004) and Editorial Board (1996–2001); Publications Committee (2001–2004); Section on Physical and Engineering Sciences Chair (2003) and Program Chair (2000); The American Statistician Associate Editor (2000–present); Council of Chapters Representative, North Carolina Chapter (1997-2000); Statistical Graphics Section Secretary-Treasurer (1987–1990); North Carolina Chapter Secretary (1983–1984); JSM session organizer
Related Professional Activities: Adjunct Professor, Statistics and Operations Research, UNC-Chapel Hill; 2008 ASA/ASQ Fall Technical Conference keynote speaker; Editorial Review Board, Journal of Quality Technology (1982–2008); Shewhart Medal Committee, American Society for Quality; more than 75 presentations at SAS user group conferences; member of ACM, ASQ, ENAR, ICSA, IISA, IMS, ISI (elected)