The ASA will celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2014. In preparation, column “175”—written by members of the ASA’s 175th Anniversary Steering Committee and other ASA members—will chronicle the theme chosen for the celebration, status of preparations, activities to take place, and, best yet, how you can get involved in propelling the ASA toward its bicentennial.
Ron Wasserstein is the ASA’s executive director and president of Kappa Mu Epsilon National Mathematics Honor Society. Previously, he was vice president for academic affairs at Washburn University.
Christy Chuang-Stein is the chair of the 175th Anniversary Steering Committee and head of the Statistical Research and Consulting Center at Pfizer. She served as an ASA vice president from 2009–2011.
Members of the ASA’s 175th Anniversary Steering Committee are excited about the progress of plans to make the 175th anniversary an important landmark in the ASA’s history and eager to share this progress with the ASA membership. That is the purpose of this month’s column.
As you have previously read here, the theme for the 175th anniversary is “Celebrate Our Past, Energize Our Future.” The steering committee has been meeting twice monthly by conference call for many months to develop strategies and plans around both parts of the theme. While sharing our strategies and plans with you, we also want to let you know that many of the plans are already in motion.
The steering committee focused first on forward-looking projects to energize our future. Working with the ASA Board of Directors, it established three areas of focus: education, membership growth, and impact of statistics. Each was given its own “code name”: StatSharp, StatGrowth, and StatImpact, respectively.
Plans for StatSharp are well under way. Members and staff plan to develop a virtual summer camp for secondary-school teachers to help them better teach statistics to meet the requirements of the Common Core State Standards. In a related effort, ASA members Chris Franklin and Tim Jacobbe are leading a group that will write a document called “The Statistical Education of Teachers” (SET) in 2014. The SET corresponds to a document called “The Mathematical Education of Teachers,” published by the Conference Board for the Mathematical Sciences. These activities will be a major contribution toward improving secondary-level statistical instruction.
The StatGrowth initiative is based on the idea that the ASA’s membership should be able to rise to the 20,000 level and beyond. The steering committee is collaborating with the Committee on Member Retention and Recruitment to find mission-appropriate ways to increase membership. It also is working with the Council of Chapters Governing Board to support chapters in their local outreach endeavors to quantitative professionals who have yet to engage with chapters or the ASA.
StatImpact expresses the idea that the impact of statistics upon people and their environment is highly positive, but also unrecognized by many in our societies. The steering committee would like to use the year 2014 to highlight that impact. The JSM 2014 theme will focus on the impact of statistics. The steering committee is working with the editor of the journal Statistics in Biopharmaceutical Research to highlight statistics contributions to major advancements in biopharmaceutical research in a special section of the journal in 2014. A major public relations campaign is under consideration, details of which will be reported in this column as they develop.
Needless to say, the steering committee has big plans to celebrate our past during 2014. One hundred seventy-five years is a major milestone, one that has been reached by only one other professional society in the United States (the American Philosophical Society). The steering committee plans to start the celebrations with special activities and giveaways at JSM 2013 in Montréal. It will host a breakfast mixer on August 7 with targeted invitees from section, committee, and chapter leadership to help broaden its plans for 2014. Also, the Committee on Archives and Historical Materials is hard at work making plans for reminding us of important parts of our past.
During JSM 2014, a major celebratory party is planned. Activities include a talent show and slide show of the association and its members. The steering committee will announce later how interested (and willing) members can participate in the talent show at the party over, yes, food and drink. It also plans to reach out to those with known talents. So, please keep up the much-coveted talents. Your association will need you!
Recognizing that many people are not able to attend JSM, the steering committee is working to extend the celebration well beyond the meetings. Chapters and sections will be pivotal in these plans, and a website is under development.
The steering committee hopes you are enjoying and engaging in the International Year of Statistics this year and getting warmed up to celebrate 175 years of promoting the practice and profession of statistics. The ASA is our association, and statistics is our profession. The steering committee is determined to find ways to celebrate both with all of you!