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Highlights of the April 2016 ASA Board of Directors Meeting

1 July 2016 236 views One Comment

ASA President Jessica Utts convened the board’s first meeting of the year at the ASA’s headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The highlights of the meeting follow.

Discussion Items

  • The board heard a report on the response to the ASA Statement on P-Values and Statistical Significance and discussed plans for following up on the statement.

  • Roger Tourangeau, president-elect of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), discussed ideas for collaborations between AAPOR and the ASA. As a result of the discussion, two joint task forces have been formed to develop a white paper on detecting data falsification in surveys and consider how to improve the climate for surveys, especially with regard to essential data collection activities of the federal government.

  • The board had the opportunity to hear about and discuss funding activities and priorities with three senior leaders from research funders: Chaitan Baru, senior adviser for data science in the NSF Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate; Michelle Dunn, senior adviser for data science training, diversity, and outreach in the NIH Office of the Associate Director for Data Science; and Henry Warchall, senior adviser in the NSF Division of Mathematical Sciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate.

Action Items

  • A revised version of the ASA’s Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice was approved by the board, which thanked Howard Hogan and the other members of the Committee on Professional Ethics for a job very well done.

  • The board passed a resolution saying “the ASA will not sign contracts for meetings in any state that passes laws that discriminate against individuals based on gender, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, religion, age, national origin, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or other protected status.”

  • At the recommendation of search committees and the Committee on Publications, the board appointed the following editors for terms to begin next year:

    • Regina Liu
      , Rutgers University, and Hongyu Zhao, Yale University, co-editors, JASA Theory and Methods

      F. Jay Breidt, Colorado State University, JASA/TAS Reviews

      Scott Evans, Harvard University, CHANCE (2nd term)

      Frank Bretz, Novartis, Statistics in Biopharmaceutical Research

  • The SPAIG Award was reinstated after a multi-year hiatus.

  • Journal prices were reviewed and an increase of 5% on institutional North American and international print and online prices for 2017 was approved. There is no increase planned for ASA member rates for print subscriptions.

  • Five proposals through the Member Initiative Program were funded by the board.

  • The board approved funding to make the ASA a sponsor of the 2016 Data Science and Applied Analytics (DSAA) Conference.

Reported Items

  • On the financial side, Mingxiu Hu, ASA treasurer, reported to the board on the status of the ASA’s investments. Last year was not a good one for equities, but our investments are still in good shape overall. Associate Executive Director and Director of Operations Steve Porzio reported on the 2015 ASA end-of-year financials. The ASA operated at $237,000 in the black during 2015. He said the ASA continues to be in good financial condition and that 2016 net income is also expected to be in the black. The board received the ASA’s 2015 audit, which was once again a “clean audit,” and thanked Porzio and the staff for its great work in that regard.

  • As part of the ongoing development of board members, the ASA’s auditor reviewed the basics of fiduciary responsibilities for nonprofit boards.

  • Nell Sedransk, director of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS), discussed the transitions taking place at NISS and looked at future directions of the organization.

  • Trevor Butterworth and Rebecca Goldin reported to the board on the activities and plans for STATS.org, the ASA’s media outreach in partnership with Sense About Science USA. Exciting plans for statistics training workshop development for media personnel were discussed. Response to current workshops and to STATS.org in general has been very good.

  • ASA Vice President Jeri Mulrow reported to the board on the activities of the committees that make up the ASA’s Membership Council. For each, she reported on its major accomplishments of the past year and its anticipated activities for the coming year. Regular communication between the board and the various committees is essential to efficient operation of the association.

  • Equally important to the efficiency and effectiveness of the ASA are the chapters and sections, so, as it always does, the board heard detailed reports from the governing boards of both groups and their respective activities. The Council of Chapters Governing Board is considering ways to get more chapter representation at JSM. The Council of Sections Governing Board is addressing issues related to the cap on the number of topic-contributed sessions at JSM.

  • President Jessica Utts reported on the progress of her strategic initiatives for 2016. (All initiatives of the ASA presidents are based on the ASA’s strategic plan.) The four initiatives are (1) getting information about careers in statistics into high-school statistics classes; (2) prioritizing the statistics education research agenda (as a help to funders); (3) developing media training for statisticians; and (4) creating a “statistical ambassadors’ roundtable.” All these initiatives are coming along on schedule.

  • President-elect Barry Nussbaum introduced to the board three areas of interest for developing specific initiatives during 2017. He said he wants to find ways to increase member engagement, improve communication, and reach out to young people as they consider career choices. He proposed specific ideas and asked for feedback. The board provided considerable feedback, which Nussbaum will use to formalize the initiatives. These initiatives will be formally presented to the board at a later meeting.

The board meets again July 29-30 in Chicago immediately prior to JSM.

2016 Board of Directors

Jessica Utts, President

Barry Nussbaum, President-elect

David Morganstein, Past President

Jeri Mulrow, 3rd-Year Vice President

Rob Santos, 2nd-Year Vice President

Kathy Ensor, 1st-Year Vice President

Dan Jeske, 3rd-Year Council of Chapters Representative

Wendy Lou, 2nd-Year Council of Chapters Representative

Paula Roberson, 1st-Year Council of Chapters Representative

Cyndy Long, 3rd-Year Council of Sections Representative

Anna Nevius, 2nd-Year Council of Sections Representative

Eileen King, 1st-Year Council of Sections Representative

Ming-Yen Cheng, International Representative

David van Dyk, Publications Representative

Ron Wasserstein, Executive Director and Board Secretary

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One Comment »

  • Jason Wilson said:

    Dear Colleagues,
    It saddens me to see the second action item, “the ASA will not sign contracts for meetings in any state that passes laws that discriminate against individuals based on gender, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, religion, age, national origin, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or other protected status.” While I heartily agree with the board’s opposition to discrimination, I do NOT think this expression of non-discrimination is in the best interests of our organization or our country. The April timing and language of the resolution give the appearance of the ASA aligning itself with the unconstitutional decree of the Obama administration to force public schools to allow students to choose which restroom/locker-room they use (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/13/us/politics/obama-administration-to-issue-decree-on-transgender-access-to-school-restrooms.html?_r=0). This is bad public policy and has already resulted in safety and privacy problems. I don’t want boys in the girls locker-room at my daughter’s school, do you? There are better ways to help transgender people. I hope the ASA will reconsider this resolution.

    A concerned father, ASA member, and US citizen;
    Jason Wilson