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Highlights of the July Board of Directors Meeting

1 October 2017 46 views No Comment
2017 Board of Directors
Barry Nussbaum, President
Lisa LaVange, President-elect
Jessica Utts, Past President
Rob Santos, 3rd-Year Vice President
Kathy Ensor, 2nd-Year Vice President
David Williamson, 1st-Year Vice President
Wendy Lou, 3rd-Year Council of Chapters Rep
Paula Roberson, 2nd-Year Council of Chapters Rep
Julia Sharp, 1st-Year Council of Chapters Rep
Anna Nevius, 3rd-Year Council of Sections Rep
Eileen King, 2nd-Year Council of Sections Rep
Jim Lepkowski, 1st-Year Council of Sections Rep
Cynthia Bocci, International Rep
David van Dyk, Publications Rep
Amarjot Kaur, Treasurer
Ron Wasserstein, Executive Director and Board Secretary

The ASA Board met in Baltimore immediately prior to JSM 2017. ASA President Barry Nussbaum convened the two-day meeting. The highlights of the meeting follow.

Discussion items:

  • The board had a preliminary discussion about a proposal to start a data science certification program. The board expressed strong interest in further consideration of such a program and will seek additional input in the upcoming months.
  • The board also considered a request for the ASA to submit an amicus brief on Gill v. Whitford, a case on gerrymandering in Wisconsin to be heard by the Supreme Court this fall. The ASA will consider joining with other groups who might be preparing such a brief. The ASA focus would be on the value of statistical methods to address questions related to gerrymandering, but would not recommend one specific method over others.

Action items:

  • The board endorsed the 6th edition of Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency. Produced by the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT), the book sets forth four principles and 13 practices for a federal statistical agency. The ASA Board previously endorsed the fourth and fifth editions. The board thanked former CNSTAT director Connie Citro for decades of outstanding public service and expressed its gratitude to current director Brian Harris-Kojetin. Citro and Harris-Kojetin noted the sixth edition is dedicated to former ASA President Miron Straf.
  • The board approved in principle a campaign to increase public awareness of the importance, reliability, and trustworthiness of government statistics. Details are being worked out by the executive director and will be reviewed by the Executive Committee of the Board.
  • The ASA Board approved a budget of $10.9 million for 2018.

Reported items:

  • Science Policy Director Steve Pierson provided preliminary results for the survey of 2016 bachelor’s degree recipients in statistics. He presented high-level results and outlined next steps. Pierson also presented National Center for Education Statistics data on degrees and American Mathematical Society data on unemployment rates for mathematicians and statisticians. Further analysis will take place, and results will be released soon.
  • Associate Executive Director and Director of Operations Steve Porzio updated the board on ASA mid-year finances for 2017. The financial picture is as expected and budgeted for thus far in 2017.
  • ASA Treasurer Amarjot Kaur reported on the ASA’s investments and reviewed the oversight activities of the Finance Committee thus far. She noted the market value of the ASA portfolio increased about $1.4 million in the first half of this year.
  • The board received progress reports on the three strategic initiatives launched by Nussbaum. All are well underway. In addition, ASA President-elect Lisa LaVange provided details for two new initiatives for 2018 based on the ASA’s Strategic Plan and the efforts of her predecessors. Details about all these initiatives will appear in later issues of Amstat News.
  • The Council of Chapters Governing Board (COCGB) and Council of Sections Governing Board (COSGB) reported on their recent activities. The COCGB highlighted its JSM programs and briefly updated the board on its “chapter stimulus program.” The COSGB has focused on promoting section health and growing section membership.
  • Michelle Schwalbe—director of the Board of Mathematical Sciences and Analytics (BMSA) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine—updated the board on BMSA activities, particularly the work of the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics (CATS). She was joined by Ben Wender, director of CATS. They spoke about the history and role of CATS and walked through the many projects CATS is simultaneously managing. Schwalbe said CATS helps organizations without statisticians understand the importance of statistics and how statistics applies to their work.
  • Executive Director Ron Wasserstein reported on the comments he received from his blog and a message to members through ASA Connect asking for feedback on the conclusions reached by the board during its discussion of ASA statements. The board expressed gratitude for the comments received. At present, the board is making no changes to its processes for determining when the ASA should issue a statement on a matter.
  • Amanda Malloy, director of development, presented a report on the development program, which has just completed its third year. She reviewed our development strategy and messaging, as well as reminding the board of the new methods developed for communicating with members. Malloy also reviewed giving data with the board and mentioned we are benchmarking our program with that of other societies. She said the most common question associated with development is, “Why does the ASA need money?” She said this question opens the door to discussing our programs.
  • ASA Director of Education Rebecca Nichols reported on three aspects of our education work. She said the American Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges endorsed the Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) College Report. She noted the educational ambassador program continues to go well and that there will be funding for two ambassadors next year. Nichols also highlighted the well-attended teacher workshops at JSM, the Meeting Within a Meeting workshops and the Beyond AP Statistics workshop.
  • Pierson reported on the ASA’s advocacy efforts, including efforts to work with the new administration, supporting science and statistical agency budgets, providing support for Greek statistician Andreas Georgiou, and attempts to strengthen forensic science.

Nussbaum thanked the ASA staff for its work, noting especially efforts for the current JSM. He also expressed appreciation for the board’s commitment to the ASA and its active participation at this meeting.

The board meets again November 17–18 at ASA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.

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