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NISS Welcomes James Rosenberger as New Director

1 October 2017 100 views No Comment

James Rosenberger speaks to attendees after being named the new NISS director during the NISS JSM reception July 31.
Photo Credit: Greg Dohler

    National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) chair, Mary Batcher, announced James Rosenberger as the new NISS director, which became effective August 1, during the NISS JSM reception July 31. Rosenberger succeeds Nell Sedransk.

    Speaking about Rosenberger at the NISS reception, Batcher said, “Rosenberger is highly regarded and well liked in the statistical community. He has held several leadership roles in the American Statistical Association and is well qualified to lead NISS through a period of expansion. His continuing association with Penn State is also valuable.”

    Rosenberger is the former head of the department of statistics at The Pennsylvania State University. Under his leadership, the department recruited top-notch faculty who excelled during their time at the university. The department grew in terms of publications, citations, and federal grant support. “Overall, the national prestige of the department increased,” said Andrew Stephenson, Penn State associate dean for research and innovation.

    Stephenson continued, “Statistics maintained its reputation around campus for outstanding pedagogy, and statistics gained the reputation [of] being a well-run and highly functional department. Most attribute these successes to Jim’s attitude. He saw the role of being a department head as a ‘service role.’ Jim’s a rock-solid guy who always had the best interests of the department in mind.”

    Rosenberger’s research interests include linear models, design and analysis of experiments, and bioinformatics and genomics. He is a Fellow of the ASA and American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Biometrics Society and Institute of Mathematical Statistics.

    At JSM 2016 in Chicago, Rosenberger was honored with the ASA’s Founders Award, recognizing his career-long support of and involvement in the ASA. Speaking about Rosenberger’s commitment of 45 years to the ASA, Ronald Wasserstein, executive director, said, “I love working with Jim. He is a thoughtful leader who is committed to the success of ASA and NISS. Because he knows both organizations well, he is uniquely positioned to further strengthen the partnership between these two organizations.”

    “I am very pleased to join NISS and look forward to working with our affiliates to build stronger connections between industry, government, and academia about data science and statistics,” said Rosenberger.

    NISS is at a critical juncture, having separated this year from SAMSI—the NSF-funded Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute. For the past decade, SAMSI was housed in the NISS building in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and worked cooperatively on workshops and programs. “This synergistic relationship with shared space and postdocs working together was beneficial, but also caused some confusion in the community about distinguishing their separate missions. Therefore, creating a separate and distinct mission for NISS is a short-term challenge that we will focus on immediately by hosting events in various locations and building a national network,” said Rosenberger.

    Rosenberger succeeds Sedransk, who served as the director of NISS since 2015. Speaking about Sedransk’s contribution to NISS at the NISS reception, Batcher said, “During her tenure, Nell led NISS to a solid financial footing, increased the engagement of the Board of Trustees, and provided outstanding leadership to the organization.”

    Nell will continue as director of the Washington, DC, office, where she will focus on her projects and working with the postdocs.”

    “Data science challenges the field of statistics to provide new routes to answers in a big data world. For NISS, the response is the expansion of the leadership team, diversification of the senior expertise, and widening the sphere of applications and impact, said Sedransk. “Rosenberger is well suited to leading this vision as NISS director from his association with NISS for over a decade, taking on various roles with the board of trustees and several NISS committees, as well as from his leadership roles in the statistics department at The Pennsylvania State University and from the professional statistics community nationally and internationally,” continued Sedransk.

    NISS was founded in North Carolina more than 25 years ago with support from the state and three universities in the Research Triangle. The organization’s vision was national and, in recent years, it has expanded primarily in the Washington, DC, area, with research- and policy-related activities with government agencies. “My current goal is to expand the outreach of NISS to additional agencies in DC and also broaden the base to additional industry affiliates to provide linkages with the academic community through our affiliates,” said Rosenberger.

    Penn State has extensive linkages to the industry through its alumni and existing programs, so Rosenberger has proposed creating an additional hub at Penn State while maintaining the hubs in North Carolina and DC. Thus, part of the expansion plan is to have a NISS hub at The Pennsylvania State University. “We are excited that Pennsylvania State and statistics is playing a larger role in NISS,” said Stephenson.

    Rosenberger is the public face of NISS when establishing new relationships and continuing existing relationships with academic institutions, industry, and government agencies. Batcher said, “We look forward to working with Rosenberger as the NISS director and, together, aim to expand NISS geographically and strengthen the affiliate program. Rosenberger brings the leadership ability, knowledge, and a network of statistical colleagues to meet these opportunities.”

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