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NISS Meeting Addresses Transition

1 January 2015 No Comment

The National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) held its annual board of trustees meeting November 7–8, 2014, at its headquarters in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. NISS is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to identify, catalyze, and foster high-impact, cross-disciplinary, and cross-sector research involving the statistical sciences. About 25 members of the board of trustees and members of the corporation attended the meeting.

Acting Director Nell Sedransk gave historical perspective on how the organization was formed and grew to what it is today and talked about ways the organization is reorganizing to prepare for a new director’s arrival: Infrastructure such as the email system, servers, and security system is being updated; every board member is serving on at least one committee; and a new intranet was developed to allow more communication to flow among committee members.

The Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute’s (SAMSI) director, Richard Smith, also talked about the similarities and differences between the two organizations. One consensus was that SAMSI is a grant, not a 501(c)(3) like NISS, and that SAMSI’s goal is to stimulate research, while NISS’s goal is to conduct statistical research. Also, SAMSI’s focus includes applied mathematics and statistical sciences, while NISS’ focus is much more on the statistical sciences.

The search committee reported that the search for a new director is moving along well. They expect to name a new director this spring, and that person will most likely start in the summer.

The communications director, Jamie Nunnelly, talked about increased efforts to raise brand awareness of NISS and to communicate with the statistics community more often. The organization expects to have more outreach to its former postdoctoral fellows, of which there are about 70 who have worked at NISS over the past 24 years. A new website is going to be developed to meet the institute’s current needs better.

NISS held a special reception honoring former director, Alan Karr. In addition to the board and corporation members, some of Karr’s friends attended.

The board will hold a meeting March 6–7 to discuss the mission and vision of NISS and the changes taking place.

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