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Highlights of the August 2015 Board of Directors Meeting

1 October 2015 No Comment
2015 Board of Directors

David Morganstein, President
Jessica Utts, President-elect
Nat Schenker, Past President
Mingxiu Hu, Treasurer
Jim Rosenberger, Third-Year Vice President
Jeri Mulrow, Second-Year Vice President
Rob Santos, First-Year Vice President
Mary Kwasny, Third-Year Council of Chapters Representative
Dan Jeske, Second-Year Council of Chapters Representative
Wendy Lou, First-Year Council of Chapters Representative
Dick De Veaux, Third-Year Council of Sections Representative
Cyndy Long, Second-Year Council of Sections Representative
Anna Nevius, First-Year Council of Sections Representative
Ming-Yen Cheng, International Representative
David van Dyk, Publications Representative
Ron Wasserstein, Executive Director and Board Secretary

ASA President David Morganstein welcomed the board to Seattle for its annual pre-JSM meeting. He opened by thanking staff and ASA volunteers for what would prove to be a successful JSM. The highlights of the meeting follow.

Discussion items:

The board had an active discussion agenda, including the following topics:

  • Updating the GAISE College Report
  • ASA advocacy efforts
  • Next steps on an ASA statement on p-values
  • Next steps on an International Prize in Statistics
  • Whether and how to grow international membership
  • Initiatives to coincide with the ASA statement on data science (see below)
  • What are our biggest risks, and how should we confront them?
  • Active and intense discussion of each of the above items took place, generating numerous ideas. Staff and board members are following up on these ideas.

Action items:

New journal editors for 2016–2018 were appointed following recommendations from search committees and members of the Committee on Publications.

  • Rajeev Dehejia, New York University, Journal of Business & Economic Statistics
  • David Higdon, Virginia Tech University, Journal on Uncertainty Quantification
  • Michael Lee Cohen, National Academy of Sciences, Statistics and Public Policy

The 2016 budget was approved. Among other things, the 2016 budget allows for the creation of a science policy fellow. (Details to follow later in Amstat News.)

Sites for JSM 2022 were considered. Staff members were asked to negotiate with a small number of finalist cities. The ASA Executive Committee will make the final decision based on the results of these negotiations.

The board approved policies for creating named lectures at JSM and on corporate philanthropic support of the association.

The following three ASA awards were created:

  • An annual ASA mentoring award will recognize “lifetime” achievement of individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in developing the careers of statistics students, statisticians, or statistical researchers early in their careers. The first award will be given at JSM 2016.
  • An annual ASA award for the best paper in Statistical Learning and Data Mining: The ASA Science Journal will be given for the first time at JSM 2016. The award will be funded by Wiley and the honoree selected by the journal’s editorial board.
  • Robert Riffenburgh has set up a planned gift to create an award of excellence in the transfer or extension of statistical methods developed for or from one field of application to another where it has never or seldom been used.

The ASA joined the Royal Statistical Society and the International Statistical Institute on a statement about the importance of building statistical capacity, especially in the developing world. The statement is to be released on World Statistics Day (October 20).

The board approved a statement on the role of statistics in data science. A series of action steps in support of this statement will be following soon. Related to this, the board approved funding for ASA support of a data science education roundtable being created by the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics (CATS) of the National Academies.

Reported items:

As usual, the board also heard an array of reports, including the following:

  • Associate Executive Director and Director of Operations Steve Porzio reported on the 2015 ASA financials as of mid-year. He noted we are doing as expected and said he anticipates a positive operating result for 2015. He also said JSM pre-registration was very high and that JSM 2015 would be one of the top three in total attendance. (By the time the conference registration was over, JSM 2015 was the most-attended conference in our history, edging out the record set in Boston in 2014.)
  • ASA Director of Development Amanda Malloy updated the board on the ASA’s development program, including the membership giving campaign, planned giving, and corporate partnerships.
  • ASA Vice President Rob Santos reported to the board on the activities of the many committees that make up the ASA’s Professional Issues and Visibility Council. For each committee, he reported on its major accomplishments of the past year and its anticipated activities for the coming year. Regular communication between the board and 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 about their respective activities.
  • The board was updated on the progress of four strategic initiatives for 2015: (1) further developing mentoring programs and recognition of outstanding mentors within the ASA, (2) Stats 101, (3) JSM docent program, and (4) Stats.org collaboration. (Get an overview of that collaboration.)
  • President-elect Jessica Utts finalized with the board her strategic initiatives for 2016. (All initiatives of the ASA presidents are based on the ASA’s strategic plan.) She will report on these initiatives from the Amstat News President’s Corner next year, but as a sneak preview, 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.”

The board meets again November 13–14 in Alexandria, Virginia, for its final meeting of the year.

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