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Highlights of the August 3–5, 2021, ASA Board of Directors Meeting

1 October 2021 No Comment
Ron Wasserstein, ASA Executive Director

ASA President Rob Santos called to order the summer meeting of the ASA Board on Tuesday, August 3. The board met via videoconference over a three-day period. The highlights of the board meeting follow.

Actions

The board …

  • Approved the budget for calendar year 2022.
  • Voted to select Scarlett Bellamy to complete the final year of Dionne Price’s term as ASA vice president. Price will become ASA president-elect on January 1, 2022.
  • Approved the charge and composition for a new data science and AI committee.
  • Approved in principle a statement on the effective use of preprints. Once some minor editing is done by the executive committee, the statement will be made public.
  • Agreed to create an ad hoc committee to consider broadening the charge of the ASA Committee on Law and Justice Statistics.
  • Received the report of the ASA Committee on Nominations. The report contained a number of recommendations for improving the nominations process. The board appointed an ad hoc committee to review these recommendations and present its findings to the board for action in November.

Reports and Discussions

  • Associate Executive Director and Director of Operations Steve Porzio summarized the financials as of the end of the second quarter of 2021. He noted the status of various segments of the budget and said the association’s balance sheet is healthy.
  • ASA Treasurer Ruixiao Lu reported on the ASA’s investments. She reviewed the allocation of the ASA’s nearly $23 million among various types of investments as of June 30 and the results of our investments over the past decade. Lu also updated the board on the activities of the Investments Committee, Budget Committee, and Audit Committee.
  • The ASA’s headquarters building in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, is not only the home of the ASA staff, but the home of the ASA community and where meetings, seminars, and other gatherings are hosted (before the pandemic, of course). The building has served us for 15 years. However, the ASA Board has decided it is time to evaluate whether a different facility would more effectively and efficiently meet the needs of the ASA community and staff. For this evaluation, the board is exploring whether to sell the building and buy elsewhere or continue to use the current building with substantial modifications. This exploration will involve putting the building on the market to help gauge our options. Whether in the current facility or another one in the same area, the ASA will continue to have a headquarters and gathering place for the community.
  • The board launched a discussion about improving diversity in our journals. A panel of current Committee on Publications members, representatives from Taylor & Francis, and other members of the community brainstormed ideas. A task force was formed to develop recommendations for the board to consider in November.
  • Mark Ward (Purdue University) informed the board about a $1.5 million grant to support data science education at HBCUs [historically black colleges and universities], HSIs [Hispanic-serving institutions], tribal colleges, schools for the deaf, and institutions that assist students with disabilities. The funding is through the NSF Harnessing the Data Science Revolution program. Ward said every dollar of the grant goes to students. He emphasized the partnership with the ASA and Talitha Washington, director of the Clark Atlanta University Data Science Initiative. Also serving as co-PIs are Kathy Ensor, Monica Jackson, and Donna LaLonde.
  • Adrian Coles and David Marker, co-chairs of the ASA’s Antiracism Task Force, updated the board on the progress of the task force. They reviewed the vision, charge, and timeline of the task force, then shared with the board some of the task force’s findings. Board members asked questions and provided feedback. The task force will report again to the board in November. It is possible the final report of the task force will be ready at that time.
  • ASA President-elect Kathy Ensor introduced an idea for an initiative to better connect the statistical community with executive-level leadership of diverse organizations. She said the goal is to create a sustainable model for engaging with these leaders using our ASA meetings as a gathering point. She noted we want to raise our community profile with these C-suite–level leaders by reinforcing the essential contributions of statistics and data science to their organizations and our willingness to support growth and development.
  • The board engaged in a lengthy strategic planning discussion. The current strategic plan will be significantly overhauled, but it will be done in pieces over a year or so. In the first segment, a board working group will review and reconsider the ASA’s activities and plans regarding membership retention and recruitment and likewise for public awareness efforts.
  • President-elect Kathy Ensor updated the board on the data science accreditation activities of CSAB. She briefly reviewed the CSAB structure, the actions since the ASA became an official member, and her role as the ASA’s representative on the CSAB board. She said the ASA has a voice in all CSAB activities, not just those related to data science.
  • ASA Director of Science Policy Steve Pierson provided his regular report on the ASA’s advocacy efforts. He noted that Jonathan Auerbach completed his term as ASA Science Policy Fellow and has joined the faculty of George Mason University. His successor is Edward Wu, who recently completed his PhD in statistics from the University of Michigan.
  • ASA Director of Strategic Initiatives and Outreach Donna LaLonde updated the board on education matters and sought feedback. She noted the ASA will contribute to upcoming public webinars on the future of Pre-K–12 and post-secondary education. The project is an initiative spearheaded by The University of Texas at Austin Charles A. Dana Center. The ASA is represented on the leadership team by Chris Franklin, Donna LaLonde, and Jessica Utts.

The next meeting of the board will be the week of November 15. Exact dates will be set once the board determines whether it is safe to meet in person at that time.

2021 Board of Directors
Rob Santos, President
Kathy Ensor, President-Elect
Wendy Martinez, Past President
Richard De Veaux, Third-Year Vice President
Dionne Price, Second-Year Vice President
Matilde Sanchez-Kam, First-Year Vice President
Anamaria Kazanis, Third-Year Council of Chapters Representative
Ji-Hyun Lee, Second-Year Council of Chapters Representative
Alexandra Hanlon, First-Year Council of Chapters Representative
Mark Glickman, Third-Year Council of Sections Representative
Rebecca Hubbard, Second-Year Council of Sections Representative
Kate Calder, First-Year Council of Sections Representative
Alexandra Schmidt, International Representative
Bin Nan, Publications Representative
Ruixiao Lu, Treasurer
Ron Wasserstein, Executive Director and Board Secretary

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