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Introducing StatsForward: A New Leadership Initiative

1 May 2023 1,214 views No Comment

The ASA’s vision statement imagines a world that relies on data and statistical thinking to drive discovery and inform decisions. With our vision as our guide, we must be prepared to assume leadership roles on many levels. For some, this translates to a career that includes formal leadership positions within organizations. These formal roles are certainly important, but we also must be prepared to lead as members of our many communities.

The College Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) Report offers this recommendation:

Teach statistics as an investigative process of problem-solving and decision-making. Students should not leave their introductory statistics course with the mistaken impression that statistics consists of an unrelated collection of formulas and methods. Rather, students should understand that statistics is a problem-solving and decision-making process that is fundamental to scientific inquiry and essential for making sound decisions.

This recommendation extends beyond the classroom and into our workplaces and communities. As statisticians and data scientists, we have the knowledge and must develop the ability to assist our colleagues and collaborators in understanding that statistical thinking is essential to solving problems and making sound decisions.

Cultivating this ability so our community can lead in both formal and informal roles is the goal of my presidential initiative called StatsForward.

The overarching objectives of StatsForward are the following:

  • Provide early-career statisticians and data scientists with mentoring and coaching.
  • Create a sense of community and responsibility to be stewards of the profession for a cohort of early-career statisticians and data scientists.
  • Develop future leaders of the American Statistical Association.
  • Offer timely (“just in time”) support for a cohort of early-career statisticians and data scientists to encourage their continued commitment to the profession.

The cohort will reflect the intersectionality of our community. The selection process will be intentional to ensure the inaugural cohort represents the diversity of our membership. The initial cohort of 15 individuals will initially convene at the 2023 Joint Statistical Meetings in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and participate in two professional development courses. Following JSM, they will participate in professional development workshops and engage in activities designed to develop their abilities to lead. The formal program will culminate at JSM 2024 with additional professional development for the cohort and an opportunity to showcase their accomplishments.

In a 2011 New York Times interview, then CEO of Enterprise Community Partners Teri Ludwig said, “Regardless of where you are, regardless of your role within the organization, it is my job to make sure that you feel empowered to lead from your seat. This is about recognizing that within any role in the organization, you can influence change and outcomes, and we all have to do that for us to be truly innovative, to deliver on our mission, to have breakthroughs.” We will empower the StatsForward cohort to have influence and be prepared to lead from their seats and continue to lead as their ‘seats’ change.

While courses and workshops will be part of how we accomplish this outcome, we will need support from the ASA community to be successful. Networking, mentoring, and coaching will be essential to supporting the cohort and enabling them to accomplish their leadership goals. If you are willing to share your knowledge and skills with the StatsForward cohort, complete the interest form.

We are accepting applications for the inaugural cohort until June 10. Please encourage your colleagues, who have completed their highest degree within the last five years, to apply. In addition to biographical information, the application requires a candidate statement and two letters of support.

StatsForward will move our community forward by empowering and preparing our current and future leaders to drive discovery and inform decisions!

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