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Creating and Sustaining a Dynamic Undergraduate Statistics Program Our (My) experience at BYU Bruce Jay Collings (02 August 2008)

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Presentation on theme: "Creating and Sustaining a Dynamic Undergraduate Statistics Program Our (My) experience at BYU Bruce Jay Collings (02 August 2008)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Creating and Sustaining a Dynamic Undergraduate Statistics Program Our (My) experience at BYU Bruce Jay Collings (02 August 2008)

2 Outline Disclaimer Brief Department History Fortuitous Factors Concerted Efforts by Department Recruiting students What did not work What works Retaining students

3 Disclaimer(s) BYU may be atypical –Church university –Not quite a major research university –Not quite an undergraduate teaching university My view Adapt or Ignore anything I say

4 Brief Department History Created in 1960 –No students, 1 faculty member 1962: 1 st BS degree, 3 faculty + 2 PT mid 70s: 20 majors, 12 faculty mid 80s: 50 majors, 15 faculty 1990: ~100 majors, 16 faculty + 3 PT 2000: ~160 majors, 16 faculty + 4 PT 2008: ~ 200 majors, 17 faculty + 3 PT (about 20 masters students since early 70s)

5 Fortuitous Factors - BYU Collegiality – Early Department Faculty & Philosophy BYU enrollment pressures Stat faculty member as AAVP for Computing –Excellent department computing –University wide multi-media teaching rooms –Current Department Chair Applied Statistics Account

6 (Not So) Fortuitous Factors - BYU Very Heavy Service load –Nearly 15,000 student credit hrs/yr No PhD Program –Harder to get external funding

7 Fortuitous Factors – In General Service Courses –Business School screening tool –Satisfies University GE requirement –Increasingly required by other majors Increased demand for Statisticians AP Statistics exam

8 Concerted Efforts by Department Department Mission Statement "... to provide (individuals) with the knowledge to perform meaningful work and service through rational evaluation of quantitative information...

9 Concerted Efforts by Department Academic Program –Basic program outline Core – approx 40 hours 2 or 3 semesters of Calculus Intro stat (4 options) Stat methods, Math Stat, Sampling, Design, Statistical Computing Specialty stat courses (junior/senior level) Minor (or equivalent) in appropriate field

10 Concerted Efforts by Department Academic Program (cont.) –Five degree programs; two sub-groups Terminal degree (less math) –BS Stat: Applied Statistics & Analytics emphasis –BS Stat: Quality Science emphasis Pre-Professional (more math) –BS Stat: Statistical Science emphasis –BS Stat: Biostatistics emphasis –BS Actuarial Science

11 Concerted Efforts by Department Flexibility –Four entry classes: regular, baby theory, Bayesian, quality science –Minor requirement (for degree programs) allows individually tailored program Limited cost to department –Very flexible Stat minor requirement Adapt to student needs –Biostat added in 1997, now has 40+ majors –Act Sci added in 1990, grew to by 1995 –Act Sci degree in 2001, now has 70+ majors

12 Concerted Efforts by Department Weekly seminar series (w/ refreshments) –Speakers from across campus –Some off campus speakers –Some student only concerns resumes writing Interviewing –Most statistical research presentations –Draws students from other campus depts

13 Concerted Efforts by Department Consulting Center –University citizenship –Student experience –Student involvement/employment w/ other depts –Good PR Undergraduate mentoring –UG research groups –Even by non-stat professors (CS & Math) –College Spring Research Conference Faculty dedicated to teaching (and research) Employment – most majors are TAs or RAs

14 Concerted Efforts by Department Actuarial Science degree –Relatively easy to start (two new courses) Basic core (less sampling & design) Theory of interest & Actuarial mathematics Six courses from econ, finance, accounting, stat Optional review class for Course 1 –Recent pass rate Exams P, FM, MLC, MFE ~70% –Adds visibility to Department –Very popular ~40% of undergraduate majors

15 Recruiting – What Didnt Work Freshman letter –1500+ letters to high math scores on ACT/SAT High quality incoming freshmen 400+ w/ 33+ ACT (1460+ SAT) and 3.9+ HS GPA Science Day Brought local/regional HS students to campus Four Sat morning sessions about statistics

16 Recruiting Students – What Works Word of mouth –Significant fraction of new majors are siblings, relatives or friends (even children) of current/former majors High School outreach –Visits –AP and BAPS seminars –AP Stat exam grading (meet HS teachers) Temporary Visiting HS Faculty –Take a couple of classes; teach a class or two –Refer their best students to us

17 Recruiting Students Introductory Stat & other service courses –Honors/Majors Section (~75 students) is best recruiter Evolution of Stat 221 (our Intro Stat course) –Early 80s: ~200 students/sem + ~100 summer –Early 90s: ~900 students/sem + ~200 summer –Late 90s: ~1200 students/sem + ~400 summer –2003: ~1800 students/sem + ~600 summer –2008: ~2000 students/sem + ~500 summer Overheads -> PowerPoint -> Flash lessons –produced (and taught) by best teachers (over several yrs) –incorporates videos, applets, tables, calculators, etc. –Uniformity, simplicity, reduces faculty burden of 4500/yr –¼ PT faculty to maintain/upgrade Requires Course Supervisor, several Course Assistants, and TAs for 90+ labs per semester

18 Retaining Students Academic programs and marketability Student involvement –ASA, SQC, μσρ, Actuarial Club Student employment –Semester long TA training course –Majors all TA/RA at least one semester –Graders/TAs for all courses –Invite top non-majors to TA Stat 221 –Most juniors & seniors work hours for Dept Good recruiting tool relatively high paying

19 Retaining Students Department Scholarships –Several endowed by faculty and dept –A few endowed by private gift Mostly former students and families –Not lavish, most are half tuition Majors only labs –Majors only computer lab (18-20 PCs, printer, software, etc) –Actuarial library/study room (office size)

20 Retaining Students Physically located together (one floor) –Department office suite –Faculty offices –Graduate student offices –Student computing labs –Class rooms for Majors courses –Department servers –Computing support personnel

21 Retaining Students Summer Institute of Applied Statistics (SIAS) –Outside speakers –Faculty professional development –Brings non-stat students to department Applied Statistics Account –Funds SIAS and other needs –Endowed two Professorships, One mentoring Award Allows faculty to fund students –Accumulated from variety of sources University/College matching fund

22 Retaining Students Modest sized MS only graduate program –Focus is on undergraduate program –Challenge undergrads with 1 st year MS courses

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