Carving Out the Beautiful Introductory Statistics Course (What Not to Teach and When Not to Teach It)


Paul Velleman, Cornell University


Many introductory Statistics courses are weighed down with excess material. First we must carve away these unneeded parts. Then we can begin to show students how to construct a coherent and beautiful model of the topic. We carve away excess stone, but the students build with clay, so we must help them build from the bottom up and from the inside out. By the end of the session we'll have a coherent well-ordered set of topics for the introductory Statistics course.


Paul F. Velleman has written (with Richard DeVeaux and David Bock) the text Intro Stats, and two other introductory texts. He wrote and designed the multimedia statistics CD-ROM, ActivStats, for which he was awarded the EDUCOM Medal for innovative uses of computers in teaching statistics and the ICTCM Award for Innovation in Using Technology in College Mathematics. He also developed the award-winning statistics program, Data Desk and the Internet site Data And Story Library (DASL) (, which provides datasets for teaching statistics.

Paul has taught statistics at Cornell University since 1975. He holds an A.B. from Dartmouth College in Mathematics and Social Science, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University in Statistics, where he studied with John Tukey. His research often deals with statistical graphics and data analysis methods.

Paul is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Out of class, Paul sings Baritone in a barbershop quartet and tries to keep up with his younger son on figure skates. He is the father of two boys.


Handout (PDF)