Connecting your Teachers to your Courses: What Can We Learn from Statistics Departments who Have Statistics Teacher Training Programs?


Jim Albert, Bowling Green State University
Martin Lindquist, Columbia University
William Harkness, Pennsylvania State University
Jeffrey B. Birch, Virginia Tech.


Preparing graduate students to teach, first for assignment as teaching assistants but also because some will follow academic careers, is a major concern for mathematics and statistics departments. A recent issue of The American Statistician featured a special section where representatives of four statistics departments described their training programs for graduate students. These training programs are briefly described and the session's participants are given the opportunity to interact with the presenters and think about how these ideas can apply to their own situation of teaching statistics.


Jim Albert is Professor of Statistics in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Bowling Green State University. His interests include Bayesian modeling, the statistical analysis of sports data, and statistical education. He is currently the Editor of The American Statistician and writing a text on data analysis, probability, and statistics for prospective teachers.

Martin Lindquist is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Statistics at Columbia University. He has a PhD in statistics from Rutgers University and received a Master's degree in Engineering Physics from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. His research focuses on developing statistical methods for the analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data.

William Harkness has been teaching statistics at Penn State for 46 years. He has dedicated much of the last fifteen years working to improve statistical education at Penn State and beyond. He served as a Co-Principal Investigator on a $200,000 grant from the Pew Foundation's Learning and Technology Program, sponsored by the Center for Academic Transformation, to redesign the intro statistics course and was co-PI on the NSF CCLI Grant Transforming Biological and Engineering Statistics at Penn State. He has collaborated extensively with researchers in instructional design on pedagogical issues in statistical education, and Curriculum and Instruction (on research on performance of students in science, technology and society courses). In August 2004 he gave both the Keynote and Closing Addresses at the annual conference Beyond the Formulas, devoted to teaching statistics.

Jeffrey B. Birch is a Professor of Statistics and Director of Graduate Programs in Statistics at Virginia Tech. Professionally, Dr. Birch enjoys teaching (and has been named "teacher of the year" on two separate occasions at Virginia Tech), research, and consulting in statistics. He enjoys all aspects of working with students. Outside the classroom, Dr. Birch is an avid sports enthusiast (both as a participant and as a spectator) and gardener.


Handout (PDF)