Hiring, tenuring, and promoting statisticians in a mathematics sciences department

Hiring, tenuring, and promoting
statisticians in a mathematics
sciences department
SIGMAA of Statistics Education
and the ASA-MAA Joint
Committee on Statistics
Hiring Statisticians
Carolyn Cuff, moderator
Patti Frazer Lock
Cummings Professor of Mathematics
Chair, Dept of Math, CS, and Stats
St. Lawrence University
Canton, NY (NE of Lake Ontario, upstate
Douglas Norton
Chair, Department of Mathematical
Villanova University
Villanova, PA (outside of Philadelphia)
Lila F. Roberts
Dean, College of Information and
Mathematical Sciences
Clayton State University
Morrow, GA (outside of Atlanta)
Patti Frazer Lock, St. Lawrence University
St. Lawrence University:
Private non-denominational liberal arts college
Approximately 2000 students
Highly selective college in the Northeast
Patti Frazer Lock, St. Lawrence University
Department of Mathematics, Computer
Science, and Statistics:
13 full-time faculty members (no adjuncts)
3 – 4 statisticians
3 computer scientists
6 – 7 mathematicians
Average number of math majors per graduating
class: 40 (almost 10% of the graduating class)
Average number of statistics minors per graduating
class: 25 (more than 5% of the graduating class)
Patti Frazer Lock, St. Lawrence University
Intro Stats Course:
Applied data analysis.
Heavy use of statistical software.
Not calculus based.
Counts as an elective toward the math major.
Viewed by department as entry to the statistics
discipline in same way calculus is entry to
math discipline.
Second most frequently taken course at St.
Lawrence (after Intro Psych).
Patti Frazer Lock, St. Lawrence University
Experience hiring statisticians:
First statistician hired: 1983
Second statistician hired: 2002
Third/Fourth statisticians hired: 2008
Villanova University
• Augustinian, co-educational, Roman Catholic
institution that welcomes students of all faiths
• Founded in 1842
• Located 12 miles west of Philadelphia on 254 acres
in the heart of Philadelphia's suburban Main Line
• Fall 2008 fulltime undergraduate enrollment of 6,425, from 45 states,
Puerto Rico, and 48 foreign countries; ~10,000 total incl. grad. & PT
• 545 fulltime faculty members, student/faculty ratio 11:1.
• Ranked #1 by U.S. News and World Report in the Best Universities-Masters
category in the northern region for nearly two decades
Villanova University
• In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
• Serves students in the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Engineering,
and Nursing, as well as the Villanova School of Business: most student contact
hours of any department on campus
• 30 full-time faculty; ~10-12 adjuncts per semester
• ~25-40 majors per class, ~120 total majors in any academic year
• ~30 Math minors graduating per year
• No Statistics major or minor; most majors take one or more Statistics courses
Villanova University
• Two Master’s programs: MA in Mathematics, MS in Applied Statistics
• Enrolments ~25-45 per program per semester
• Each Master’s has a combined “5-year program” in combination with the
undergraduate BS in Mathematics
• MS in Applied Statistics has over 50 years of experience and interaction with
several Philadelphia area pharmaceutical companies:
• Student internships and jobs
• Employees take courses, pursue degrees
• Faculty work as consultants or on joint projects
• Working statisticians teach as adjuncts
Villanova University
• 5 statisticians: Assistant, Associate, and Full Professors
• 2 hired in the past 5 years
• One statistician moved to another university; one faculty member who taught
both mathematics and statistics undergraduate and graduate courses retired
• The department decided to advertise for and hire two statisticians
Villanova University
Statistics hires: recent experience
• It took us three tries!
• As a department of more mathematicians than statisticians, we were more
accustomed to the big hiring meetings in January (JMM) rather than in August
• We advertised primarily in Statistics contexts: American Statistical Association,
INFORMS; but also MAA, AWM
• We interviewed at the Joint Statistical Meetings, successfully in Toronto 2004
Lila F. Roberts, Dean
College of Information & Mathematical
• Clayton State University
• 4-year comprehensive university in the University
System of Georgia (formerly a two-year college)
• Approximately 6000 students
• Degrees: 2 Master’s Degrees, 4-year Bachelors, 2year Associates, 1 and 2 year Certificates
• Most diverse public university in the Southeast (US
News & World Reports): 66% minority, 72% female
• Large percentage of non-traditional students
• Two Departments: Information Technology,
Mathematics (includes Statistics & Math Ed)
• Math Majors & Faculty: Approximately 60 majors, 15
full-time faculty
Chair, Department of Mathematics (20032008)
• Georgia College & State University, Georgia’s Public
Liberal Arts University
• Approximately 6000 students
• Degrees: Master’s & Bachelor’s
• Very traditional (and homogeneous) student
• Math Majors: Approximately 114
• Full-time Math Faculty: about 13 full-time
• Before I departed, there were 2 faculty statisticians (I
hired 2 within the last 5 years; another did not receive
a positive pre-tenure review and received a terminal
At each: Clayton State University and
Georgia College & State University
• High percentage (at least 60%) of workload
effort is on teaching.
• Scholarly activity requirement includes peerreviewed publication (broad scholarship
definition includes scholarship of teaching and
• Service…LOTS of service.
Where do you advertise
(where do Statisticians look for academic
Patti Frazer Lock, St. Lawrence University
• ASA’s Amstat News and website
• University of Florida’s employment website
• Joint ad in Chronicle of Higher Education
Lila F. Roberts, Clayton State University
AmStat News
American Mathematical Society
Association for Women in Mathematics
Chronicle of Higher Education
HigheredJobs (www.higheredjobs.com)
University of Florida Statistics Job Announcements
U. of Washington Dept. of Statistics Employment
Opportunities www.stat.washington.edu/jobs/
How does the rather smaller potential
applicant pool play a part in your search
What are the difficulties that you’ve encountered and how
have you dealt with them?
Lila F. Roberts, Clayton State University
• Potential for a lack of (primarily gender)
diversity in the pool.
• Many applicants in small pool primarily
interested in a research environment.
• Many applicants in small pool have poor
English speaking and comprehension
• More competition to make a hire.
Villanova University
Statistics hires: difficulties
• Two attractive alternatives to newly-minted PhDs:
• More research-oriented academic positions (pushed hard by thesis advisors
at research-oriented institutions)
• Industry and government positions with better pay scales
• The salary discrepancy plays into both of these
• One in-house disincentive: graduate course teaching at night
Villanova University
Statistics hires: addressing the difficulties
• Find a good fit
• We essentially need people who could be at a more research-oriented
institution but who prefer an institution such as ours: specifically want the blend
of emphasis on teaching with expectation of and support for research
• Be persistent and patient! Wait for the right people
• Conversations with the Dean and the Vice President for Academic Affairs to
address salary discrepancy issue
• Conversation with job candidates about the previous conversations;
emphasize the positives that compensate for lower salary
Patti Frazer Lock, St. Lawrence University
• We interview candidates earlier
• We network as much as possible
• We are willing to have a search stretch
over multiple years
Patti Frazer Lock, St. Lawrence University
Salary Structure
• We pay statisticians more than we pay
mathematicians, but less than we pay
computer scientists.
• University-wide, the starting salary structure
– Mathematicians and Everyone Else
– Statisticians
– Computer Scientists and Economist
Lila F. Roberts, Clayton State University
• Problem: My experience is that there has been a
perception by university administrators of little or
no value-added for having a statistician in a
mathematics department, which makes it very
difficult to compete in making hires.
• What are your tenure and promotion
• How do you accommodate
Villanova University
Statisticians after the hire:
Tenure and promotion
• Tenure criteria: no specific percentages of teaching, research, service
• Without excellent teaching, the conversation does not continue
• Increasingly higher research and publication expectations
• Application-oriented research alone will not suffice, regardless of volume;
contributions to the theory or tools of the discipline are expected
• On the other hand, application-based publications, when part of an overall
research program that does include “pure research,” do count, discounted
somewhat, but significant because of our Master’s program in Applied Statistics
Villanova University
Statisticians after the hire:
• Balance of teaching: from introductory courses for liberal arts majors through
courses for majors to methods, theory, and special topics courses for graduate
• Support for travel to meetings
• Reduced teaching loads
• Consulting opportunities available and encouraged, within the university and
with local industry
• Remember both: there is a lot we have in common, and there is something
different about the statisticians! Mathematical Sciences is an inclusive umbrella
for what we have in common, but Statistics is not just another branch of
Tenure Criteria—Clayton State University
• Teaching: 60%
– Instruction of Students: 25-40%
– Planning, Course/Program/Materials Development:
• Service: 15-30%
– Institutional Service required
• Scholarship and Professional Development: 1025%
– Peer-reviewed publication required for tenure
and promotion (May include work in teaching
and learning)
Role of consulting and other service work—
Clayton State University
• Consulting or other applications of professional
expertise counts in the evidentiary category of
Scholarship & Professional Development
Publications—Clayton State University
• Applications-oriented publications, as long as
they are peer-reviewed, are valued at least as
highly as pure-research. Collaborative work in
an interdisciplinary context are very highly
valued because it directly addresses strategic
mission of University.
Evaluation of statistical research by non-statisticians
Clayton State University
• Considerations:
Real world applicability (applied work valued highly),
Applicability to teaching and learning,
Impact (to much lesser extent)
Lila F. Roberts—Clayton State University
Retention of Statisticians in a Math Dept.
• Overwhelmed with “little” consulting projects
– Frustration with effort not being acknowledged as
important enough for co-authorship
– Frustration with “assumption” by colleagues that the
statistician should be willing to do a “little” analysis for
no recognition
– Frustration with the notion (reality?) that more senior
colleagues asking for help have the power to deny the
statistician tenure and/or promotion if he/she does not
assist in a “little” analysis.
Lila F. Roberts—Clayton State University
My Recommendations
• Be up front with the needy colleague—tell
him/her the amount of time this could take and
how you also need to be able to produce
• Try to work out a collaborative arrangement by
which you can get a co-authorship (or at least a
written acknowledgement in the paper)
• If you can’t come to an agreement by which you
get recognition for the work (either as service or
scholarship), DON’T DO IT. If you feel
comfortable talking about your decision with
your department chair, you should do so.
Patti Frazer Lock, St. Lawrence University
Tenure Criteria and Process
• Excellence in teaching, research, and service
• Teaching is the highest priority, but evidence
of peer-reviewed scholarship is necessary for
the granting of tenure.
• Scholarship is broadly understood: all
evidence of staying active in the discipline
• The department votes, then a tenure
committee from across the disciplines votes.
Patti Frazer Lock, St. Lawrence University
Tenure Criteria for Statisticians
• Consulting counts!
• Interdisciplinary work is not just accepted, but
encouraged and celebrated.
• Applications-oriented publications count at least as
much as “pure research”.
• Department chair must be on board with this:
Dept chair makes the case to non-statisticians in
dept and on tenure committee.
• We require outside review, and one outside
reviewer must be statistician at a liberal arts college.
Patti Frazer Lock, St. Lawrence University
Keeping the Statistician Happy, Part 1
• Make sure all members of your department
respect the discipline and appreciate the differences
between math and stats.
• Do not hire a statistician and then decide that only
theorem/proof papers count.
• Do not hire a statistician and then decide that
courses are only valuable if they contain significant
mathematical content.
• Do not hire a statistician and then expect him/her
to (necessarily) teach mathematics courses.
Patti Frazer Lock, St. Lawrence University
Keeping the Statistician Happy, Part 2
• The Intro Stats course is key. Very Important!
Applied data analysis course
NOT a math course
NOT calculus based
NOT a remedial course
Value to math majors acknowledged
Taught (well) in your department and not all over campus
Viewed as valid entry to the stats discipline
Serves as feeder to other stats courses
There should BE other stats courses!
Patti Frazer Lock, St. Lawrence University
Keeping the Statistician Happy, Part 3
• Find a way to make consulting work.
One course reduction per year?
Co-authored papers?
Student “research assistants”?
Whatever works in the specific case.
Be aware that this is extra time that statisticians (and
often computer scientists as well) have to spend that
mathematicians do not.
Notes on Evaluation of
Academic Statisticians
• www.isostat.org under Resources
• www.amstat.org/sections/educ/training.html
Support for the Statistician in the
Mathematics Department
• SIGMAA StatsEd
• ISOSTAT network www.isostat.org
– List serve
– Meetings at Joint Statistics Meeting (usually
Sunday night)
– Mentoring group
– Tenure and Promotion
• ASA Stat Ed section