The regular meeting of the faculty of the Department of Statistics was held on Zoom at 12:30pm, May 3, 2021. Abel Rodriguez, Department Chair, presided at the meeting. Kristine Chan was recording secretary.


The Chair reminded faculty that Townhall meeting with graduate students will be next Monday, May 10, 2021 at 12:30pm – 2:00pm.

New Business

Minutes from the previous faculty meetings (3/15, 4/5 and 4/12) were reviewed, voted on, and approved by the eligible voting faculty who were present.

Continuation Graduate Program Discussion:

  • External PhD advisors and finding advisors: GSRs have gathered feedback from students on their thoughts with finding advisors. Many of the students thought it was tough and not organized as there were not clear milestones. Faculty gave input in needing more agency and clarification as to the types of advisors (i.e., RA advisors verses dissertation advisors). The Chair and GPC aims to work on a graduate student handbook over the summer to clarify these issues. There was also a discussion around establishing a new milestone for the selection of the dissertation topic and the formation of the dissertation committee no later than one year after the completion of the prelim exam.
  • Change to graduate awards: A proposal document was shared, initiated by Daniela Witten, to change the description of the Birnbaum and Gilford awards moving forward and to create a third student award that recognizes service to the department. In addition, the proposal would change the discussion/deadline of the awards from Fall to Spring quarter to benefit graduating students in the job market. The discussion also included the introduction of a rubric, similar to the one used in Biostatistics for their own awards. There was openness to institute a new award for departmental service, and potentially one to best overall dissertation for the year. However, several faculty members voiced their preference for keeping the awards as they currently are (i.e., the Birnbaum award would remain focused on general exam performance, and the Gilford Award would remain focused on excellence in the role of Teaching Assistants), with potentially some minor edits to the citation to streamline the language but not change the core features of the award. No votes were taken, or decisions were made. The proposal might be modified based on the feedback received and will be rediscussed at a future date.
  • The discussion on the graduate non-matriculated program, course enrollment data, and internal admissions of MS students into the PhD program was deferred to another faculty meeting. Continuation of this discussion will happen on 5/24.

There being no other items to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 2:00pm.