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The regular meeting of the faculty of the Department of Statistics was held on Zoom at 12:30pm, June 7, 2021. Abel Rodriguez, Department Chair, presided at the meeting. Kristine Chan was recording secretary.

Chair’s Remarks

The meeting started with an ‘ice breaker’ – all participants shared updates on personal news and plans for the summer.

The Chair then reminded faculty that the department’s graduation YouTube premiere is scheduled to air on June 11, 2021 at 5:00pm.

New Business

Minutes from the previous faculty meeting (5/17) were reviewed, voted on, and approved by the eligible voting faculty who were present.

Sloan Foundation’s STEM pathways proposal: The Chair put together a pre-proposal to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The goal is to develop a bridge program to increase access and retention in graduate programs in Statistics, Biostatistics, and Data Science for students that are members of underrepresented groups. Such programs provide a long-term, sustained support and guidance to students as they transition between different levels of education (such as high school to undergraduate, and undergraduate to graduate level).  This is a concrete initiative to increase diversity inclusion within the department. Following a brief discussion of the proposal, the Chair requested expressions of interest from the faculty, in case the team is invited to submit a full proposal.  

Continuation Graduate Program Discussion:

  • Internal admission of M.S. students into the Ph.D. program: A faculty who was not part of the Ph.D. admissions committee sought clarification about departmental policies around accepting our own M.S. students into the Ph.D. program.. The discussion focused on the number of these students that we aim to admit each year and the impact of that decision in the strength and diversity of Ph.D. classes, as well as on the experience of MS students. The consensus was that no hard thresholds should be established and that, instead, the Ph.D. admissions committee should be empowered to make decisions that support the various departmental goals.  There was also a brief discussion about how the committee should weight letters of recommendation from other departmental faculty.  Since the department admits students into the graduate program and not to specific laboratories or groups, the consensus was that these letters are very informative, but should not, by themselves, determine the outcome for a given student.
  • Graduate Non-Matriculate (GNM): The admitted part-time program will remain the same. This topic will be revisited i in conjunction with future discussions around the part-time MS program.
  • Course enrollment data: The Graduate Program Coordinator presented the enrollment data. Slides can be viewed here.  The faculty discussed these materials, but no action items arose from that discussion.

Adjournment

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