eCOTS 2014 - Breakout Session #12

"Reaching Students Outside the Statistics Classroom: Integrating Statistics into the Coursework and Research Experiences of Non-Statistics Majors"
Cassandra Wolos Pattanayak, Wellesley College


Statistics educators often focus on best practices for teaching students who enroll in statistics courses. However, there are many students majoring in the applied sciences, social sciences, or humanities who enroll in only one statistics course during college (or none) but can benefit from advanced statistical training tailored to their research and career interests. This session focuses on two strategies for reaching such students.

First, we will discuss ways that statistics faculty can collaborate with colleagues from other fields to integrate statistics lessons into applied courses, such as experimental design for an ecology course, multiple comparison concepts for a genetics course, or causal inference for a philosophy course.

Second, we will discuss how to build a statistics initiative into a college-wide research program, bringing together students from a variety of disciplines to study both statistical principles and practical data-handling skills and explore the similarities and differences in their fields' quantitative needs.

Engaging the audience:

  • During this session, I will ask the audience to suggest courses from a variety of fields that might benefit from a statistician's contributions, and we will brainstorm what statistical topics we might contribute to these courses.
  • We will also debate which statistical principles and practical skills are most important and useful for students currently focused on applied research projects.

What I hope the audience will take away:

  • Motivation to reach students outside the statistics classroom
  • Specific strategies for integrating statistics into applied classrooms and approaching colleagues in other fields
  • An understanding of which fundamental statistical ideas and practical skills are most useful for undergraduates currently engaged in applied research

I am attaching a description of Wellesley College's 2014 Quantitative Analysis Institute Summer Course, aimed at applied research students, as well as the syllabus from the 2013 pilot. Download file attachment.


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