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Strategic Plan for Statistics

Context For Planning

In 2000 the faculty within the Department of Mathematics and Statistics recommended the reorganization of our department into two independent academic units, and at that time we established the Department of Statistics. Our newly formed department became the home for 7 tenure-line faculty, 2 visiting faculty and 10 part-time faculty, as well as 22 declared majors. Since that time the Department of Statistics has increased to 15 tenure-line faculty, 5 affiliate faculty, 3 visiting faculty and 13 part-time faculty. In addition, our department course offerings have increased by more than 70% (both in terms of student enrollment and sections offered). We have added a graduate program in biostatistics which consists of approximately 40 students, our undergraduate major in statistics has grown from 22 students to 137 students, and our two combined undergraduate minors have increased from 21 students to 144 students. In addition to growth, our department has also launched a number of initiatives. Some of the significant initiatives that have launched since the formation of our department include the Statistical Consulting Center, Masters program in Biostatistics, Michigan Statistics Poster Competition, Statistics Experimentation Lab, and a new minor in data science.

Mission

The Department of Statistics informs and actively engages students and colleagues in the ethical practice of modern statistical science and further contributes to our society through active scholarship and effective service.

Vision

The Department of Statistics is committed to advancing the science of statistics by maintaining an inclusive learning community that is characterized by: 

  • faculty that are dedicated to expanding the discipline of statistics, improving the pedagogy of statistics, and broadening the application of statistics and
  • students that are actively engaged in enhancing their understanding of statistics and its application. 
All members of our community are encouraged to utilize their statistical skills to be ethical and productive professionals, life-long learners and responsible citizens.

Value Statement

Teaching Excellence 

Our highest priority is to offer outstanding teaching in all of our courses. We continually strive to maintain excellence in the classroom. In order to nurture the habits of intellectual growth, we seek to instill in our students curiosity and the love of learning. We value the vigorous engagement of students in the classroom and in other learning environments. 

Active Scholarship 
The Statistics Department values and encourages a wide variety of scholarly activities including writing and refereeing journal articles and textbooks; presenting at department seminars, university colloquia, and outside conferences; preparing grant proposals; conducting workshops; serving on thesis committees; and consulting on statistical matters with both internal colleagues and external professionals. All of these activities help maintain currency in ones chosen areas of interest and expand one's knowledge of statistics. In keeping with the teaching mission of the university, our students are engaged and mentored in these activities and the knowledge gained through these activities inform our courses. 

Community Service 
The statistics faculty values the enrichment of the lives of fellow faculty, students and members of our community. Within the university community, these values manifest as collaborative scholarship both through the Statistical Consulting Center and individual faculty consulting activities, and as participation in university sponsored programs for the surrounding communities. Our service extends further to our communities through applications of our talents to diverse volunteer activities in our communities civil, political, educational and religious organizations. 

Community, Diversity and Collegiality 
A diverse range of thoughtful perspectives and backgrounds is vital to a healthy community that fosters open inquiry and sound statistical practice. As such, the Statistics Department recognizes the similarities that all people share and respects the characteristics that distinguish us, including age, ethnicity, gender and all aspects of culture, be it our recreational, lifestyle, political or philosophical preferences. Professionally, the department values and maintains a community of scholars with expertise in a variety of specializations and areas of application. Realizing that a multiplicity of interests promotes the kind of synergy that will encourage a flourishing statistics community, we support the scholarship of discovery, application and pedagogy. 

Ethical Practice of Statistics
Because society depends on sound statistical practice, we are committed to employing suitable study designs and applying appropriate statistical methodology without bias and without favoring a predetermined outcome. Further, we adhere to accepted professional standards regarding the ethical treatment of human and animal subjects throughout the entire research process (including the maintenance of confidentiality during the data collection, analysis and dissemination phases). We value professionalism, the importance of appropriately acknowledging colleagues, the necessity of being properly recognized, and the careful delineation of the limitations of ones scientific inquiry. 

Liberal Education
We are committed to creating student-centered learning communities that integrate statistical methodologies in a multidisciplinary fashion. As such, we strive to: 
  • locate, evaluate, and organize information, 
  • utilize this information to discover new knowledge, and 
  • share the conclusions with our local and global societies. 
We value a community that cultivates the skills of inquiry and reflection and fosters the development of grounded ethical values. We encourage our students and faculty to explore widely throughout their lives and employ statistical science to be creative and productive citizens.

Strategic Priorities, outcomes, and key objectives

Strategic Priority Area 1: Actively engage learners at all levels.

Outcome A: Grand Valley's learning environment is personal, challenging, and transformational, supporting excellent academic programs and co-curricular opportunities.

Objective 1.A.1

100% of our graduate students and 100% of our undergraduate majors will participate in at least one high-impact learning experience, and at least 90% of our graduate students and undergraduate majors will participate in two high-impact learning experiences.

Baseline

We will establish a baseline from activities in 2016

Progress

2016 Status
Achieved
The statistics faculty is committed to offering our students high-impact learning experiences across our curriculum. While faculty regularly collaborate with students in research initiatives, in addition our faculty regularly infuse high impact elements into their courses. For the purposes of strategic planning, we will monitor high-impact learning experiences in our coursework (because these would be required of all students). All undergraduate statistics majors and biostatistics program graduates are required to participate in at least two high-impact learning experiences.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 1.B.1

To advocate for and provide resources that support at-risk students.

Baseline

Current resources that are dedicated to supporting at-risk students, including the Statistics (Tutoring) Lab, services provided by Disability Support Resources (DSR), and Student Learning Assisted (SLA) sections of STA 215.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
At this point our department supports at-risk students in a variety of ways. The Statistics Department partners with the Mathematics Department to advocate for and encourage the use of the Statistics (Tutoring) Lab. Our faculty regularly work with DSR to support students with disabilities and encourage at-risk students to reach out to DSR for support. We offer two Student Learning Assisted (SLA) sections of STA 215 each fall and winter semester. Finally, our department has recently created a new Student Advising Coordinator to identify and reach out to at-risk students.

Outcome C: Grand Valley has mutually beneficial relationships, partnerships, collaborations, and connections with local, state, national, and world communities.

Objective 1.C.1

To create or host at least 4 events per year that provide our students with exposure to the broadly-defined statistical community.

Baseline

We will establish a baseline from activities in 2016

Progress

2016 Status
Achieved
With regards to hosting speakers, 2016 was an unusually busy year for our department. More specifically, this year the statistics department hosted (or had faculty who participated in the organization of) more than a dozen events that provided our students with exposure to the broadly-defined statistical community.

Outcome D: Grand Valley supports innovative teaching, learning, integrative scholarly and creative activity, and the use of new technologies.

Objective 1.D.3

To continue to improve our curriculum so that our program and courses reflect the best practices in statistics education.

Baseline

Our curriculum beginning the fall of 2015

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
Over the past couple of years our department has been very active with regards to curriculum development. Our faculty have revamped existing courses to reflect best practices within our discipline, created an emphasis focused on actuarial science, and collaborated with computer science faculty on a variety of data science initiatives.

Objective 1.D.4

To explore and offer on-line and hybrid instruction of appropriate courses.

Baseline

Number of on-line and hybrid sections of STA courses that were offered prior to fall of 2015

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
In the 2016-17 academic year the statistics department offered seven sections of courses employing hybrid or on-line instruction. While our faculty are pleased with our current efforts, we will continue to identify students who would benefit from hybrid or on-line instruction of required or elective courses and ascertain whether hybrid/on-line instruction is reasonable and desirable.

Outcome E: Grand Valley strategically allocates its fiscal, human, and other institutional resources.

Objective 1.E.1

To continue to promote, support and expand the activities of the Statistical Consulting Center (SCC).

Baseline

The number of unique clients who are currently assisted by the SCC

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
This report provides data on the number of client projects who are supported by the SCC. This data makes it abundantly clear that the SCC has provided a valuable service for hundreds of students, faculty, and staff members across the GVSU community. We are very pleased with the current efforts of the SCC; however, the SCC would benefit from additional student or faculty support and a more suitable space.

Strategic Priority Area 2: Further develop exceptional personnel.

Outcome A: Grand Valley's learning environment is personal, challenging, and transformational, supporting excellent academic programs and co-curricular opportunities.

Objective 2.A.1

To maintain our mentoring program that facilitates department cohesion and will help new faculty to succeed at GVSU.

Baseline

Our department has a mentoring program, and all new faculty participate in the mentoring program

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
While our faculty are pleased with our current mentoring efforts, we have charged Bob Pearson (who is being mentored this year) and recent hires Laura Kapitula and Dan Adrian to review our current mentoring plan, survey newer hires from other departments, and identify potential improvements for our mentoring plan. They will share their recommendations with the department in the fall of 2017.

Outcome C: Grand Valley has mutually beneficial relationships, partnerships, collaborations, and connections with local, state, national, and world communities.

Objective 2.C.1

At least 75% of tenure-line statistics faculty participate in one or more external professional organizations (in a way that relates to the scholarship, education or application of statistics).

Baseline

We will establish a baseline from activities in 2016

Progress

2016 Status
Achieved
87.5% of our tenure-line faculty participated in one or more external professional organizations in 2016.

Outcome E: Grand Valley strategically allocates its fiscal, human, and other institutional resources.

Objective 2.E.1

At least 75% of full-time permanent statistics faculty and all statistics staff participate in professional development to expand, enhance and extend their competencies within the context of their positions.

Baseline

We will establish a baseline from activities in 2016

Progress

2016 Status
Achieved
91.3% of our faculty and staff participated in professional development to expand, enhance and extend their competencies within the context of their positions in 2016.

Strategic Priority Area 3: Ensure the alignment of institutional structures and functions.

Outcome A: Grand Valley's learning environment is personal, challenging, and transformational, supporting excellent academic programs and co-curricular opportunities.

Objective 3.A.2

To continue to seek additional full-time permanent statistics faculty in proportion to anticipated enrollment growth in statistics courses and programming

Baseline

Proportion of student credit hours and course sections currently (and historically) taught by full-time permanent statistics faculty (including, but distinguishing, tenure-line and affiliate faculty)

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
Over the past decade the number of statistics courses has steadily increased. The addition of affiliate faculty has allowed us keep up with the enrollment growth in a fiscally responsible way. However, the number of tenure-line faculty in our department has not proportionally kept up with the growth. As such, we need to work with the college and university administrations to add a new tenure-line faculty member.

Outcome C: Grand Valley has mutually beneficial relationships, partnerships, collaborations, and connections with local, state, national, and world communities.

Objective 3.C.1

To maintain effective communication with client departments of our courses (e.g., psychology, business, health professions, computer science, mathematics, engineering, etc.) and offer statistical support to the university community.

Baseline

Current level of communication with departments that require or request statistics courses or support

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
Of our 16 tenure-line faculty, 14 of our faculty indicated they had curricular discussions with faculty in partnering units in 2016, and many of our faculty have offered statistical support to the university community.

Outcome D: Grand Valley supports innovative teaching, learning, integrative scholarly and creative activity, and the use of new technologies.

Objective 3.D.2

To ensure that all necessary technology is installed in space that is utilized by our department and advocate for regular maintenance and appropriate replacement

Baseline

We will establish a baseline in 2016 on the availability and age of technology that is utilized by the statistics faculty in their offices and the statistics faculty/students in the classrooms and labs

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
A review of computer inventory and perceptions of support reveals: a number of computers in the visitor/adjunct and affiliate offices need to be replaced with more current equipment, older computers among the tenure-line faculty are being appropriately replaced, instructor station computers are performing well, but the performance of student computers in labs has been notably declining in recent semesters. Student lab computers need to be replaced and/or need more support as it directly relates to the quality of our education.

Strategic Priority Area 4: Enhance the institution's image and reputation.

Outcome C: Grand Valley has mutually beneficial relationships, partnerships, collaborations, and connections with local, state, national, and world communities.

Objective 4.C.1

To continue to be active scholars and to disseminate the results of our scholarship

Baseline

Acknowledging that the eventual goal of scholarly activity is a contribution to knowledge, application or pedagogy that is shared with others, the goal is that the tenure-line statistics faculty will, on average, collaborate on 2 papers or presentations per faculty member per year. Given our defined scholarly-activity goal and the associated metric, it appears a baseline measure is not applicable.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
Our 16 tenure-line faculty collaborated on the publishing of 20 papers and contributed to the delivery 41 presentations. As a result, our faculty partnered in 61 scholarly papers or presentations; and our faculty collaborated on an average of 3.8 papers or presentations per faculty member in 2016.

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