2000 – 2003: The Early Years
The committee seems to have started in 2000 with Tim A. Gill as the Committee Chair. The committee appears to have gotten off to a slow start and documentation on these early years is sketchy. No report of the 2000 activities was submitted by the committee. The first annual report we have is in 2003 with Darryl J. Downing as the Committee Chair. Again, there were no committee meetings and no activity in 2003. Mani Y. Laksminarayanan, Committee Chair starting in 2004, really got the committee going during his reign, which lasted until 2009. Committee members also included Jim Hess, Tim Keyes, Ravi Khattree, Jennifer Ng (vice chair), Jim Rutherford, Tom Ball, Wendy Notz, and Heather Smith. The Charter was revised, submitted and received approval from the Board so the committee was able to begin its mission. The importance of such a committee was clear from a recent survey done by ASA that showed that 90% of its members at that time identified themselves as applied statisticians. The committee was clear that its purpose was not to increase the number of applied statisticians who join ASA. That goal is in the domain of the Membership Committee.
2004 – 2008: The Formative Years
For 2004 the primary goal was to enhance awareness of the committee and explore outreach programs with other organizations within ASA. To achieve this goal, the committee represented (and manned the ASA booth) at the Annual SUGI (previous name for SAS Global Forum) for the first time. They also began their long time contribution by participating in the ASA Self Awareness Survey (Tim Keyes) and in the Reviews of ACCE Continuing Education Course Proposals (Jennifer Ng).
From this start, they were ready to do more in 2005. The committee had a face-to-face meeting for the first time in March of that year at the ASA office. Everyone was in awe as they walked into the beautiful building. :-) Not everything worked out well, since the strategic initiative proposal they developed did not get funded. However, they did increase their involvement in JSM dramatically. They increased their exposure
- to other non-committee ASA members with the first open business meeting,
- to other groups by developing relationships with other committees and sections (e.g., Statistical Consulting) that have similar goals and audience. These relationships included co-sponsoring sessions at JSM with those groups.
- and to the ASA leadership with a ASA board presentation on the committee’s progress and plans
In 2006, Mani and the committee again expanded their activity for even greater contributions setting their objective to showcase applied statistics at the cutting edge. To do this they hosted three well attended web-based workshops with speakers Dr. Don Berry, Dr. Roger Hoerl and Dr. Janet Wittes. The committee also added to their activities by writing two articles for AmStat News and organizing several sessions at JSM. The JSM business meeting included an invited talk by Dr. Gordan Lan. The committee also set the groundwork for next year by asking for and receiving approval for invited sessions and an Overview Lecture at JSM 2007.
This pattern of contribution across ASA at JSM continued in 2007. Besides the 2 invited sessions and the Invited Overview Lecture, the committee also co-sponsored 8 contributed sessions. Their Strategic Initiative Proposal did not get approved, unfortunately, but their collaboration continued. The committee provided support to the Biopharmaceutical Section for their Webinar series and participated in the Biometrics Section subcommittee in their Strategic Initiatives selection process.
The two major concerns over the years are the inputs and outputs of the committee. The leadership knew the importance of continually trying to recruit new members who can be active throughout the year. Active participation by members had been a struggle over the years with some not being able to commit time to this volunteer group. The leadership also strove each year to extend the message to all applied statisticians across the association.
Their 2008 activities continued their contributions along these lines, sponsoring invited sessions, collaborating with the Biopharmaceutical, Statistical Consulting and Biometrics sections again. The committee also chose Dr. Jennifer L.S. Gauvin to be the new chair starting in 2009.
2009 – 2014: The Years of Expansion
2009 was an important year as Jennifer and the committee built on the strong efforts of the committee’s past activities. Meeting monthly, the members now included Lei Zhu, Gordon Sun, Heather Litman, Amarjot Kuar, Ying So, Barbara Hanusa, Marlene Egger, Heather Litman, and Nat Schenker. They expanded their influence within ASA on behalf of Applied Statisticians. For example, the committee was brought in early for the discussions about new professional meetings, which lead to the Conference on Statistical Practices. The current CAS website was begun. A new CAS Social Mixer was held at JSM and drew people from all sectors (industry, academia and government). Coming from many different experience levels, the attendees were looking for career direction and networking opportunities, and everyone agreed that it was a big success. In fact, to this day CAS continues this tradition and often finds new CAS members through the social mixer.
The group provided six articles to the Amstat News’ Master’s Notebook from within the committee as well as through networking to others, sharing experiences and expertise for the statistician’s career.
At a first ever face-to-face meeting at ASA headquarters in April, the group developed a three year plan for the committee. In their Charter they took on the following four charges:
- Increase awareness and promote careers in applied statistic.
- Facilitate the recognition of applied statisticians within various fields of application.
- Promote forums showcasing relevant technologies and emerging methods benefiting applied statisticians.
- Coordinate with other ASA groups/units to ensure attention to the needs, priorities and career paths of applied statisticians.
Continuing the growth in influence, the group participated in strategic initiatives on membership growth and education, and even gave input to future ASA President Bob Rodriguez on how the ASA can better serve the needs and interests of applied statisticians. The participation was not without its struggles. As the Committee on Committees worked to better align committees with the board of directors and with like committees, CAS’ participation on the membership growth initiative gave the impression that membership was their focus.
Erin Tanenbaum joined the committee in 2009 after attending a JSM social mixer. She quickly stepped in and became the first ever Vice Chair for the committee when Jennifer went on maternity leave in 2010 and her organization did not allow her to take on volunteer activities during her leave. Finally, in 2009 plans were already under way for JSM 2010 to maximize the benefit for applied statisticians. The goal was to chair two invited sessions. In fact, only Jennifer and Amarjot’s submission “Use of Graphics in Clinical Trials” was accepted as an invited session.
However, the committee’s involvement in JSM 2010 went beyond this one session, excellent as it was. The social mixer was a success again with many people curious about CAS and how they could help. The committee’s other support of applied statisticians included:
- Successfully facilitating the nomination of Brent James for the Deming Lecture (Marlene Egger)
- Speaking in the invited session “Why I took the Red Pill: Four Consulting Statisticians Discuss Making a Difference in the Real World” which was so popular that the room was overflowing (Erin Tanenbaum)
- Presenting a roundtable on “How can ASA Support the Applied Statistician?”
- Presenting multiple roundtables on “Preparation of Statisticians for the Needs of Industry”
- Attendance at the Membership Council meeting and the ad-hoc statistical practice conference planning committee meeting (Jennifer Gauvin & Keith Schleicher)
- Presenting the poster entitled “Resources and Recognition of Applied Statisticians in ASA”
During the rest of year the committee actively collaborated with other ASA sections, committees, units and initiatives, in each of these advocating for the applied statistician.
The committee continued their important contribution of providing articles for the Master’s Notebook, either writing the articles themselves (4) or seeking and finding authors to write them on appropriate, engaging and diverse topics. The process of finding authors was also more automated with standard emails available for all CAS members to send to their colleagues and contacts.
Finally, in preparing for JSM 2011, committee chair Jennifer Gauvin reviewed and submitted written feedback and rankings for more than 50 short-course proposals. This is an activity that the chair continues to do each year: serve as a judge for the short course proposals which is a true honor and privilege.
In 2011, the committee consisted of Jennifer Gauvin (chair), Amarjot Kaur, Marlene Egger, Barbara Hanusa, Erin Tanenbaum (vice chair), Jack Nyberg, Greg Goodwin, Keith Schleicher, Mark Otto and the ASA staff liaison: Keith Crank. This team promoted the state of the art methods and technologies by co-sponsoring select sessions at JSM. They facilitated recognition of applied statistics within various fields of application by hosting the JSM 2011 social mixer, presenting the session “The World of Applied Statistics: Where Do You Fit In?” and promoting the recognition of potential ASA Fellows in applied areas.
The committee coordinated with other ASA groups and units to ensure attention to the needs, priorities and career paths of applied statisticians in many ways. They were instrumental in organizing the Conference on Statistical Practice, including designing and analyzing the post-meeting survey. They wrote an article summarizing the 2011 Panel on Applied Statistics and participated in the Career Success Factors Workgroup, which was an initiative from President Bob Rodriguez (Erin Tanenbaum).
They worked to further increase the awareness and promote careers in applied statistics by participating in the YouTube video contest as part of ASA President Nancy Geller’s initiative to raise Public Awareness of Statisticians (Erin Tanenbaum).
Finally, the committee also began working on a “Friends of CAS” discussion and news forum (Greg Goodwin). The Friends of CAS was seen as a way to 1) increase the number of people involved with the committee by potentially drawing on others for various CAS tasks 2) promoting CAS activities through a newsletter or mailings, and 3) create a running list of ASA members or JSM attendees who attended one or more CAS event.
In 2012, the committee continued the outstanding work on behalf of applied statisticians, renewing the efforts from previous years and adding more. New accomplishments in 2012 included migrating to the CAS micro-site on ASA’s community (Mark Otto). They also supported JSM with sessions, panels, roundtables, the mixer, etc. One key change in 2012 was the revision of the second charge to “To facilitate the visibility and recognition of importance of applied statistics within various fields of application.”
2013 – 2015: The Mentoring Years
In 2013, Amarjot Kaur, a long-standing committee member, took the reins and chaired the committee in her final years (2013-2014). New members were also added in 2013: Eric Vance, Richard Morris, John Lin and Shari Messinger-Cayetano. The ASA staff liaison was Lynn Palmer.
In 2012-2013 an initiative was brainstormed at a face-to-face meeting at ASA headquarters, written in one weekend, submitted, and approved that would give the Committee a new excitement and greatly expand their contribution beyond the many areas already achieved. This initiative was the Mentoring Pilot and Clearinghouse, which was implemented in many ways. One example is the Mentoring Taskforce Face-to-Face Meeting at ASA headquarters in October allowed CAS members and other ASA members to brainstorm on next steps. Others included creating a clearinghouse or list of all active and past ASA mentoring activities. What they quickly found is that mentoring programs typically last about 2 to 3 years and then the section or chapter stops the activity. With this in mind, they then piloted mentoring activities at both the Conference on Statistical Practice (CSP) and the Joint Statistical Meetings. These activities provided feedback as the committee prepared to scale up the efforts. The mentoring has become an important part of the ASA. CAS has helped both mentors and mentees to understand the process, connect up with one another and grow each other’s careers.
The Committee still provided the strong contributions that had already been established: reviewing short courses, submitting invited applied sessions, providing Master’s Notebook articles, Friends of CAS email list, creating tutorials on statistical collaboration skills and taking leadership positions in the CSP.
The access for committees to the invited program that the ASA provides, which had been minimal, had improved this year. However, it was still not ideal. Committees may compete for only one slot on the invited program. Many CAS discussions on submitting invited sessions revolved around whether to enter the competition or approach a Section for support.
The invited session that did get approved for JSM 2013 was the Panel Discussion on “Diverse Applications of Statistics - Are We Doing Enough in Creating Visibility?” This well received discussion was organized and lead by Amarjot Kaur (chair) and Jennifer Gauvin (past chair).
A session at JSM was also organized and chaired by Eric Vance about using videos to improve statistical consulting.
The next year, the committee continued to seek funding for mentoring activities and received funds for a Mentoring Workshop which took place at JSM in 2015. The workshop was well attended (55 in total), but fell short of drawing the number of mentees that it had intended to do. Instead, a large number of mentors attended the event. This was somewhat surprising as it had always been a struggle for CAS to find an adequate number of mentors.