Description-Navigating Tough Conversations in Statistical Collaboration

Navigating Tough Conversations in Statistical Collaboration
Instructors: Emily Griffith, North Carolina State University, Julia Sharp, Colorado State University, and Zach Weller, Colorado State University
Half-day course

Statistical practitioners face difficult conversations in their interactions with their clients and collaborators. The topics of these conversations vary widely, from completion timelines to the use and interpretation of p-values. While there are no universal guidelines for navigating tough conversations, thoughtful discussion about common experiences and lessons learned; reflection on differences among individuals and situations; and exercises such as role playing can be helpful to prepare and build confidence for engaging in future tough conversations. In this course, we will build participants’ confidence to effectively communicate with clients and customers when challenging topics or situations arise by giving and soliciting examples of difficult conversations often encountered in statistical collaboration; provide suggestions to approach and engage in these difficult conversations through multiple interactive activities; and engage participants in the interactive session and learn from each other through discussion, role-playing, and conversations motivated by participants’ questions and recently produced videos portraying several difficult conversations between statisticians and their collaborators.

About the Instructors:
Emily Griffith is an Associate Professor of the Practice in the Department of Statistics at NC State University. She is also the Director of Analytics Consulting for NC State’s Data Science Academy. Dr. Griffith is an accomplished expert in applied, collaborative statistics and data science as well as in mentoring the next generation of applied statisticians and data scientists. She was recently selected as the winner of the Outstanding Mentor Award from ASA’s Section on Statistical Consulting. In the Data Science Academy at NC State, Dr. Griffith works to develop strategies to further innovation in the university’s data science initiatives by training graduate students in interdisciplinary data science collaboration. She has more than 100 collaborative publications with researchers across scientific domains including veterinary medicine, paleontology, toxicology, entomology, and the social sciences. Dr. Griffith was elected to serve as the American Statistical Association Council of Chapters Governing Board District 5 Vice Chair beginning in 2023. She earned her PhD in Statistics from NC State University.

Julia Sharp is a Professor and Director of the Graybill Statistics & Data Science Laboratory in the Department of Statistics at Colorado State University. Julia is a widely recognized expert in applied statistics and statistical collaboration and was recently selected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and the Outstanding Mentor Award from ASA's Section on Statistical Consulting. She has more than 15 years of experience working with design, analyses, and interpretation across a variety of disciplines, including occupational therapy, computer science, and clinical sciences. Dr. Sharp is a trained applied statistician, with expertise in the areas of longitudinal data analyses, mixed effects and hierarchical linear modeling, and experimental design. She is currently serving as past-chair of both the ASA Council of Chapters Governing Board and the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Outreach Group for which she led the formation in 2020. She earned her PhD in Statistics from Montana State University.

Zach Weller is a statistical data scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Zach has worked as a collaborative statistician for 7 years and has expertise in spatial, Bayesian, and nonparametric statistics applied to a variety of domains. At PNNL Zach works with domain scientists to understand environmental and ecological impacts associated with energy and to solve problems in national security. A large part of his past efforts have focused on studying methane emissions from the use of natural gas, animal welfare and meat quality, and sports statistics. He earned his PhD in Statistics from Colorado State University. Outside of work, Zach enjoys being a new father, baking, and hunting and fishing.

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