UW Statistics Showcase

We are in the process of rethinking and redesigning our curriculum and degree programs. Why? Because the demand for statistical thinking is exploding, driven by Big Data in all walks of life. Our undergraduate major has increased five-fold in recent years, and shows no signs of abatement. Our graduates always find jobs, and interesting ones at that.

Still, we are challenged by how to move forefront research efficiently into the classroom, or into various flavors of online presentation and learning venues. How can we evolve our programs to meet soaring demand in a time of flat or declining resources? Turns out, nearly every Department of Statistics is having these same discussions. We will share some of our ideas in these pages, along with links to current ideas.

Redesigning statistics for relevance in the age of big data

How will statistics education meet emerging big data analytics demands for more people and tools?

What are we doing?

  • Developing blended gateway course
  • Engaging UG majors with data design & analysis
  • Streamlining PhD training for research excellence
  • Building big data analytics professional degrees

Big data demand…

Data Demand Poster

  • How will society efficiently train the 200,000 data analysts needed by 2018 (50% more than now employed)?
  • How will universities redesign teaching to engage students in team projects?
  • How will students get early exposure to data-rich projects?
  • How will instruction balance methods training with big data experiences?
  • How to meet rapid growth of UG major?
    • Develop blended gateway course
      • Redesign Stat 371 by top teacher
    • Talked with dean; hired advising staff
      • New bridge instruction - advising
    • Resequenced curriculum
  • How to redesign PhD using retreat?
    • Simplified course requirements
    • Engaged OQI staff to plan retreat
    • Involved all factions to build agenda
    • Focused retreat on key PhD issues
    • Identified actions to realize change
  • How to meet non-traditional demand?
    • Talks with dean, EI staff to focus
    • Studied other programs, local needs
    • Identified key staff to develop plan
    • Shared pre-proposal draft widely
…Next steps
  • New blended Stat 371 to be offered in Summer & Fall 2013; next step is to involve other faculty in process
  • UG major changes made effective Fall 2013; next step is to broadly rethink and modernize course offerings
  • PhD course & qualifier committees meeting and planning changes during Spring 2013; changes to begin implementing in 2013 and 2014
  • Develop big data analytics professional degree curriculum; refine local demand; visit other programs; network across UW
…Future plans
  • Implement big data analytics certificate in Summer 2014; masters eventually
  • Engage faculty in more data- and project-driven blended instruction
  • Create flexible, modular courses to increase variety and frequency of topics: target Fall 2014
  • Reward instructor effort with variable weights by size of class; enable more team instruction: target Fall 2014
  • Redesign course offerings based on modern research trends: Fall 2015

UW-Madison Department of Statistics