As important as it is to celebrate the 175-year success story of the ASA, it is even more imperative that we honor its heritage by doing our best to ensure a bright future for the association. Thus, the second half of the tagline for ASA 175 is "Energize Our Future."
The 175th Anniversary Steering Committee has identified three areas of focus for forward-looking activities. Each has been given a "code word," a term the committee uses as shorthand for what it hopes to accomplish. StatSharp embraces statistical education outreach activities. StatGrowth reflects the desire to see the ASA grow in number and in its reach to emerging areas of statistical practice. StatImpact is our way of saying we need to communicate the positive impact of statistics on our world more effectively and to broaden that impact further. With those goals in mind, here are some activities initiated as part of the ASA's 175th anniversary celebration:
- Effective teaching of statistics at the K-12 level is important to the future of our profession and to improving the statistical literacy of the general public. ASA members Chris Franklin and Tim Jacobbe are leading a group that will prepare a document called The Statistical Education of Teachers (SET). The SET corresponds to The Mathematical Education of Teachers, published by the Conference Board for the Mathematical Sciences, and will provide guidance to teacher education programs about proper preparation of individuals who will teach statistics.
- The committee is collaborating with the Committee on Member Retention and Recruitment to find mission-appropriate ways to increase membership and working with the Council of Chapters Governing Board to support chapters in their local outreach endeavors to quantitative professionals who have yet to engage with chapters or the ASA. The ASA now stands at about 19,000 members, but we think a target of 20,000 (and more) is possible and desirable.
- The theme for JSM 2014 is "Statistics: Global Impact - Past, Present, and Future." There will be StatImpact-themed sessions.
- Special sections or issues dedicated to the impact of statistics are under consideration in the journals Statistics in Biopharmaceutical Research and The American Statistician, with papers to be collected in 2014 for publication in 2015.
- A major public relations campaign will be launched in 2014 to encourage young people to consider statistics as a career.
Of course, the ASA leadership is constantly thinking about and planning for the future, but these are a few ideas specifically arising from thinking about our 175-year history. We know sound statistical practice leads to better informed decisions and improved human welfare. These 2014 projects will help the association continue to promote the practice and profession of statistics.