STATISTICS: YOUR TICKET TO ANYWHERE
Keywords:Statistics education research, Student engagement, Awareness raising, Future generation of statisticians
“We have too many first-year statistics students but too few who choose to major in statistics” is a common complaint among academics in the discipline of statistics, and our department is no exception. Many non-statistics academics appreciate the value of statistics to their discipline and include at least one statistics unit in their required units. However, students in such units often do not see the use of statistics within their discipline or the importance of learning statistics or quantitative skills in general, despite the current shortage of statisticians and deluge of data to be analysed. Our student numbers decline sharply by years of study, from first to second and from second to third. A handful of students who decide to major in statistics or decision science find themselves in high demand. In early 2016, just before the first semester started, we ran an event for the previous year’s successful first-year statistics students to encourage more students to choose statistics or decision science as a second major in addition to their existing majors. We worked with our alumni so that the second-year students heard talks mainly by people like them instead of like us – their lecturers. We called this event ‘Statistics: Your Ticket to Anywhere’. In this paper, we describe how we structured the event, its outcomes for the department, and how it helped us to “unveil the curtain” and to show the value of statistics to the students in their chosen fields of study.
First published February 2020 at Statistics Education Research Journal Archives