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Abstract Details

Activity Number: 637
Type: Invited
Date/Time: Thursday, August 2, 2012 : 10:30 AM to 12:20 PM
Sponsor: Mu Sigma Rho
Abstract - #303890
Title: Maintaining Quality in the Face of Rapid Program Expansion
Author(s): Rebecca Nugent*+ and Oded Meyer and Joel Greenhouse and Brian Junker and Cosma Shalizi and Gordon Weinberg
Companies: Carnegie Mellon University and Carnegie Mellon University and Carnegie Mellon University and Carnegie Mellon University and Carnegie Mellon University and Carnegie Mellon University
Address: Dept of Statistics, Baker 132, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213,
Keywords: program growth ; capstone methods ; undergraduate research ; Carnegie Mellon University ; student advisory committee

Times have changed. Students now start college often having already taken an introductory statistics course; this early exposure coupled with a strong quantitative analysis job market may have contributed to the huge popularity surge for our undergraduate statistics degree at Carnegie Mellon University. Moreover, the CMU undergraduates (n = 6000) are also strong in computer science, business, and math - all fields strengthened by statistics. As such, in the past five years, our number of majors has grown to about 150; enrollment in our capstone methods sequence has increased by 400%.

One of our program's primary tenets is the application of methods to interdisciplinary research problems. Every junior/senior level class incorporates projects using real data and focuses on all analysis phases from EDA to scientific writing to oral presentation. This curriculum requires a constant feedback stream, difficult in the face of such large growth. We present a broad program overview and then detail specific changes made over the last few years to ensure that our students are still receiving the same high quality statistics training. Feedback from current students will also be presented.

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