Recruiting and Retaining Graduate Students in the Statistical Sciences and Applied Mathematics: June 5-6, 2014


This workshop was held at SAMSI in Research Triangle Park, NC.


This workshop, co-sponsored by the National Alliance for Doctoral Studies in the Mathematical Sciences, was aimed at faculty and administrators from PhD granting Departments in the Applied Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. The overall goal was to discuss current and successful strategies for enhancing success for U.S. students, and particularly members of underrepresented groups.

The workshop was designed for teams of three from each participating institution, including at least two faculty representatives from a mathematical sciences department and at least one departmental or campus-level administrator (Department Chair or Director of Graduate Studies, or Dean). These teams worked closely with faculty who already have significant previous experience with implementing changes in their own departments.  They also had the opportunity to discuss their programs with other participating institutions. Specific topics centered on improving outcomes for graduate students in terms of recruitment, retention, graduation, career development, and placement, with a focus on broadening access and enhancing success for U.S. students, particularly women and members of underrepresented groups.

The workshop size was limited to a small number of institutions so that significant work could be accomplished while at SAMSI.

Similar workshops have taken place at other Mathematical Sciences Institutes, see Teams were charged to leave SAMSI with a plan for implementation at their home institution.

Participation in this workshop was also an important criterion for those departments that wish to form Alliance Graduate Program Groups.

Additional Application Requirements

A representative from each team provided the following information in advance of the workshop:

A narrative of at most one page describing the size of your faculty, and your motivation for attending this workshop. Also include the following information:

  • Institution and Department Name
  • Graduate program disciplinary area: Applied Math/Biostatistics/Math/Statistics
  • Faculty on Team 3 faculty total (including at least one an administrator such as Director of graduate studies, Department Chair, Dean, etc.)
  • How many PhDs have graduated from your program? Over the last 5 or 10 years
  • Of these PhDs how many were to US Citizens or Permanent Residents? Over the last 5 or 10 years
  • Of these US Citizens/Residents how many were under represented minorities

Schedule and Supporting Media

Thursday, June 5, 2014
at SAMSI, Room 150

8:30 Leave hotel for SAMSI
9:00 – 9:15 Introduction and Goals of Workshop
9:15-10:30 Presentations from a member of each participating team:

  • Duke Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics: Greg Samsa, Steve Grambow and Megan Neely
  • Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Biostatistics & Bioinformatics: John Hanfelt, Howard Chang, and Amita Manatunga
  • University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health, Dept of Biostatistics: Abdus Wahed, Ada Youk, and Gong Tang
  • Virginia Commonwealth University, Dept. of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research: Paul Brooks, Angela Reynolds and Cheng Ly

10 minutes for each presentation to cover
— introduction to your department and PhD program (especially how large is your PhD program and how diverse your PhD program is now?
— a discussion on how you select your graduate students, specifically your PhD students (if you select to both MS and PhD). What do you use to select? (For example, how do you weight GRE, GPA, coursework?). What are your prerequisites?

10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-11:15 Phil Kutzko, University of Iowa
Introduction to The Math Alliance: Building a New American Community in the Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. What the Alliance does, what it will do for you, what the expectations are for a Graduate Program Group (GPG).
11:15-12:00 Open discussion
12:00-12:45 Lunch
12:45-1:15 Kathryn Chaloner, University of Iowa
How Diverse are Statistics and Applied Math compared to Math? Applied Math compared to Pure Math?
Presentation using the NSF data will be followed by discussion.
1:15-2:15 Panel on the transition from a minority undergraduate institution to a majority research institution: Kim Weems, N.C. State University,Kyndra Middleton, Howard University, and Pedro A. Torres-Saavedra, University of Puerto Rico.
2:15-2:30 Break
2:30-4:00 Panel on best practices for mentoring PhD students: Phil Kutzko, University of Iowa; Donald Cole, University of Mississippi; Leslie McClure, University of Alabama
4:00-4:15 Break
4:30-5:30 Initial meeting of teams and facilitators to work on a plan and/or application to become a GPG.
5:30-8:30 Social hour and reception followed by further work on plans with facilitators.

Friday, June 6, 2014
at SAMSI, Room 150

8:30 Leave hotel for SAMSI
9:00 Presentation and discussion of Team Plans (15 minutes each, with slides)
11:00 Phil Kutzko, University of Iowa
Changing Our Culture
11:30 Box Lunch
Departure for Airport