Invited Teaching Talk

Application &
at Columbia

Conference 2004


2:00-3:15 PM, Room 903 SSW  
Dr. Richard D. De Veaux , Williams College

Richard D. De Veaux is an internationally known educator and lecturer. He has taught at the Wharton School and the Princeton University School of Engineering where he won a "lifetime Award for Dedication and Excellence in Teaching." Since 1994, he has been Professor of Statistics at Willams College. Dick has won both the Wilcoxon and Shewell awards from the American Society for Quality. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association.

Talk title and abstract Math is Music: Statistics is Literature  

Gauss could add up hundreds of numbers in his head by the age of 3 and Mozart was playing the pieces he'd heard in church at home by about the same age. But who ever heard of a literary prodigy? Why not? Because literature is about the world and the wisdom one gains with experience. The same is true of Statistics. Rather than highlight the formulas that underlie Statistics, we need to emphasize the learning that Statistics gives us about the world. This is best done by outlining the steps in statistical thinking. We break these into three parts; First is Think -we start by thinking about the context and what we want to know. Then we use the appropriate methods. That's the Show step -- what many courses focus on. The most important part is the Tell step, communicating to others what we've learned, or what the limits to the data are. We'll outline our strategy for informing and exciting students about Statistics and how we use the steps in an introductory course.