Category Archives: In The News

Women Flocking to Statistics

With all the attention number crunchers are getting lately, this Washington Post article delves into the diversity statistics of a few STEM fields, and found that, surprisingly, Statistics stands above the pack: women earn 40% of statistics degrees, and represent 40% of statistics faculty poised for tenured positions. Women receive only 18% of earned computer science degrees, and represent only 11% of math faculty.

The Big Data fields could certainly benefit from a stronger female presence, and it is widely quoted that women represent 25% of STEM fields as a whole. For example, the Burtch Works Study (Sept. 2014) shows that only 26% of the overall analytics workforce is female, and our data science study (April 2014) found that only 12% of data scientists are women.

Hopefully things will continue to improve with Statistics leading by example!

2015 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebrations

As we begin to think about the spring semester, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Planning Committee is excited to invite you to share in the week of events to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Events will take place throughout the week of January 16, 2015 – January 24, 2015.  Please share the calendar throughout your campus and community networks as well as with your students.  You can also follow us on Facebook at University of Illinois: 2015 MLK Jr. Celebration or see the calendar on the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Access’ website at

Anthony Fontana
Anthony V. Fontana
Associate Director of Admissions and Enrichment Academy
College of Business
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Top 100 Blogs for Statisticians

Looking for some new blogs to follow? Data Science Central posted an article with over 100 leading blogs for statisticians (and like-minded professionals). The topics run the gamut from statistics and analytics to SAS, R, data mining, data visualization and more – there is really something for everybody!

The blogs are compiled from meta-blog StatsBlogs, whose number one featured blog is written by CCASA Statistician of the Year award-winner Andrew Gelman.


There is also a new book out that might interest you: What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions.

From the creator of the hilarious and irreverent STEM blog xkcd comes a new book What If? which seeks to answer ridiculous hypothetical situations in the most scientific way possible. Although not written by or specifically for a statistician, if you’ve ever wondered how fast you could you hit a speed bump while driving and live, or how long humanity would last if there was a robot apocalypse, this book is for you.

— from the Chicago Chapter of the American Statistical Association Newsletter, October 2014

Entering Class 2014

Interested in data about the University of Illinois? Me too. Take a look at this from the Division of Enrollment Management about our newest Illini.

Entering Class 2014
Read our new feature, Entering Class 2014 <> , to learn more about the incoming freshman class, including their demographics, academic profile, and more.

Have a great week!
Enrollment Management

Bachelor’s Degrees in Statistics Surge Another 20%

An article in the most recent issue of AMSTAT News from the American Statistical Association synthesizes the results of a continued study on the growth of academic programs in statistics. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has graduated the third most bachelor’s students and the fifth most master’s students over the three year period from 2011-2013!

“The recently released 2013 statistics and biostatistics degree data from the National Center for Education Statistics show continued robust growth for bachelor’s degrees, with a 21% jump over the 2012 number and a near doubling since 2009.” [Full Story here]

We’re glad to have you all as a part of our well-regarded programs and look forward to also counting you among our successful alumni in the coming years.



Fall 2014 Conference Travel Grant Competition

The Office of Undergraduate Research announces its Fall 2014 conference travel grant competition. Deadline for submissions is October 5, 2014, for conferences in Fall 2014. Competition for Spring 2015 will take place in November. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact OUR at Information and link to application form is available on our website at: .


Office of Undergraduate Research

(Professor Paul F. Diehl, Director)

Should Statistics Education Begin in Kindergarten?

From the CCASA,…

We’re all well aware that math education in the United States could use a few improvements. While many are calling for an overhaul, one author makes the case for using the ASA framework to teach statistical concepts much earlier than they are now (if they’re taught at all) – in kindergarten.

The case for starting statistics education in kindergarten


"Catching Fake Pollsters" talk this Wed

Emeritus Professor Michael Weissman

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Wed 9/10/2014   4:00 pm    141 Loomis

Although the statistical and systematic problems of public opinion
polls are fairly widely recognized, we tend to assume that published polling results reflect some sort of actual poll. In 2009 a prominent blog suggested that the pollster Strategic Vision might be fabricating data, based in part on surprising deviations from uniformity of the distribution of trailing digits of the results. Objections were raised to the assumed uniform distribution, but we were able to use Fourier analysis together with known polling statistics to show that the results were weird even if that assumption were dropped.
In 2010 we were contacted by a political consultant who had noticed anomalies in Research2000 poll reports. Using a variety of elementary statistical techniques, we showed that those results could not have accurately represented real polls.
Unfortunately, we do not know if there are other bogus pollsters, disguising results via a random binary generator (cost $0.01).


'Diversity and Internationalization in Higher Education' Focal Point Launch and Information Meeting

Hallene Gateway
Diversity and Internationalization in Higher Education Focal Point Launch and Information Session
September 5th, Lincoln Hall 1092, 3-5pm
All are welcome.
Given campus-wide concerns about the increasingly globalized U of I campus, this Focal Point project seeks to bring together a diverse group of graduate students, student and academic affairs administrators, and faculty who are interested in exploring the tensions and overlaps between movements for campus diversification and internationalization.
For more information, please see:
or contact Nicole Lamers ( if you are unable to attend but interested in participating or if you have any questions
The field of international education is “a growing pie” worldwide, with United States as the leading destination for the increasing population of students studying outside of their original countries. Specifically, according to the annual report by the Institute of International Education, there were 819,644 International Students studying in the U.S during 2012-13 academic year, accounting for 3.9% of its total higher education enrollment.
This development has been the focus of intense debate in US higher education during the past decade. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign enrolled 9,407 international students of its 43,398 total enrollment in Fall 2013. The largest number of international students at any public research institution in the United States (second only to USC, overall). According to NAFSA, an estimated economic contribution of $300,351,700 and 5,538 jobs were created or supported due to the influx of international students during the 2012-2013 academic year in Congressional District 13 of the State of Illinois alone, to which the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a major contributor. In addition to economic value, international students also contribute academic value to U.S. colleges and universities, as well as cultural value to campuses and local communities by serving as cultural bridges and bringing global perspectives. While the internationalization of higher education is pictured positively either economically, politically, academically, or culturally, there have been growing concerns nationally, about the ways in which domestic diversity and global diversity intersect, diverge and compete with one another in new and complicated ways. The goal of this Focal Point project is to explore these intersections and opportunities, while also acknowledging and addressing the obstacles.
Illinois homepage link