New Minor in What’s Considered to be Sexiest Job of 21st Century
“Statistics has been described as the sexiest job of the 21st century, as the ability to learn from data is a critical skill for graduates,” said Michael Lopez Assistant Professor of Statistics. This is one reason the Mathematics department wants to add a statistics minor. A proposal, designed mostly by Lopez, for the new minor has been created and is awaiting approval from the curriculum committee, but because it is only a minor it is not expected to take too long to be approved. If it is approved this semester it is very likely that it will be available for the class of 2018, assuming students have taken the required courses.
The addition of the minor will help graduates formalize skills that include learning “how to obtain, clean, tidy, visualize, model, and communicate insights from complex data,” said Lopez, and it “seemed like a logical step towards building a more formal program in statistics.”
The proposal for the minor includes five required courses (intro course, specialized methods course (for example econometrics or psychology methods) and at least three other statistics courses). These courses will help give students skills in applied statistics and help them learn what they need to know in order to handle complex data sets.
Ultimately, Lopez hopes they will be able to expand the minor into a major, but in the meantime, he hopes “to graduate more and more students with high levels of data literacy who can work in a variety of fields.” To help grow the statics program at Skidmore this semester the mathematics department hired a second statistician, Professor Julie Douglas. Douglas came to Skidmore from the University of Michigan Medical school because she wanted the opportunity to teach and interact with students in the kind of close-knit setting that characterizes small liberal arts colleges. Currently, Douglas, who specializes in statistical genetics, is teaching a special topics course in statistical genetics and MS 104 Intro to Statistics. Next semester she will again be teaching MS 104 and MS 240 Applied Regression Analysis.
“Too many people think that if a subject like math or statistics is hard, it isn’t for them, or as our popular culture tells them, it’s not in their DNA. But mathematics and statistics are accessible to everyone, especially those who are willing to invest the time and effort” said Douglas. Lopez doesn’t “think there’s a student at Skidmore who would not benefit from a stats minor” as “it can truly shape how you view the world.”