Math Department Name Change Better Reflects Course Offerings
Recently, the Skidmore News reported on the Exercise Science Department changing their name to Health and Human Physiology, and the Latin American Studies program changing their name to Latin American and Latinx Studies, but these aren’t the only name changes that have recently taken place. During this past semester, the Department of Mathematics officially changed their name to the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
The addition of “Statistics” to the department’s name comes after several years of planning to increase the number of such courses offered. In the past few years, the department has offered about five new statistics courses — three of which have been permanently added to the department’s course catalogue. Last year, the department also hired their second statistician, Julie Douglas, who officially started in the fall. David Vella, professor and Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, said that “Once we had two full-time statisticians on board, we went ahead with the name change.”
The name change helps to better reflect the department that “[continues] to maintain a wide variety of mathematics courses, but now also can offer a lot more statistics as well,” explained Vella
In addition to an increase in students interested in statistics, the department has been experiencing increased interest in applied math. The department has gone ahead and hired a second applied mathematician, Lucy Spardy, and now offers two senior seminars each year. One senior seminar is in pure math and one is in applied math or statistics.
Unlike the change to the Exercise Science Department’s name, this name change will not impact the name of the major or minor. However, the department is planning on offering a separate minor in Statistics. The department is expecting that the new statistics minor will be approved within a month.