Applied statisticians typically work in collaboration with professionals in other fields. To better prepare students for such collaborations, Statistics 795 will challenge students to integrate and apply the knowledge they acquire elsewhere in the graduate statistics curriculum. We will also discuss professional standards and the interpersonal skills necessary for effective statistical consulting.

Thus, Statistics 795 will serve as a practicum in statistical communication and problem solving. The course is highly recommended for second-year graduate students in statistics. The stated prerequisite is Statistics 670B, but interested students may also be admitted with the consent of the instructor. In addition to gaining experience in the application of statistics, students may encounter problems that suggest areas of inquiry suitable for M.S. theses in Statistics.

Through course readings and viewing videotapes of consulting sessions, we will discuss heuristics for effective problem identification and positive interaction with clients, as well as oral and written presentation skills. This orientation phase will comprise approximately 25 percent of the course. In the practicum phase (the other 75 percent) students will spend most of their time working with clients, usually graduate students in other departments.

Students will be required to prepare and maintain client files that include a description of the client’s problem and recommendations for solution made by the student consultant. In consulting activities students will be evaluated on three aspects: (1) the student’s professional behavior, (2) the process of the student’s interactions with clients, and (3) the content of those interactions. Short papers and exercises will also be assigned on topics related to statistical consulting.

Note that this is a three-unit course. The activities in Statistics 795 will be coordinated with the SDSU Statistical Consulting Center.