Washington Statistical Society
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December 2004


The Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award

On receiving the Roger Herriot Award in June 2001, Jeanne E. Griffith said:

One of the most rewarding aspects (of Federal statistics) for me was the opportunity to promote creative activities and energies among my staff When I have had the blessing to mentor young people in their careers, I have tried to emphasize (that) only they, themselves, can make the most of (the) .chances that life presents.

Dr. Griffith died in August 2001 after working for more than 25 years in the Federal statistical system. Throughout her career, and especially in her latter senior management positions at the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Science Foundation, one of Jeanne's highest priorities was to mentor and encourage younger staff at all levels to learn, to grow, and to recognize and seize career opportunities as they came along.

The Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award has been established to encourage mentoring of younger staff in the Federal statistical system. It is presented annually, beginning in 2003, to a supervisor who is nominated by co-workers and supervisors, and chosen by the Award Selection Committee.

The award is co-sponsored by the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy, the Council for Excellence in Government, the Washington Statistical Society, the Social Statistics and Government Statistics Sections of the American Statistical Association, and the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics.

Nominations for 2005 will be accepted beginning in February 2005. The last date for submission of nominations is April 1, 2005, and the Award Committee will make its determination of the award winner by May 1, 2005. The award will consist of a $1000 honorarium and a citation, which will be presented at a ceremony arranged by the co-sponsors in June 2005.

The winning mentor will be selected for his or her efforts in supporting the work and developing the careers of younger staff. Examples of typical mentoring activities include:

  • Advising junior staff to help them create career opportunities, networking skills, and contacts for growth and development;

  • Counseling junior staff and providing resources to help develop their technical writing, analysis, presentation and organizational skills and knowledge;

  • Encouraging junior staff growth and career development through attendance and oral presentations at meetings with higher level officials, staffs of other agencies, professional associations, training courses, and conferences;

  • Motivating junior staff and building self confidence through feedback on their efforts, being a listener when that is needed, and creating a caring and supportive environment;

  • Serving as a role model for junior staff through professional expertise, information and insights, balancing collegial and personal roles, and including everyone across rank, race, ethnicity, and seniority.

For further information on the award, contact Ed Spar, Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS) by phone: 703-836-0404; fax: 703-684-3410; or by e-mail at copafs@aol.com. The nomination cover sheet and guidelines form or a photocopy of it should be attached to a nomination memorandum or letter. Forms can be obtained by contacting Ed Spar, or by downloading from the COPAFS website at www.copfas.org. All nominations should be returned to the Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award Committee, c/o COPAFS, 1429 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 no later than April 1, 2005.

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Judges For The 2005 Science Fairs

Volunteers are needed to represent the Washington Statistical Society next spring as judges in five regional science fairs in Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and the District of Columbia. Since 1986, WSS has provided special awards at these fairs to students whose projects demonstrate excellence in data analysis or the application of statistical methods. Those who have participated in this activity have very much enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the students and to observe the widely diverse projects which are presented. The fairs are held on a Saturday morning in mid-March to mid-April. The only time required is that one Saturday morning, plus one weekday lunchtime meeting to discuss judging strategy.

If you would like to be a science fair judge next spring, please e-mail Robert Clickner at Robertclickner@westat.com by January 25, and include your e-mail address, work and home phone numbers, your fax number and your mailing address. If you judged last spring, there is no need to contact Bob unless your e-mail address or phone number has changed. If you have any questions, please call Bob at 301-294-2815.

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Federal Committee On Statistical Methodology Statistical Policy Seminar

Achieving Statistical Quality in a Diverse and Changing Environment
December 15-16, 2004

The Seventh in a Series of Seminars Hosted by COPAFS (The Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics)

Participants will include federal statisticians, economists, and managers, as well as others in the broader statistical community who share an interest in the quality of federal data.

Support Provided by:

  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Bureau of Transportation Statistics
  • Energy Information Administration
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Agricultural Statistics Service
  • National Center for Education Statistics
  • National Center for Health Statistics
  • Social Security Administration
  • Statistics of Income Division of the Internal Revenue Service
  • U.S. Census Bureau


  • Standards for Statistical Surveys
  • Agency Initiatives to Monitor Survey Quality
  • Recent Advances in Measuring Quality Assurance
  • Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act: Where Are We and Where Are We Going?
  • Integrated Survey Designs: Analytical Enhancements Achieved Through Linkage of Surveys, Administrative and Secondary Data
  • Telephone Surveys in a Changing Environment
  • Incentives in Government Surveys: Practices and Perspectives
  • Web Surveys: A Research Agenda For a Changing Environment
  • Advisory Panels: Seeking user Feedback to Improve the Quality of Statistical Programs
  • Researcher Access to Confidential and Micro Data From Home Institutions
  • Data Mining: Policy Implications and Applications
  • Tools, Policy, and Procedures for Survey Improvement

Keynote Address: Richard Kulka, Research Triangle Institute

Location: The Holiday Inn Select, 8120 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland

Cost: $150.00 per person

For Further Information, Contact the COPAFS Office at:
Phone: 703-836-0404, Fax: 703-684-3410 and Email: copafs@aol.com

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Joint Program in Survey Methodology Course Announcement
Subjective Measurement in Surveys
April 7 and 8, 2005

For 100 years, a huge amount of social science research has been done using structured questionnaires, and asking questions and interpreting answers are core activities for clinical psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists and others who do not administer structured questionnaires. During most of this time, the wording and ordering of questions has traditionally been viewed as "an art, not a science" (Hadley Cantril, 1951, p. vii). Stanley Payne (1951) cautioned that readers of his book on questionnaire design "will be disappointed if [they] expect to find here a set of definite rules or explicit directions. The art of asking questions is not likely ever to be reduced to some easy formulas (p. xi)." Thirty years later, Sudman and Bradburn (1982) agreed, saying that "no 'codified' rules for question asking exist (p. 2)."

This course will challenge that perspective and make the case that the accumulation of a great deal of knowledge throughout the social sciences about effective question-asking does indeed offer a basis for recommendations about how best to measure subjective phenomena. However, this work has been scattered across the publication outlets of numerous disciplines, and this literature has not yet been comprehensively and integratively reviewed in a central place.

The course will be engaging and useful for participants with a wide variety of backgrounds. Questionnaire designers and analysts of questionnaire data can be found in the academic world, in the business world, and in government. Individuals from all of these arenas will find this course useful for improving their work. In short, whether a researcher uses questionnaires in laboratory experiments involving 50 participants or in large-scale representative sample surveys of thousands of respondents or simply reads and interprets questionnaire-based data collected by others, this course will help him or her do better work.

The instructor is Jon Krosnick who is Professor of Communication, Political Science, and Psychology at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Methods of Analysis Program in the Social Sciences Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

Lunch and refreshments are included in the fee. Registrants will be provided with a notebook containing detailed course notes. The registration fee for employees at sponsoring agencies and affiliates is $550, $550 for full-time university students, and $730 for other participants. Payment by credit card is required. Post registration payment may be done online using the registrant's confirmation number or by calling (800) 937-9320. Payment is required by March 24, 2005.

Online registration is required. Confirmation of registration will be sent after the registration form has been processed. Registration is not firm until you receive a confirmation email. The email will include directions to the course. Payment by credit card is required. Post registration payment may be done online using the registrant's confirmation number or by calling 800-937-9320. The registration deadline is March 24, 2005.

The course will be held at the University of Maryland Inn & Conference Center, College, Adelphi, Maryland. It is located on University Boulevard at Adelphi Road, adjacent to the College Park campus of the University. Convenient parking in the UMUC garage is included in the registration fee. For hotel room reservations, call the Conference Center at (800) 727-8622.

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SIGSTAT Topics for 2004-2005

December 8, 2004 - PROC MIXED - Part 7: Generalized Linear Mixed Models, Speaker: Charlie Hallahan

We continue with the topic begun in October 2003. In the June 2004 meeting, the difference between general linear models and models using generalized estimating equations (GEE's) was covered. The available correlation structures in PROC GENMOD were discussed and GENMOD was used to fit a longitudinal data model. To wrap up this topic, the concepts behind generalized linear mixed models are discussed and a longitudinal data model is fit using the GLIMMIX macro.

January 12, 2005 - Resampling Methods, Speaker: Peter Bruce

Peter Bruce, developer of Resampling Stats software, will give an introduction to resampling methods and their history. He will discuss William Gossett's original simulations that led to the development of the t-distribution and work by Fisher and Pittman (all in the early part of the last century), as well as the development of the bootstrap. The talk will include illustrations of the main resampling methods: the bootstrap and permutation procedures. This will be an overview, suited to those who are not experienced resamplers, not an in depth technical talk.

February 9, 2005 - Graphics with R, Speaker: Mike Fleming

The ease of making graphs in R is one of its strongest attractions. Some examples of making graphs were discussed in Part I. In this second part, the topics of making graphs which are annotated with equations, of putting multiple graphs on a single page, and of using polygons will be discussed.

March 9, 2005 - PROC UCM - Unobserved Component Models, Speaker: Charlie Hallahan

Unobserved Component Models are very general time series models that incorporate trends, seasonality, cycles, regression effects, and autoregressive effects. Trends and seasonality can be allowed to change randomly. UCMs can be considered as generalizations of ARIMA and smoothing models. The basics of UCMs will be covered as well as some examples. PROC UCM is new in SAS/ETS version 9.

SIGSTAT is the Special Interest Group in Statistics for the CPCUG, the Capital PC User Group, and WINFORMS, the Washington Institute for Operations Research Service and Management Science.

All meetings are in Room S3031 (Food Safety and Nutrition Room), 1800 M St, NW from 12:30 to 1:30. Enter the South Tower and take the elevator to the 3rd floor to check in at the guard's desk.

First-time attendees should contact Charlie Hallahan, 202-694-5051, hallahan@ers.usda.gov and leave their name. Directions to the building and many links of statistical interest can be found at the SIGSTAT website, www.cpcug.org/user/sigstat/

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the February WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than December 30, 2004. E-mail items to Michael Feil at michael.feil@usda.gov.

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Click here to see the WSS Board Listing (pdf)
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