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This is a session of Topic 3: Statistics education at the post-secondary level             Full topic list

(Thursday 6th, 16:00-18:00)

Mentoring of graduate students



Mentoring, a specific type of faculty-student relationship, is considered to be the heart of graduate education (Cusanovich and Gilliland, 1991). Mentoring occurs when a more experienced organization member dons a guiding role with a less experienced protege (Kogler Hill et al 1989). Faculty mentors teach graduate students the technical aspects of their profession, collaborate with them on research, and assist them with job placement, networking, and professional development. The mentoring relationship is complex, with psychosocial interactions mixed with learning technical aspects of the discipline. In mentoring, the instruction is more individualized, and there is the potential for both greater satisfaction but also of greater frustration.

Mentoring of graduate students in statistics is another form of statistics education at the post secondary level. Many may not consider mentoring as the most effective teaching modality for the theoretical aspects of statistics. However, mentoring could be considered as the best way to teach applied statistics concepts, how to apply statistical techniques to real-life situations, and the art of statistical consultation. Engaging in collaborative research is a common method of mentoring in statistics; but it is not clear how much mentoring in terms of job and career counselling occurs with graduate students of statistics. Through their research training, much more than through their coursework, graduate students internalize the norms of their discipline - intellectual, methodological, and ethical. Unfortunately, while researchers have suggested that mentoring is crucial in academic settings, in comparison with other settings such as the business world, mentoring is less likely to occur (Wright and Wright, 1987).

This session will contain presentations that explore the following issues: what aspects of statistics education are best taught through mentoring; what is considered as ‘good’ mentoring, how commonly is mentoring done, potential pitfalls of mentoring, and whether mentoring is the best way to internalize statistical concepts.


PaperTitlePresenter(s) / Author(s)
3C1Mentoring statisticians in formal degree programs: the masters in biostatistics at the Universidad de Chile (1983-2005): entering the 21st centuryIrene Schiattino Lemus (Chile)
Rosa Montaño
Claudio Silva (Chile)
J. Francisco Cumsille
Gabriel Cavada
3C2As good as it gets: challenges in teaching Applied StatisticsJulio M Singer (Brazil)
3C3Mentoring graduate students in apprenticeship positions as research assistants: the experience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel HillShrikant Bangdiwala (United States)
3C4Mentoring in the final project of a Bachelor in StatisticsMaría Teresa Blaconá (Argentina)