Statistics Living-Learning Community

MCTP: Sophomore Transitions: Bridges into a Statistics Major and Big Data Research Experiences via Learning Communities

This Statistics Living-Learning Community (STAT-LLC) project at Purdue University addresses two transitions in the training of undergraduate statistics students:
  1. The bridge from first-year general curriculum into sophomore year Statistics major courses, and
  2. The bridge into a student's first research experience in data analysis, especially with Big Data.
Each year over a five year period, 20 sophomore trainees will take part in the STAT-LLC that involve The project leaders will schedule 3 core courses: and the seminar series in blocks, so students take these courses together as a cohort (and still have plenty of time for individual electives), live together in a dormitory, and participate in a research experience that lasts 12 months (start of sophomore year to start of junior year).

The Senior Personnel are 12 faculty from the Department of Statistics at Purdue University. Additional faculty mentors will hail from Actuarial Science, Atmospheric/Earth Science, Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Health and Human Sciences, and the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering and be supported by administrators, academic advisors, and recruiters.

Beyond Purdue, Rose-Hulman will host the students for their annual Undergraduate Mathematics Conference.

The Department of Statistical Science at Duke University and the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Los Angeles will partner with Purdue on a DataFest student competition.

Assessment will be provided by Purdue's Discovery Learning Research Center, and an External Advisory Board has been assembled with colleagues from the American Statistical Association, Duke University, Indiana University, the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, University of South Carolina, and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, in Melbourne, Australia.



Pairing the academic and residential life experiences is a known best practice for the first-year experience but is rarely used at the sophomore level as it is in the present project. Furthermore, the Statistics Living-Learning Community (STAT-LLC) will pair this model with an early, team-oriented introduction to big data analysis. We conjecture that the project will This holistic experience should result in more students pursuing double majors: Statistics and an applied major in a data-oriented discipline.

Our assessment of this comprehensive training experience should reveal new insights into the way that pairing academic coursework, research, professional development, and residential life at the sophomore level can alleviate the sophomore slump within STEM disciplines.

The Senior Personnel will offer faculty training workshops at national meetings to teach colleagues how to unite the aspects of the sophomore experience in a relevant way for their campuses. The workshops will be free, to maximize participation by faculty who would not otherwise have access to such resources, networking, partnerships, and professional development opportunities. As a result, more campuses will be able to offer research experiences for sophomores in the context of a learning community.

Students will communicate their experiences each spring at Diversity initiatives will be supported by


Synopsis of MCTP Program, from NSF MCTP website:
"The long-range goal of the Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) Workforce program is to increase the number of well-prepared U.S. citizens, nationals, and permanent residents who pursue careers in the mathematical sciences and in other NSF-supported disciplines. The Mentoring Through Critical Transition Points in the Mathematical Sciences (MCTP) activity is part of the Workforce Program. MCTP supports education through research involvement of cohorts of trainees at specific stages of professional development that have been identified as crucial to career success."

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1246818. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.