-- JonathanSchildcrout - 17 Sep 2017

Strategic Planning

Academics: Research and Education

Initial Survey:

1) What phrase would you use to summarize your vision for Academics at the Department of Biostatistics?
  • Advanced methods
  • Leadership
  • Real-world
  • Collaborative
  • Innovation
  • Intellectual identity
  • Best biostat department in a medical school
2) Please state the strengths of Academics in the Biostatistics Department.
  • Diveristy in expertise
  • Very nice culture
  • Computational emphasis
  • Prediction modeling
  • Graduate program
  • Scientific engagement
  • Modern statistical practice (e.g., reproducible research)
3) Please state the weaknesses of Academics in the Biostatistics Department
  • Lack protected time
  • Lack importnat domain applications
  • See as technicians
  • Teaching / grad student support underfunded
  • Lack of institutional commitment to education
  • Lack of data science, data mining, and machine learning expertise
  • Lack of leadership roles
  • Lack of clarity in roles of different faculty tracks
  • Lack of clinical trial expertise
  • Hard to find opportunities for faculty collaboration (with researchers) that will improve methods research. We help them but they dont help us
    • Same for students
4) What opportunities do you think exist for Academics in the Biostatistics Department in the next 10 years?
  • Data science education and practice
  • Impact
  • Personalized medicine
  • collaboration with industry
  • revenue generation
  • Creating a new identity
5) What are the threats to Academics in the Biostatistics Department in the next 10 years?
  • Financial model
  • decentralization: people hiring their own 'analysts' / us not being the central home for biostat
  • People thinking they can do our job
  • Difficult to quantify and market our impact
  • Competing priorities: methods vs collaborative vs educational vs money
  • Lack of funding to do creative research
  • Poaching of faculty by other schools and private industry
  • Marginalization: if we don't stay ahead or on top of trends
  • Frank? Forgot what was meant by this.
6) What is the most important Academic goal to achieve in the next 10 years?
  • Shift to having a data science presence or even a core
  • Biostat led grants: methods or scientific
  • Top 10 ranking
  • International (not national) reputation for being visionary
  • Training grant to support our students and possibly students / post docs from other fields
7) What components of the Academics does the department do particularly well?
  • Everything except Bayes
  • Collegial
  • Modern collaborative research (high end collaborations)
  • Foundations of inference
  • Computing
8) Think of other Biostatistics or related departments in the country. What are very strong features / strategies of academic programs at other institutions that we might consider adopting / implementing? Please list the department(s) and features / strategies?
  • Hopkins educational endeavors: MOOCS and data science degrees
  • Harvard B3D seminar in biostat
  • UW: data science
  • CMU and Michigan data science
9) What is the most important measure of success if we implement your vision of Academics in the Biostatistics Department?
  • Intellectual and scientific leaders
  • Outcompeting good places for students and faculty
  • High faculty and staff retention
  • Intellectual leadership in academic programs and projects
  • Our trainees are very employable and succeed
  • visibility outside department: short courses, working groups, study sections, editorship
10) Do you have other information that you think would be useful for planning the future of Academics in the Biostatistics Department? If yes, what.


  • Growth
  • Innovation
  • Reputation
  • Impact
  • Leadership
  • Education
  • Methods leadership: including applied methods / domain applications e.g. popn genetics
  • Collaborataive research
  • Scientific leadership: PIs on scientific grants
  • People / personnel

Where we want to be by mid-October
  • Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Action Plans
  • Vision (the dream)
    • Your vision communicates what your organization believes are the ideal conditions for your community – how things would look if the issue important to you were perfectly addressed. This utopian dream is generally described by one or more phrases or vision statements, which are brief proclamations that convey the community's dreams for the future. By developing a vision statement, your organization makes the beliefs and governing principles of your organization clear to the greater community (as well as to your own staff, participants, and volunteers).There are certain characteristics that most vision statements have in common.
    • In general, vision statements should be:
      • Understood and shared by members of the community
      • Broad enough to encompass a variety of local perspectives
      • Inspiring and uplifting to everyone involved in your effort
      • Easy to communicate - for example, they should be short enough to fit on a T-shirt
  • Mission (the what and the why)
    • An organization's mission statement describes what the group is going to do, and why it's going to do that. Mission statements are similar to vision statements, but they're more concrete, and they are definitely more "action-oriented" than vision statements. The mission might refer to a problem, such as an inadequate housing, or a goal, such as providing access to health care for everyone. And, while they don't go into a lot of detail, they start to hint - very broadly - at how your organization might go about fixing the problems it has noted. Some general guiding principles about mission statements are that they are:

      • Concise. Although not as short a phrase as a vision statement, a mission statement should still get its point across in one sentence.
      • Outcome-oriented. Mission statements explain the overarching outcomes your organization is working to achieve.
      • Inclusive. While mission statements do make statements about your group's overarching goals, it's very important that they do so very broadly. Good mission statements are not limiting in the strategies or sectors of the community that may become involved in the project.
  • Goals
    • Up to about five overarching goals or objectives that should be stated using the ‘SMART’ format (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant (or results- based), and time - bound)

  • Focus: The aim of this strategic plan is to outline the Biostatistics Departments' priorities over the course of the next 10 years so that faculty, staff and students have a shared vision and interest in the outcome
  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Core competencie
  • Values:
  • Highest Priority Goals: bulleted list of the goals
  • Goals: Bulleted points describing details of Goals
Departments to consider
  • Penn: Biostat department in a medical school
  • Columbia: Similar funding mechanisms
  • Wisconsin: A biostat and medical informatics department
  • Washington:
  • Johns Hopkins: A leader in innovative thought about biostat education
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Carolina
  • Harvard
  • Stanford
  • Minnesota






Future direction and emphasis:


  • Smallish classes
  • Individualized student experience
  • Not enough classes for our grad students:
    • Survey sampling, causal inference, epi methods, missing data
  • Do not teach undergrads: Classes
  • Classes for other grad students?
  • Data science related
Future direction and emphasis:

This topic: Main > SPAcademics
Topic revision: 26 Sep 2017, JonathanSchildcrout
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