「華人戴明學院」是戴明哲學的學習共同體 ,致力於淵博型智識系統的研究、推廣和運用。 The purpose of this blog is to advance the ideas and ideals of W. Edwards Deming.

2015年5月31日 星期日

Takata’s Airbag Recall a Result of Converging Forces

Takata’s Airbag Recall a Result of Converging Forces



Takata airbag cushions at a factory in Sibiu, Romania, in 2006.CreditMihai Barbu/Reuters


Airbag Recall Widens to 34 Million Cars as Takata Admits DefectsMAY 19, 2015

Takata Airbag Recall’s Huge Scale Could Delay RepairsMAY 19, 2015

Fatal Flaws: Crisis in Auto SafetySEPT. 19, 2014

A Record Year for Auto RecallsDEC. 30, 2014

TOKYO — Just two weeks ago, the Japanese auto supplier Takata suggested the worst was over, as it continued to resist acknowledging any defects with its airbags.

At a briefing on Takata’s latest business results on May 8, executives predicted that the company would return to profitability in 2015, despite the continuing legal and regulatory challenges over its exploding airbags that have been linked to six deaths and more than 100 injuries. Although they cited the risk of lawsuits and future recalls, they insisted those issues were too vague to quantify.

But in the face of rising pressure from regulators and business partners, Takata changed course on Tuesday. It admitted its airbags were faulty and agreed to double the number of vehicles recalled in the United States, to nearly 34 million, in the largest auto safety recall in history. Takata’s share price plunged by as much as 12 percent in trading in Japan on Wednesday as investors tried to digest the potential impact on Takata’s already weakened finances.Continue reading the main story
Danger in the Steering Wheel

Airbags made by the Takata Corporation have a potential defect when they deploy. Some have ruptured, sending metal fragments into the car. Six deaths and more than 100 injuries have been linked to the problem.



Cutaway view





Inside the canister, pellets of a propellant based on ammonium nitrate, a common compound used in fertilizer, are ignited and generate the nitrogen gas that inflates the airbag in a fraction of a second.


Takata has said manufacturing problems, together with exposure to moisture in cars in humid regions, can cause the propellant to degrade. This can make the propellant burn too strongly when the airbag is deployed, rupturing the inflater and sending metal fragments into the car’s interior and injuring the driver or passengers.

The biggest factor in Takata’s reversal: American safety regulators and lawmakers. Regulators in the United States have been tightening the screws, fining the company up to $14,000 a day for what they said was insufficient cooperation with an investigation. Some members of Congress have been calling for a criminal investigation of the company.

While regulators in Japan have been quieter, Takata’s business partners — many of which are based in its home country — have also been growing impatient with its response to the crisis, according to people knowledgeable about the company’s relationship with its customers and the banks that are crucial to financing its operations.

“The message was, essentially, we won’t lend you more money until you sort this out,” said one person with knowledge of discussions between Takata and its banks, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “There was pressure coming from all sides.”

The company’s admission and the new recall could expose Takata to a larger share of recall costs and potential liability in lawsuits that are piling up in the United States and Canada. Recalls and repairs could run into the billions. One group of Canadian plaintiffs alone is seeking 2.4 billion Canadian dollars, or about $2 billion.

“As long as it was carmakers issuing the recalls, and the cause wasn’t pinpointed, Takata could say it was up to them to pay,” said Takaki Nakanishi, an auto analyst and chief executive of Nakanishi Research Institute.
Continue reading the main storyVideo
Takata’s Malfunctioning Airbags
By Carrie Halperin on Publish DateNovember 6, 2014.

In its accounts for the last fiscal year, Takata recorded a one-time cost of 60 billion yen, or about $499 million, for expenses related to the recalls. Those costs could now balloon to ¥250 billion or more just based on the additional vehicles that need fixing, even before any renegotiation with automakers about how to split the expenses, said Koji Endo, an auto analyst at Advanced Research Japan.

That would overwhelm the ¥20 billion in net profit Takata said this month it expected to earn in the current fiscal year, which began in April. It is possible those costs would be paid over several years, given the time that is expected to be required to complete such a vast recall.

AdvertisementContinue reading the main story

AdvertisementContinue reading the main story

AdvertisementContinue reading the main story

Analysts said Takata had enough cash reserves and support from its customers and Japanese banks to stay in business, even if it absorbs more losses. But both groups are said to be urging Takata and its reclusive chief executive, Shigehisa Takada, to act more decisively to draw a line under the crisis.

In the past, the company has said that any problems with the airbags were a result of manufacturing errors, not design flaws. Its latest admission suggested there were more fundamental problems with the inflaters, though it said carmakers shared blame because “testing specifications prescribed by the vehicle manufacturers” failed to uncover faults.

Since the crisis escalated last year, the founding Takada family has tightened its grip on the company. In December, the airbag manufacturer removed its president and handed over those duties to its chairman, Mr. Takada, the grandson of the company’s founder. The company said the move would further unify its response to the mounting recalls and expedite decision-making.Continue reading the main story

Is Your Takata Airbag Under Recall?

Millions of vehicles have been recalled worldwide over faulty airbags made by Takata. Six deaths have been linked to ruptured Takata airbags, five of them in the United States.

People in the United States can find out if their vehicle has been recalled on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recall page. Outside the United States, vehicle owners should consult their national safety regulator.
Go to NHTSA Recall Page »

Mr. Takada has drawn criticism for remaining out of sight during the crisis. He issued a written statement on Tuesday pledging “to do everything we can to advance the safety of drivers.” But he has not addressed the issue in person since a Takata shareholder meeting last June, where he apologized to investors.

Automakers, meanwhile, have been increasingly proactive in investigating why some of Takata’s airbags can rupture violently when they deploy. Six deaths and more than 100 injuries have been linked to shrapnel-like debris sent flying by exploding Takata airbag inflaters.

Last week, Toyota recalled nearly five million more vehicles over the problem, part of an expanded recall of 11.5 million vehicles by three Japanese automakers. Nissan and Honda were the others.

Toyota said it made the decision based on the results of its own independent testing, which it said revealed that some of the steel inflaters in Takata airbags were not airtight.

That finding was echoed in the admission on Tuesday by Takata, which said it had discovered leaks in some of inflaters that could allow moisture to seep in over time. When that happens, the chemical propellant inside breaks down, making it more susceptible to exploding violently.

“It was getting clearer that not just Takata, but carmakers like Toyota and Honda, were doing tests and getting closer to discovering the real cause,” Mr. Endo said. “At a certain point, it’s no longer sensible for Takata to keep quiet.”
Correction: May 20, 2015
An earlier version of a picture caption with this article misstated the location of a Takata factory. It is in Romania, not Japan.

2015年5月27日 星期三

A Deliberate Plan For On-Boarding And More Surprises

Management visionary & scholar, W. Edwards Deming, 1987. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

“The way we do things around here” is an essential part of on-boarding in every organization. It is often overlooked because entrepreneurs wrongly assume “the job” is about having the skill set to do the job. Knowing how to get things done “around here” –which is really a key aspect of the system of the company—is something W. Edwards Deming, the management guru, spoke about a great dea⋯⋯更多

A Deliberate Plan For On-Boarding And More Surprises
I have spent the last 2 years working myself into a role of more hours...

A Deliberate Plan For On-Boarding And More Surprises
Travis Timmons at Fitness Matters is losing a key team member, a specialist in Women’s Health Physical Therapy, because of a geographic move the team member is making with her family. He had a good candidate in mind to bring in to the company to take up that position.
The update, today, is that the newly hired Physical Therapist has officially joined the team and has been going through the on-boarding process. Over the past couple years, the business has been working to improve the system for on-boarding new team members, and Travis reported to me that the system has proved to make this a fairly smooth transition.
A lesson learned is that the system still needs to be even more deliberate and detailed to make sure the appropriate amount of more time is set aside for training and for introducing the new person to all the other team members –especially learning what they do, and how they can collaborate.
For example, the feedback from the new hire and from the existing team of 13 people is that there needs to be an entire week planned in which every day is systematically laid out to ensure that nothing drops through the cracks.
“The way we do things around here” is an essential part of on-boarding in every organization. It is often overlooked because entrepreneurs wrongly assume “the job” is about having the skill set to do the job. Knowing how to get things done “around here” –which is really a key aspect of the system of the company—is something W. Edwards Deming, the management guru, spoke about a great deal.
Management visionary & scholar, W. Edwards Deming, 1987. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Management visionary & scholar, W. Edwards Deming, 1987. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The system of your organization is more in control of outcomes and performance than most people think. Deming usually pegged the influence of the system on outcomes somewhere between 85% and 96% depending on the organization.
That seems like a big percentage when you first hear it. One reason for that is the fact that we can seepeople and so we tend to think it is ALL about the people, and of course, most businesses today are “in the people business.” Yet, smart entrepreneurs recognize that systems and processes are often not documented and therefore are not so easy to see.
Such lack of insight [about leading a system in which many of the most important things are often invisible because they are undocumented] causes a lot of businesses great trouble and cost.
Back to Travis: another challenge was also thrown into the mix of onboarding the new person. The original onboarding plan was to have the outgoing team member interact with the new team member for several weeks during the transition period.
“In retrospect,” Travis tells me, “that was probably an unrealistic expectation. When people move away, even only an hour or so away, they experience new challenges, many of them unanticipated, and they are often offered new opportunities –which if they don’t grab right away, will go away. So, each time we updated the timeline to adjust for a new challenge, it changed again because of the next challenge or opportunity that came along. I don’t want to prevent anyone from grabbing an employment opportunity to secure his or her future in a new locale. So, basically, the multiple week transition plan is not going to happen. That was a big disappointment even though I understand why and how it happened.”
From this experience, Travis says he has a better understanding of why some companies choose to make the departure and transition of even a valued person a much quicker process –and many companies don’t even try to have a prolonged transition plan.
“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” Travis says, “And had it worked, it would have been ideal. So, it was probably worth the attempt, but in future I need to lower expectations. We can put a longer transition plan in place, but with the knowledge that the odds are low that it will actually happen in the ideal way.”
The new team member was very much looking forward to the multi-week transition activities. Nevertheless, in the discussions she has had with Travis, it is clear that she sees that the important things are still in place: the focus on the high quality of patient care will continue, as will relationships with referring physicians and practice groups. Making those things happen requires a more intense focus with the shorter transition period, but it all can be accomplished.
Looking ahead, Travis will get the chance to apply the new theories about planning for transitions and for deliberate onboarding because he also just learned that this young company would have its first official retirement, this time of a personal trainer who has 20 years in the industry, a BS degree from The Ohio State University, and is an avid learner with an abundance of continuing education credits. She will be hard to replace.
Travis Timmons: I wonder how many other business owners have this struggle of balancing working ON the business with working IN the business.
Travis Timmons: I wonder how many other business owners have this struggle of balancing working ON the business with working IN the business.

He described his feelings by saying that this is a “cool” experience in one way because it means the company has officially been around long enough to have this occur. On the downside, he and others will greatly miss the person who is retiring, and of course, her retirement means hiring someone new.
Here is a key advantage of business growth in a small company: with the anticipation of growth, you –or in this case, Travis—will be anticipating the need to hire people to fit with the growth trajectory.
For example, Travis was able to hire the new Women’s Health Physical Therapist right away because he had been interviewing candidates for that position in anticipation of need for such a hire this year. He also anticipated that a new personal trainer would be needed to support growth this year.
However, even with the anticipated need of a personal trainer to support the company’s growth, Travis had not yet found a strong candidate (as he had for the Women’s Health Physical Therapy position). That means he has to focus on that right away. He would prefer to find candidates via trusted sources in his peer network because of the problems [and time-consuming nature] of just posting a job opening. We’ll see how that turns out.
Are you feeling the pressure he is feeling?
“All of these personnel changes are pulling me more and more back into the business and taking a lot of hours away from working on the future of the business. I have spent the last 2 years working myself into a role of more hours working on the business, and now I feel some of that progress slipping away. It is unsettling, and I am struggling with keeping the current business running smoothly because I am working on two potentially large opportunities for growth –that are under the radar of our competition. If I don’t stay focused on them, they could slip away because of my lack of attention to them. Yet, I want the business to hum, too.”
“I know with certainty that if I do not continue to commit time to working on the business, we will become stagnant or lose ground in the coming years,” Travis observes. “I wonder how many other owners have this struggle.”
The author donates the honorarium paid for this blog to The W. Edwards Deming Institute®, a non-profit helping businesses and organizations achieve success through Deming’s philosophies. 

Faust Tells Seniors To ‘Rise Above Fear’


At Baccalaureate, Faust Tells Seniors To ‘Rise Above Fear’


Harvard’s Class of 2015 has not had the easiest four years.
During their stay in Cambridge, the current crop of Harvard College seniors has witnessed a massive cheating scandal, the bombings at the Boston Marathon, and abomb threat that put Harvard Yard on momentarily lockdown during finals. But at Tuesday’s annual Baccalaureate service, University President Drew G. Faust told a crowded and noticeably sweaty Memorial Church audience to “rise above fear and anger by connecting with others, with compassion and with understanding.”
“Your education gives you the capacity to harness fear using imagination—to treat sources of fear as a problem to be solved with creativity, thought and daring,” Faust said.
Faust’s speech followed several prayers and hymns in multiple languages, as well as readings from some of Harvard’s chaplains.
Hymn at PBK
Evan M. O'Dorney '15 listens as the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum performs a hymn by Oliver Wendell Holmes that O'Dorney set to music during the 2015 Phi Beta Kappa Literary Exercises on May 26 in Sanders Theatre.MADELINE R. LEAR
Joking that her task during the service was to “transmit the sober wisdom of age to the semi-sober impatience of youth,” Faust said most media today is dominated by fear and anger. She commended the Class of 2015 for its activist efforts to confront fear and advocate for change in what she described as “the most activist year in recent Harvard memory.”
This year, students have continued campaigns to push Harvard to divest from fossil fuels, blockading Massachusetts Hall for an entire week. Students alsomarched the streets of Cambridge in the fall as part of the “Black Lives Matter” campaign in the wake of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York, as well as launching a new arts and advocacy magazine.
“Fear will be with us, but what do we make of it?” Faust asked. “One learns to manage fear, the way we learn any task, and I believe the education you have received over the past four years can not only contribute to addressing your own fears, but has given you tools to lessen the larger sense of fear that grips society as a whole.”
During lighter moments, Faust scored applause from seniors by incorporating references to widely used phone applications, such as Venmo, Uber, Snapchat, and even Tinder.
“Stay connected. Swipe right. Fear no fate. Carry other hearts in your heart. Do the thing you think you cannot do,” she said.
Faust also received a thunderous response when she commended the Class of 2015 for being the first to elect a joke Undergraduate Council presidential ticket.
Faust’s previous Baccalaureate speeches have advised seniors on “breaking good,” a reference to the television series “Breaking Bad,” and to “run toward.”
On Wednesday, actress Natalie Portman ’03 will address the seniors at the College’s Class Day. Former Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick ’78 will headline Harvard’s 364th Commencement on Thursday.
—Staff writer Theodore R. Delwiche can be reached at theodore.delwiche@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @trdelwic.

2015年5月22日 星期五



BdT Deutschland Wintervögel werden gezählt
(德國之聲中文網)德國自然保護聯盟(Naturschutzbund Deutschland, 縮寫NaBu)從2011年起發動大家參與"冬鳥一小時"統計活動,號召鳥類愛好者在每年1月的三天內的任一小時內數一數自家陽台、花園或是在某個公園中鳥的種類和數量。
Flash-Galerie Frühlingsboten
Eine Gruppe von Raben

2015年5月20日 星期三

Vial size changes can decrease the cost of vaccine distribution

vial 是裝疫苗的小玻璃管。

How Computational Modeling Can Improve Health: Vial size changes can decrease the cost of vaccine distribution: http://cmu.li/NbBox

Changing the size of vaccine vials can significantly decrease the cost of vaccine distribution, helping to leverage limited funding in low-income...

2015年5月19日 星期二

商學院搞砸了創新 ;該投資於「創造市場的創新」



2015-01-07 天下雜誌 564期

創新能帶動經濟成長,但是哈佛創新大師克里斯汀生(Clayton Christensen)卻警告,許多企業在做未來投資時,都選錯了創新模式,因而導致經濟無法繁榮成長,也無法創造大量工作機會。
企業從緊縮到重新開始雇人的時間愈拉愈長,所以大家說現在是「無就業復甦」(jobless recovery)。為什麼會這樣?這個質疑,成了我們研究成長的出發點。
第一種是「創造市場的創新」(market-creating innovation)。多數產業在剛興起時,他們的產品和服務往往既昂貴又複雜,只有富人買得起,而這種創新的好處,就是把這些只有少數人獨享、昂貴又複雜的產品,轉變為大家都買得起、價廉物美的產品。
第二種是「持續改善的創新」(sustaining innovation),用更好的新產品,取代舊產品。
第三種是「追求效率的創新」(efficiency innovation),也就是讓企業用更少做更多。沃爾瑪的零售模式,同樣的商品,它可以用比百貨公司便宜一五%的價格賣給你,而且庫存還少一半,就是追求效率的創新。

2015年5月18日 星期一

"deliberative poll" by James Fishkin 刻意的民意調查


It's Not A Come-On From A Satanic Cult. It's A New Kind Of Poll!
MAY 18, 2015 3:53 AM ET

Listen to the Story

Tanzanians from far-flung villages were brought to a fancy hotel to discuss natural gas policy.Courtesy of the Center for Global Development

You get a visit by someone you never met. You're invited on an all-expense paid trip to your country's biggest city for a two-day meeting on natural gas policy.

Oh, and if you show up you get a free cellphone!

It might sound sketchy. But it's actually an innovative strategy that could help the African nation of Tanzania decide how to spend its expected windfall from new discoveries of natural gas.

Participants listened, they asked questions and then they went home, where they'll be polled on their views.Courtesy of the Center for Global Development

The approach was developed in the late 1980s by James Fishkin, a professor at Stanford University. Fishkin has devoted his career to convincing leaders to consult their citizens before making difficult policy decisions. But he says you can't just do a poll.

"If you have ordinary polls people usually are not well informed. You don't want to follow public opinion when the public just has a vague impression of sound-bites and headlines."

So Fishkin created what he calls a "deliberative poll." You gather a representative sample of a population for a one or two-day meeting. You give them tutorials on the issue and a chance to question experts from all sides. Then, you send them home and poll them.

"The idea of the deliberative poll is to find out what people would think if they really had a good chance to think about it," says Fishkin.

This approach sounded exciting to a Tanzanian economist named Abel Kinyondo. He specializes in the management of resources like natural gas — and over the last several years Tanzania has discovered some rather large reserves.

"A lot of it, A lot of it, A lot of it!" Kinyondo exclaims. "And what has been discovered now is not even the half of what the potential for oil and gas in Tanzania is."

Kinyondo, who works at a think-tank in Tanzania, worries that the profits from all that gas could prove less of a blessing than a curse. When other poor countries have hit similar jackpots, the infusion of cash has fueled corruption. It has also driven up inflation, making it hard for other industries — agriculture and manufacturing — to compete on the global market. Most disheartening of all, says Kinyondo, is that the leaders of countries that failed to reap the full benefit of their oil and gas money often knew what the risks were.

"These people had wonderful economists and wonderful policy-makers who had all these wonderful plans."

But Kinyondo says one group of potential advisers aren't typically consulted: ordinary people, like farmers and street vendors and housewives. Kinyondo thinks their input could be crucial because the choices Tanzania faces really boil down to a judgment call about priorities. Would it be better to put the natural gas money in a rainy day fund or spend it now? If you do spend it, what's the most urgent need? Roads? Schools? Clinics?

"People, regardless of their education level, they know what they want," he says.

So Kinyondo jumped at the chance when, several months ago, some collaborators at a Washington D.C.-based think-tank, the Center for Global Development, proposed enlisting Stanford's Fishkin to do a deliberative poll of 400 people.

Over the years, Fishkin has done about 70 deliberative polls in more than 20 countries. This is the first time a deliberative poll has been done on this scale in Africa. The organizers say it raised some particular challenges.

For instance, if you pull together a cross section of Tanzanians a lot of people won't have studied beyond elementary school. So instead of creating written briefing documents, the team had to come up with video versions.

Another problem: How do you do follow-up polls with people who don't necessarily have a phone? The solution: hand out free cell-phones.

But the biggest obstacle may have been the reaction in far-flung villages to the offer of a free trip and phone.

"It was like, 'Why us? What is this?' says Kinyondo.

Mujobu Moyo, one of Kinyondo's collaborators from the Center for Global Development and herself a native of Tanzania, explains that there are lot of rumors in her homeland about satanic cults, which people there refer to as "Free Masons."

"Anything new in Tanzania that involves money and that people have never heard of immediately gets marked down as a Free Mason thing," says Moyo. "So people were saying, 'Who goes around the country giving out free cell phones?' It must be some Free Mason, devil-worshipping group."

That was the conclusion drawn by relatives of Hamisi Hamisi, a 24-year-old street vendor whom I reached on his new cell phone in his town in southern Tanzania. His family begged him not to go to the natural gas meeting. "They were very, very scared," he recalls, speaking in Swahili through an interpreter. "They said, 'Why are they only selecting a few people to give phones to? These researchers must be bad people who are going to take people for human sacrifice.'"

About 40 would-be participants refused to go. After a talk with a local official, Hamisi decided it was probably safe. "It seemed like something very unique and I wanted to experience it for myself," he says. "So I convinced myself that it was worth the risk. If I took the trip and I ended up dying then it would be the day that God had written for me to die."

Among the topics: Would it be better to put the natural gas money in a rainy day fund or spend it now? If you do spend it, what's the most urgent need? Roads? Schools? Clinics?Courtesy of the Center for Global Development

Many participants seemed wary when they first arrived. The sight of the fancy hotel only heightened their anxiety. Some had never opened a door with an electronic card key. And Moyo describes the reaction of one man when a volunteer took him up to his room in an elevator:

"He got out of the elevator and said, 'This has proved what I thought all along. This is definitely a Free Mason thing. How did they fly me from another location to this location?' He just didn't know what an elevator was!"

That man left. Almost everyone else stuck it out. And when participants gathered in the grand ballroom and started discussions, something remarkable happened: people really got into it.

"Everyone was pumped up!" says Kinyondo.

Stanford's James Fishkin describes mothers with suckling babies, elderly folks dressed in their finest, all talking so earnestly. When there was a sudden power outage, "they just continued as if nothing had happened. They turned on their cell phones and used them as lights."

Now that the recruits have gone home, the researchers have started calling them up to do the poll. Kinyondo says he hopes Tanzania's government will use the results to inform its decisions. But he says the ultimate message for the country's leaders — in fact for leaders everywhere — is broader: it's worth the trouble to involve ordinary citizens. Who better to judge tradeoffs than the people who have to live with them?

2015年5月14日 星期四

耶魯大學Jonathan Reuning-Scherer教學獎:教各學門的統計學導論

他教300名學生大班:不用一般投影機用光筆,他採用星際大戰的光劍Jedi light sabre.....
他教到迴歸,有一outlier (異常值),問道:..... (9月19海盜日),學生答:船長,是異常值!他答,你說得對!夥伴.....

LightSabers OrgYel.jpg
To engage students in a ‘maligned’ subject, Jonathan Reuning-Scherer creates moments for humor. Related: http://bit.ly/1IVgKzs

Jonathan Reuning-Scherer



To engage students in a ‘maligned’ subject, Jonathan Reuning-Scherer creates moments for humor

Keeping the attention of a classroom of 300 students studying statistics can be a challenge, but Jonathan Reuning-Scherer, the recipient of the Richard H. Brodhead ’68 Prize for Teaching Excellence, has it figured out. He uses and encourages humor. Props are a routine part of his repertoire. Instead of a pointer, he uses a Jedi light sabre, and he tries to make every minute count, as he’s even figured out how much time is lost if his students’ attention wanders. One student who nominated him for the teaching prize said Reuning-Scherer brought the material alive in such a way that his lectures felt like a “one-on-one study session.”
Course: “Introduction to Statistics”
What excites you about teaching Yale undergraduates?
Obviously, we have some of the most brilliant students on the planet here at Yale. But, frankly, the thing that excites me the most is getting to help train future leaders and future scientists. I really see statistics as a helping field: It’s a critical tool these students will use as they go off to do great things in life. Sometimes former students send me notes about what they’re doing, and it’s very exciting to see what they do with statistics.
What do your students teach you?
The thing that my students teach me, really, is how to teach. I think that by listening to them I learn what motivates them and what excites them. I teach some of the biggest classes here at Yale; I have 300 students. I can see when they are asleep and when I’m losing them. Over the years I’ve learned what will engage them: what examples to use, when to use silly props and humor — whatever it takes get statistics into them.
I teach one of the most maligned subjects on the planet and so it’s very rewarding when I see in the reviews, “Professor Reuning-Scherer managed to take a dreadfully dull subject and engage my attention for an entire semester.”
Being a teacher of a class of 300 students I often think very carefully about every word I say. I often think that if I have 300 students in front of me, every minute that I talk is five hours of human time lost, so that minute better be engaging and relevant. 
What advice would you give to a Yale undergraduate about his or her time here?
I think the advice I would give to a Yale undergraduate would be to figure out what their passions really are. One of the great surprises of hitting my 20s was to discover that after all the emphasis that has been placed on getting good grades, no one ever asked for my transcript after my first job. But people did care if I have skills and was really passionate about my work.  I would say to undergrads, “Figure out what really drives you, and if you can make a living out of it, it’s one of the greatest joys in life.”
If there is one thing you’d like your students to learn from you, what would that be?
If there’s one thing that I’d like my students to learn from me, it’s the power of statistics. There’s been a real explosion of data analysis and use of data in politics and in science. Statisticians, while we are a rather maligned lot, are actually highly moral. I hope that my students will learn that there is a real power in data, that it can be used for good or for ill. Regardless of what field they are in, people will try to use data against them — or data can be one of the most powerful allies they have in telling their story.
Tell us about one of your most memorable classroom experiences.
One of my most memorable classroom experiences happened about three weeks into class when we were talking about regression. I put up a slide with some data and said, “Now this point right here, is this an outlier or an influential point?” And one student goes, “Argh, it’s an outlier, captain!” I said, “Argh, you’re right, matey!” It turned out it was Sept. 19, National Talk Like a Pirate Day. It was one of the best times we ever had. One of the things I’ve learned is that there is nothing like a bit of humor to get people’s attention back and to engage them in the subject again. So I was ever grateful to that student, because it became a running joke for the rest of the semester. Argh!

Yale University
To engage students in a ‘maligned’ subject, Jonathan Reuning-Scherer creates moments for humor. Related: http://bit.ly/1IVgKzs

Jonathan Reuning-Scherer

Senior Lecturer in Statistics and Forestry
205 Prospect St, New Haven, CT 06511-2106
Research Interests:
Computational and graphics statistics, density estimation, non-parametric regression.


STAT 101a - 106a / STAT 501a - 506a Introduction to Statistics

A basic introduction to statistics, including numerical and graphical summaries of data, probability, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, and regression. Each course focuses on applications to a particular field of study and is taught jointly by two instructors, one specializing in statistics and the other in the relevant area of application. The first seven weeks of classes are attended by all students in STAT 101-106 together, as general concepts and methods of statistics are developed. The remaining weeks are divided into field-specific sections that develop the concepts with examples and applications. Computers are used for data analysis. These courses are alternatives; they do not form a sequence and only one may be taken for credit. No prerequisites beyond high school algebra. May not be taken after STAT 100 or 109.

Students enrolled in STAT 101-106 who wish to change to STAT 109, or those enrolled in STAT 109 who wish to change to STAT 101-106, must submit a course change notice, signed by the instructor, to their residential college dean by Friday, September 27. The approval of the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing is not required.
Term: Fall
Day/Time: Tuesday, Thursday 1:00-2:15

STAT 101a / E&EB 210a / E&EB 510a Introduction to Statistics: Life Sciences

Statistical and probabilistic analysis of biological problems presented with a unified foundation in basic statistical theory. Problems are drawn from genetics, ecology, epidemiology, and bioinformatics.
Term: Fall
Day/Time: Tuesday, Thursday 1:00pm - 2:15pm

STAT 102a / STAT 502a / EP&E 203a / PLSC 425a Introduction to Statistics: Political Science

Statistical analysis of politics and quantitative assessments of public policies. Problems presented with reference to a wide array of examples: public opinion, campaign finance, racially motivated crime, and health policy.
Term: Fall
Day/Time: Tuesday, Thursday 1:00pm - 2:15pm

STAT 103a / STAT 503a / SOCY 119a Introduction to Statistics: Social Sciences

Descriptive and inferential statistics applied to analysis of data from the social sciences. Introduction of concepts and skills for understanding and conducting quantitative research.
Term: Fall
Day/Time: Tuesday, Thursday 1:00pm - 2:15pm

STAT 105a / STAT 505a Introduction to Statistics: Medicine

Statistical methods used in medicine and medical research. Practice in reading medical literature competently and critically, as well as practical experience performing statistical analysis of medical data.
Term: Fall
Day/Time: Tuesday, Thursday 1:00pm - 2:15pm