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Sastry Pantula standing in front of shrubbery.

Dean Pantula honored with statistics service award

By Debbie Farris
Dean Sastry G. Pantula

College of Science Dean Sastry G. Pantula was honored for his outstanding and extensive service to the statistics profession with the 2016 Paul Minton Service Award from the Southern Regional Council On Statistics (SRCOS) at the 2016 Joint Statistics Meetings (JSM) in Chicago today.

The award was established to honor Paul Minton, who served the statistics profession nationally and in the southern region for many years and was instrumental in the continued development of statistical education in the region represented by SRCOS. The award recognizes outstanding service to the statistics profession.

Recipients of this award must reside or have resided in one of the states represented on the Southern Regional Council on Statistics for at least 10 years. Other criteria include: contributions to statistical education, statistical service to industry and government agencies, service to professional statistical organizations, and promotion of the use of statistics.

After nearly 30 years on the statistics faculty and head of the department at North Carolina State University, Pantula meets all the criteria. He also served as the Director of Statistics Graduate Programs for eight years and was inducted into NCSU’s Academy of Outstanding Teachers in 1985. In 2010-2013, he served as director of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Mathematical Sciences.

Pantula was surprised by the award when his colleague and mentor, former chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics at Emory University Michael Kutner, a strong voice and educator in the field of statistics for 50 years, presented it at a breakfast held for past and present American Statistics Association (ASA) Presidents at JSM. Pantula served as ASA President in 2010 and is an ASA Fellow and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

"Mike Kutner is certainly a leader of leaders and has been a wonderful mentor and a friend to me,” adds Pantula.

SRCOS seeks to promote the improvement of postsecondary education in statistical science, assist in the development of high-quality statistics instruction in elementary and high schools, and promulgate educational activities that improve the quality of statistical practices.

“I loved being at SRCOS meetings and thinking about the ways we can have a strong impact on our students and junior faculty and how the leaders of statistics departments in the southern region can work together in harmony,” said Pantula. “We bonded very well. I certainly miss the camaraderie we shared.”

Pantula is serving as a panelist on a Leadership Development Workshop sponsored by KISS (Korean International Statistical Society; and as a panelist on "Best Practices for Recruiting and Retaining Underrepresented Students and Faculty" and "Influential communication: Principles of making a good argument," which are part of the JSM Diversity Workshop and Mentoring Program sponsored by the ASA Committee on Minorities.

Dean Pantula continues to advocate for excellence, harmony and diversity for science students and faculty at Oregon State University and beyond.