Professor Paul Gustafson has accepted a five-year term as Head of the UBC Department of Statistics, beginning January 1, 2019.
A founding co-director of UBC’s recently launched Masters of Data Science, Gustafson has served as acting department head, and on numerous departmental committees. He has taught statistics at all levels.
"I’m delighted that Paul will be taking on this role, and look forward to working with him to build on the great work being done at UBC Statistics," said Dean of Science Meigan Aronson in making the appointment. "I’d also like to express my sincere thanks to Nancy Heckman for her excellent leadership of the department since 2008. UBC Statistics made great strides under Nancy’s leadership, including hiring excellent faculty, helping developing a professional degree in data science, and improving undergraduate statistics education across campus."
UBC Statistics has 17 regular faculty members, four professors emeriti, and a number of associate, adjunct and honorary professors. The department has 500 undergraduates in its programs.
Gustafson's research centres around the Bayesian approach to statistical inference. He has published more than 140 articles in peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings and book chapters, and has authored two books. He has successfully supervised 35 graduate students and three post-doctoral fellows. A fellow of the American Statistical Association, Gustafson received the CRM-SSC Prize in Statistics in 2008, a national award jointly sponsored by the Statistical Society of Canada and the Centre de recherches mathématiques. He serves as the statistics editor for Epidemiology (since 2014) and has been an associate editor for a number of other journals. He also served as Editor in Chief for the Canadian Journal of Statistics (2007-2009).
Gustafson earned his BSc in Mathematics and MSc in Statistics from UBC and his PhD from the Carnegie Mellon University. He was hired at UBC as a post-doctoral fellow in 1994 and appointed assistant professor in 1995. He was subsequently promoted to associate professor (2000) and to professor (2005). His research is funded by NSERC Discovery and Accelerator grants and he has been a co-investigator on numerous CIHR grants and a SSHRC grant.
The Statistics head search committee consisted of Katie Li, David Kepplinger, Peggy Ng, Gabriela Cohen-Freue, Natalia Nolde and Alexandre Bouchard-Côté. Will Welch served as acting head of the department from August 1, 2018 to January 1, 2019.