Texas A&M statistician Alan R. Dabney is one of two university faculty members who have been appointed to 2016 University Professorships in Undergraduate Teaching Excellence (UPUTE) at Texas A&M University.

Dabney will hold the Eppright Professorship in Undergraduate Teaching Excellence, a three-year appointment that carries an annual salary supplement of $5,000 provided by the University and an annual $5,000 discretionary income to support his teaching program and related professional development.

Dabney and his fellow UPUTE honoree, Texas A&M aerospace engineer John Valasek, will be formally recognized at the 2016 Undergraduate Convocation, set for Sunday (Aug. 28) at 2 p.m. in Reed Arena. The convocation, primarily intended for incoming freshmen and transfer students, serves as the conclusion of Gig 'Em Week activities as well as a prelude to the start of fall semester classes on Monday (Aug. 29). It will feature an address by Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who has served as dean of Texas A&M's Bush School of Government and Public Service for the past six years, as well as remarks by University President Michael K. Young, Student Body President Hannah Wimberly and Provost Karan L. Watson.

Recipients of this year's President's Award for Academic Advising -- including the Texas A&M Department of Physics and Astronomy's Sherree Kessler '99 -- also will be recognized at Sunday's event.

The prestigious UPUTE awards are reserved for the university's most distinguished teachers of undergraduates -- faculty who have exhibited uncommon excellence and devotion to the education of undergraduate students at Texas A&M.

"Texas A&M has long been known for its excellence in undergraduate education, and appointment of these professorship holders is intended to be indicative of the administration's continuing support for and dedication to undergraduate education," Watson said in a memorandum informing Dabney of the appointment.

A member of the Texas A&M Department of Statistics faculty since 2006, Dabney is known as an engaging professor and presenter with a reputation for dynamic and motivational instruction across all majors. A past recipient of The Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement College-Level Award in Teaching (2011) as well as the Montague-CTE Scholar Award for the College of Science (2009), he is lauded for his non-conventional methods of teaching statistics, from a comic book for non-statisticians he co-authored in 2013, to a W.H. Freeman-produced StatClips video series.

More recently, Dabney is one of two faculty advisors that helped lay the groundwork for one of Texas A&M's newest degree programs, a bachelor's of science in statistics, set to launch this fall. In addition, he will offer a seminar series this academic year to preview a new interdisciplinary course he is developing called Rational Learning. The course will blend probability, scientific inquiry, philosophy, psychology and common sense to argue for an inclusive and compassionate worldview, maximizing the "quality" of one's life by mindfully choosing loving things to do in the moment.

Beyond statistics education, Dabney also boasts considerable expertise in the analysis and interpretation of big data, particularly that which originates from biological applications and bioinformatics. He regularly collaborates across disciplines on the analysis of biostatistics and bioinformatics data. In addition, Dabney is active in advising undergraduates -- and even local high school students -- in performing simple research tasks and related analyses.

"Dr Dabney has been instrumental in the creation of the undergraduate degree in statistics that begins this year," said Dr. Valen E. Johnson, professor and head of Texas A&M Statistics. "I anticipate that this highly marketable degree will be completed by many Texas A&M undergraduates in the future, and that this degree will be the start of highly successful careers for them. In addition, Dr. Dabney has recently implemented a curriculum change to our STAT 211 course, introducing a number of modern estimation and inferential techniques to the syllabus. I am confident that these changes will result in better preparation of students who take this course as they apply modern computational techniques to problems involving statistical inference. And, of course, Dr. Dabney is the author of The Cartoon Introduction to Statistics, an introductory primer in basic statistics that has been well reviewed in several international media outlets."

To learn more about University Professorships for Undergraduate Teaching, please consult the Dean of Faculties website.


Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Alan R. Dabney, (979) 845-3144 or adabney@stat.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

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