UTEP Mathematical Sciences Professor Earns National Career Achievement Award in Statistics Education
Last Updated on April 20, 2021 at 12:00 AM
Originally published April 20, 2021
By Christina Rodriguez
The University of Texas at El Paso Distinguished Teaching Professor Larry Lesser, Ph.D., was named the 2021 winner of the Waller Distinguished Teaching Career Award by the American Statistical Association (ASA) for sustained excellence in teaching and statistics education.
Lesser, professor of mathematical sciences, was selected from a pool of nominees with more than 20 years of professional experience for his excellence in teaching across a variety of statistics courses; innovation; creative efforts in education; impact in statistics education beyond UTEP; and education-related scholarship.
“Dr. Lesser has distinguished himself as a highly productive and impactful statistics education scholar and educator,” said Amy Wagler, Ph.D., associate chair and associate professor of mathematical sciences. “While his interests are varied, he has made significant and groundbreaking contributions in the area of language and communication in statistics classrooms; a highly important area for research, given the challenges present and need to clear and transparent communication of statistical results. Dr. Lesser regularly publishes in top journals in the field and his approach to teaching is memorable for students and colleagues alike. I know students appreciate and benefit from his teaching efforts, but colleagues at UTEP and in the wider statistics community, also appreciate and value his contributions in scholarship.”
The ASA is the world’s largest community of statisticians and the nation’s second oldest continuously operating professional association of any field. Lesser is the eighth winner of the Waller Distinguished Teaching Career Award, established by a contribution from retired ASA executive director Ray A. Waller and his wife, Carolyn.
The award will be publicly presented to Lesser at the Awards Night of the 2021 Joint Statistical Meetings, the largest statistics meeting in North America, typically attended by over 6,000 attendees from more than 50 countries.
"While I've won statewide teaching awards like the Minnie Stevens Piper Professor Award and the University of Texas System Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award, it is incredibly humbling and meaningful to have peers in my field of statistics education give me my first national award for my career's work,” Lesser said. “I was truly stunned when I got the news because I did not even know I’d been nominated! I'm so grateful for the support and inspiration from students and colleagues at UTEP, the setting of almost all my statistics education efforts."
For more information on the Waller Distinguished Teaching Career Award, click here. For an extensive interview highlighting Lesser’s career in the March 2020 issue of Journal of Statistics Education, an ASA journal, click here.