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SDS FOCUS - Sally Ragsdale Now Heads the SDS Certificate and Portfolio Programs

8 July 2019—Sally Ragsdale is an Assistant Professor of Instruction for the Department of Statistics and Data Sciences. In addition to teaching SDS 328M Biostatistics in Fall 2019, an undergraduate introductory stats course where students use R in a weekly lab, Sally administers the SDS Certificate and Portfolio Programs.

You took over the administration of the portfolio and certificate programs in Spring 2019. Are you excited?

I'm extremely excited to be helping our certificate and portfolio students!  I've always recommended them to the students I teach, so it is great to now be more involved with these fast-growing programs that serve undergraduate and graduate students across the university who are interested in learning more about statistics and data science.

You made some updates this year to the forms and processes. What are the major changes and what does it mean for students applying to the certificate or portfolio program?

I wanted to streamline most of the processes that students go through during their time in these programs.  From applying to registering in research courses to receiving these credentials on their transcript, students should now be able to move through these programs seamlessly.  I've also tried to save time and paper wherever possible, so most of the required "paperwork" is now submitted electronically.

What is your expectation for students as they apply for the certificate and portfolio program?

I expect interested students to first look over our website to see which certificate (for undergraduates) or portfolio (for graduate students) program is most aligned with their interests and course of study.  We have a lot of helpful documentation posted, including required course lists, approved electives, and information about research courses (when required).  I hope students will ask me questions early on in the process so that I can clear up any confusion or misunderstanding before they get too far along in their program.

Do you have any tips or tricks for students interested in or applying for these programs?

For certificate students, they no longer need to apply and it's super easy to enroll.  Just go to either certificate page and click the link to sign up with an EID and password.  For portfolio students, I recommend looking into the perquisites before applying and also thinking ahead about which elective courses can best serve them on their way to conducting their portfolio project, as well as the research they are going to be conducting for their degree.

You now offer office hour sessions, when can students expect those to be posted and updated through the semester. What can they expect from the session?

Office hour sessions will be advertised on our website throughout the semester.  Typically, I am able to schedule these 1-2 months ahead of time, and the dates will be posted as soon as they are scheduled.  Similar to regular lecture office hours with a professor, I rotate around the room and assist students with any questions they have about the programs.  Students can show up at any time during the session, take a seat, and (hopefully) have all of their questions answered before they leave.

For additional information about the Certificate or Portfolio Programs email stat.certificates[@]austin[dot]utexas[dot]edu or stat.portfolios [@]austin[dot]utexas[dot]edu


SDS FOCUS is a regular feature highlighting SDS courses, registration, academic programs, and general information to assist students, faculty, and staff in all things SDS. 

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