Lincoln, Neb. — After more a decade of leading the Statistics Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Bertrand Clarke has announced he will step down as department head next June. He plans to return to the faculty to advise graduate students, teach, and continue his own research.
The department looks very different in 2023 than it did when Clarke arrived in 2013. Under Clarke’s leadership, the department has overhauled its graduate programs, ensuring its courses are modern and well-organized. It has expanded recruitment efforts for both faculty and graduate students. It reinvigorated the statistics help desk to aid UNL faculty and graduate students with their statistical analyses. Most recently, it started two new undergraduate degree programs that will prepare students for careers in the fast-growing information sciences sector.
“There’s a huge demand for people in our field in general,” Clarke said. It made sense to offer undergraduate programs for students who wanted the option of starting a career in statistics without first obtaining a master’s degree. The department responded by creating a rigorous undergraduate program that will give its students a superior training. “The program is very focused and thorough,” Clarke said. “Our graduates should be able to get good first jobs in their chosen field.”
One of the most significant changes in the department’s structure came in 2017, when it shifted from being jointly sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, to one housed solely in IANR.
“That’s helping us define what our way forward is in research, teaching and other aspects of our Departmental life,” Clarke said. “We’re plugged in to many emerging trends and fields, and we’re very well positioned to move statistics forward, especially its role in modern agriculture.”
Mike Boehm, NU Vice President and Harlan Vice Chancellor for IANR, said Clarke’s leadership has placed the department on a strong trajectory.
“Dr. Clarke has been a steady, creative and incredibly strategic leader,” Boehm said. “Through his work to strengthen the department, he has also strengthened IANR’s research, teaching and extension activities. I’m grateful for his leadership, and I know he will continue to serve the department as he transitions to a faculty role.”
Prior to joining UNL, Clarke held faculty appointments at the University of Miami; the University of British Columbia, Vancouver; and Purdue University. He has a bachelor’s degree from University of Toronto and a doctoral degree from the University of Illinois.
A national search will be launched this fall for a new department head. For more information on the statistics department, visit statistics.unl.edu.