Department of Statistics leaps ahead in rankings


Strategic thinking and increased research led to a major leap forward in the College of Engineering and Computing’s Department of Statistics ranking. Since U.S. News and World Report last measured, the statistics department rose from 82 to 54 in the rankings.

When Jiayang Sun arrived as the new chair in 2019, she came with a plan to hire more faculty and increase research. Since 2020 the department has set new records in research expenditures, hiring seven new faculty members in the fall of 2020-fall 2021 and welcoming other faculty including those on sabbatical leave. Sun says, “The new faculty brought with them outstanding strengths in statistics and data science.”

“We are very pleased and excited by the significant jump in the rankings by our Department of Statistics and congratulate the entire department and its leadership for their success,” says Ken Ball, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. “Over the past several years, the College of Engineering and Computing has made a considerable investment in our statistics programs, including over $1.5 million for new faculty start-up funds and graduate research assistants.”

The department also strengthened its four-year-old partnership with Inova Health which has provided tenure-track and term faculty opportunities for collaborative research. Assistant Professor David Kepplinger, a new hire, is involved with the partnership. He says, “The research culture at Mason and the statistics department is built around the idea of collaboration. Everyone is open to sharing ideas and joining forces. There are many opportunities around campus and in the D.C. area to work with experts from diverse fields and translate our statistical research into practice— leveraging our expertise in methodology, theory, and computation—to open the doors for impactful scientific discoveries.”


“We have outstanding faculty who are national leaders in their areas of expertise. With proper support and expected growth, knowing the facts about other peers, we hope for another leap in the future,’ says Sun.