Xian recently posted on his blog about about the lack of writing skills in statistics PhD students in France. Certainly the same issue is true here in the U.S. Since I am only a second year assistant professor, I am not far removed from being a graduate student and feel that my writing skills could be vastly better. As it is, it still takes me a long time to prepare a manuscript that is anywhere near publishable although vastly less time than it took per page when writing my thesis, the quality of which is much worse. Xian had some specific suggestions for how to improve the writing skills of PhD students, but basically it comes down to requiring students to write more, read more, and give/get feedback. The suggestion in the post was to have PhD students write shorter pieces earlier in their career and provide them with feedback. I plan on incorporating these ideas into PSTAT 230 - Statistical Consulting which I will teach this spring.

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04 January 2011