RSS Members' Week: 60 second with Paul Baxter

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Paul Baxter

How long have you been an RSS member?    
18 years

Volunteer title
Vice President for Professional Affairs

In a nutshell, your volunteer role is to…    
Firstly, to chair the Professional Affairs Committee ('PAC' to those in the know). PAC reviews and makes decisions (hopefully acceptance!) on applications for personal accreditation (GradStat / CStat / CSci) and accreditation of university courses. Supported by the great team at Errol Street (especially Ricky McGowan, our Professional Affairs and Accreditation Manager) PAC members and I represent the interests of the professional membership both within and outside the society.

Why did you volunteer for this role?    
I was elected as a member of PAC back in 2013 and stepped up as Vice President in 2017. I’ve volunteered lots for RSS in the past (having previously been a member of council, associate editor of JRSS-C, secretary of YSS, Guy Lecturer...). I’ve greatly enjoyed each and every role, have met lots of interesting people and learned many new skills. As a CStat, I jumped at the chance of getting involved with PAC and the chance to be a VP was not to be missed.

Who can get accredited?    
We’ve made lots of changes recently to recognise how professional statisticians, their roles, and routes to becoming professionals have evolved in recent years. All the details are on the RSS website. Those with a much broader range of degree level qualifications in statistics (Bachelor or Masters) can now look at becoming GradStat. Those with a further five years of professional experience can look at becoming CStat. Our new competency route means those with appropriate professional experience who have trained more on the job (and might not qualify for GradStat) also have a route to chartered status.

How can members apply?    
Applications for Graduate and Chartered status are submitted online. Ricky looks after the initial processing of these before they come to PAC (and is always happy to answer queries about how to submit). We usually run talks and drop in sessions at conference each year to talk about professional membership, the benefits and the process of putting together an application.

What's the best thing about having the letters CStat after your name?    
For me it’s about professional recognition and celebrating to all that statistics is a profession that, done well, requires training, experience and, of course, commitment to continuing professional development (CPD) and the highest professional standards.

Who is your stats superhero and why?     
Rather than go for an obvious big name from the past or present, I’ll say the inspirational teachers of statistics I had at A-level and when I arrived at university to do a maths degree. If it wasn’t for them and their abilities to make the subject interesting, relevant and exciting, I’d never have set off on a career in statistics…

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