I am currently recruiting graduate students at both the Masters and PhD level.

If you are interested in pursuing either a Masters or PhD in Statistics, and are interested in any of the research topics that I work on, please reach out. Even if you have a somewhat non-traditional background, but think that you would be a good fit, please get in touch with me.

These are funded opportunities with a lot of flexibility for you to grow and learn as a Statistician. Do not hesitate to reach out!

Back to 'My Thoughts'

My Teaching Philosophy Statement

job search
This document outlines my teaching experience, approach, and goals for the future.

Dylan Spicker


December 14, 2022

Somewhere between weighing the 600th and 700th snack-sized bag of chips I thought to myself “why?” Having seen the difficulty that students have understanding sampling variability, population distributions, and sampling distributions, I formed the most visual, memorable example lesson I could: randomly select bags of chips from a box and weigh them. Then repeat this process 15 times to estimate the mean and further repeat this mean estimation 50 times for the sampling distribution. Judging by student results, and the messages from students I get to this day, the resulting tutorial was both effective and memorable.

So why weigh 750 bags of chips for a 20 minute tutorial? Because I care deeply. I care about statistics education, which I view as critical to fostering an informed citizenry. I care about my students as learners and individuals, and I care about their diversity of background and experience (where they exhibit far more variability than those bags of chips). The following pillars demonstrate how I translate this care into an actionable plan for effective teaching, (beyond relying on sampling snack-sized bags of chips).

  1. Autonomous, Personalised Learning and Differentiated Instruction: Students enter a course with diverse goals and interests, and, as a result, tailoring course materials increases student engagement and improves outcomes. I differentiate content and instructional strategies by using personal surveys to determine student interests and preferred learning styles, and use this information to cater my lectures accordingly (e.g., using both sports data and COVID-19 trial data for example problems). I strive to ensure that there is a path for every student in the class, that the students with insufficient background knowledge are not left behind and the thriving students are properly challenged. Additionally, I give my students as much choice as possible on assessments, allowing them to select between proof-based or application-based questions on assignments, and between formats and topics for final projects.
  2. Safe and Welcoming Learning Environment: I create an environment that ensures students are able to be fully present, absent additional burden. I build my courses so as to remove stressors whenever possible, for instance, using flexible grading schemes. I have deep personal experience with modern issues related to inclusivity and diversity, and I proactively highlight the importance of these issues in my course materials and interactions with students. This fosters an environment of mutual respect and allows all students to be fully present as themselves. I encourage frequent communication, course related or not, and I am available to students before and after lectures, for in-person or virtual office hours, through email, instant messaging, course forums, and with anonymous surveys.
  3. Universal Accessibility by Design: My goal is to remove any possible disadvantages for students which could arise based on the design of the course. I use a wide array of accessible content types in my courses, including closed-captioned lecture videos, lecture notes, internal and external supplementary material, annotated and unannotated lecture slides, and example code. Doing so ensures that every learner has easy-to-access, suitable content for their abilities and learning styles.
  4. Mistakes Matter: Mistakes, when carefully considered by students, are a crucial part of the learning process. Students are generally, and understandably, hesitant to make mistakes on important assessments, and this view is often carried over to lower-stakes settings. I encourage students to view mistakes as opportunities to reflect and learn, and I reinforce this with course policies. For instance, when feasible, I allow my students to earn back partial credit by re-submitting their assignments after correcting their mistakes, with a small explanation of what their fundamental misunderstanding was.
  5. Organisation of All Course Aspects: Particularly with my focus on personalised learning, the administration, content, and expectations of a course must be organised and cohesive, clearly defining what is necessary for success. For instance, I divide my lecture videos not weekly, but based on topic. For each topic, I release a conceptual video, followed by videos on the theory and application of the concepts, allowing for easy revisiting and learning without mode switching. I provide a suggested viewing schedule and clearly state which videos are necessary for success on each assignment.