PAUL  J.  ROBACK


829 Heywood Rd                                                                                                                                              Office: 507-646-3861

Northfield, MN  55057                                                                                                                                          Fax: 507-646-3116

Home: 507-645-7401                                                                                                                              E-mail:                               


Current             St. Olaf College; Northfield, MN

Position             Assistant Professor (July 2003 to present).  Department of Mathematics.



Previous            Connecticut College; New London, CT

Positions           Assistant Professor (July 2000 to June 2003).  Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.


                            Bucknell University; Lewisburg, PA

                            Assistant Professor (Aug. 1998 to July 2000).  Department of Mathematics.


                            Eli Lilly and Company;  Indianapolis, IN

                            Clinical statistician (July 1991 to July 1994).   Responsible for performing efficacy and safety analyses,

                            preparing FDA reports seeking approval for new indications in a CNS compound, and designing Phase             

                            IV studies.  Responsibilities required collaboration with Lilly physicians and outside investigators to write

                            manuscripts.  Contributed novel method of determining sample size, and managed tasks of product

                            support analysts on certain projects.



Education          Ph.D. in Statistics July 1998;  Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO                                                   

  Dissertation:  “The pooling of prior distributions via logarithmic and supra-Bayesian methods with

 application to Bayesian inference in deterministic simulation models”  (Advisor:  Dr. Geof Givens)


                            M.S. in Statistics, May 1991;  Iowa State University, Ames, IA

                                  Creative Component:  “Estimated Generalized Least Squares Regression for Individual-Based Family Data”

                                    (Advisor:  Dr. Fred Lorenz)


                            B.A. (summa cum laude) Mathematics and Economics, May 1989;  St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN



Courses             Introduction to Statistics, Advanced Regression Techniques, Design and Analysis of Experiments,

Taught               Probability, Mathematical Statistics, Linear Models, Nonparametric Statistics, Multiple Regression

                            Analysis, Biostatistics, Engineering Statistics, Business Statistics, Statistical Concepts for Everyday Life

                            (Introduction to Mathematical Thought), Independent Study in Bayesian Statistics, Calculus I



Research           Bayesian methods for data analysis; nonparametric methods; statistical education; statistical applications

Interests            in biological sciences, welfare reform, and clinical trials.



Software            S-Plus, SAS, Minitab, SPSS, WinBUGS, Fathom



Grants               National Science Foundation: Math and Computer Science Scholarship Program (2001-2003).  I am

Received            a Co-PI on this $385,000 grant whose goal is to attract and retain students (especially from

                            underrepresented groups) in math and computer science.


                            Connecticut College Dean of the Faculty Office:  Mellon Common Hour Proposal (2002-2004).  I was lead

                            author on this $1000 grant to the Mathematics Department to support weekly Mathematics Roundtable

                            Luncheons as part of a project designed to enhance intellectual life on campus.



Roback PJ.  (2003).  Teaching an advanced methods course to a mixed audience.  Journal of Statistical Education [Online] 11(3).  (


Roback PJ.  (2003).  Review of “Weighing the odds: a course in probability and statistics”.  The American Statistician 57(2):144-145.


Roback PJ, Welch SM.  (2001).  Classification trees for decision making in the social services with application to welfare recidivism.  Journal of Social Service Research 27(3):23-40.


Roback PJ, Givens GH.  (2001).  Supra-Bayesian pooling of priors linked by a deterministic simulation model.  Communications in Statistics—Simulation and Computation 30(3):447-476.


Givens GH, Roback PJ.  (1999).  Logarithmic pooling of priors linked by a deterministic simulation model.  Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics 8(3):452-478.


Reimherr FW, Amsterdam JD, Fawcett J, Quitkin FM, Rosenbaum JF, Fava M, Zajecka J, Beasley Jr CM, Michelson D, Roback P, Sundell K.  (1998).  Optimal length of continuation therapy in depression:  a prospective assessment during long-term fluoxetine treatment.  American Journal of Psychiatry 155:1247-1253.


Roback PJ.  (1998).  The pooling of prior distributions via logarithmic and supra-Bayesian methods with application to Bayesian inference in deterministic simulation models.  Ph.D. thesis, Department of Statistics, Colorado State University.


Stewart JW, Quitkin FM, McGrath PJ, Amsterdam J, Fava M, Fawcett J, Reimherr F, Rosenbaum J, Beasley C,

Roback P.  (1998).  Use of pattern analysis to predict differential relapse of remitted patients with major depression during 1 year of treatment with fluoxetine or placebo.  Archives of General Psychiatry 55(4):334-343.


Goldstein DJ, Rampey Jr AH, Roback PJ, Wilson MG, Holman SH, Sayler ME, Tollefson GD.  (1995).  Efficacy and safety of long-term fluoxetine treatment of obesity--maximizing success.  Obesity Research 3 Suppl 4: 481S-490S.


Goldstein DJ, Roback PJ, Holman SL, Wilson MG, Tollefson GD, Brunelle RL, Rampey Jr AH.  (1995).  Individualizing pharmacologic therapy for weight reduction:  the Lovan example. Chapter 19 in  Obesity:  New Directions in Assessment and Management.  Edited by TB VanItallie and AP Simopoulos.  The Charles Press Publishers, Philadelphia, p. 234-240.


Heiligenstein JH, Ware Jr JE, Beusterien KM, Roback PJ, Andrejasich C, Tollefson GD.  (1995).  Acute effects of fluoxetine versus placebo on functional health and well-being in late-life depression.  International Psychogeriatrics 7,Suppl: 125-137.


Roback PJ, Goldstein DJ, Rampey Jr AH, Wilson MG.  (1994).  Baseline predictors of success when comparing two treatments.  Obesity Research 2:337-347.


Sayler ME, Goldstein DJ, Roback PJ, Atkinson RL.  (1994).  Evaluating success of weight loss programs, with an application to fluoxetine weight reduction clinical trial data.  International Journal of Obesity 18:742-751.


Publications in Preparation:


Askins, RA, Roback PJ.  Judicious use of the Bonferroni method and other multiple comparison methods.  Submitted to Conservation Biology.


Lizarralde M, Roback PJ.  Why do some people eat monkeys and palm grubs? A statistical model for food selection for the Barí people of Venezuela. To be submitted to Human Ecology.


Roback PJ, Askins RA.  A Bayesian approach to missing data in multiple regression analyses of bird distributions.  Submitted to Ecological Applications.




Tree-based models.  Senior Seminar Talk, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Connecticut College, February 2003.


A Bayesian approach to missing data in multiple regression analyses of bird distributions.  Research Talk, Department of Mathematics, St. Olaf College, December 2002.


Experimental design, multiple regression, and flying gummy bears.  Colloquium Talk, Department of Mathematics, St. Olaf College, December 2002.


Adventures in advanced statistical methods.  Topic Contributed Session at the Joint Statistical Meetings, New York City, August 2002.


Effect of habitat on bird abundance:  a Bayesian approach.  New England Statistics Symposium, Yale University, April 2002.


Randomization tests.  Senior Seminar Talk, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Connecticut College, March 2002.


Does welfare grow on trees?  Colloquium Talk, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Connecticut College, November 2000.


Statistics at Bucknell and beyond.  Admissions Weekend talk, Bucknell University, April 2000.


Counting whales.  Colloquium Talk, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Connecticut College, February 2000.


Does welfare grow on trees?  Colloquium Talk, Department of Mathematics, St. Olaf College, February 2000.


Counting whales.  Colloquium Talk, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Carleton College, February 2000.


Counting whales.  Coffee talk sponsored by Pi Mu Epsilon, Department of Mathematics, Bucknell University, October 1998.


Supra-Bayesian pooling for simulation models.  Invited Session at the Joint Statistical Meetings, Dallas, August 1998.


Logarithmic pooling of priors linked by a deterministic simulation model.  Invited Session at the annual meeting of the Eastern North American Region of the Biometrics Society, Pittsburgh, March 1998.


Logarithmic pooling of incoherent priors linked by a deterministic simulation model.  Invited Session at the Joint Statistical Meetings, Anaheim, August 1997.


Logarithmic pooled Bayesian inference when incoherent priors are linked by a deterministic simulation model.  Seminar, Department of Statistics, Colorado State University, May 1997.


Other Professional Activities:


Advisor for 1 student talk in the Senior Math Seminar (Spring 2003): 


Advisor for 2 student talks in the Senior Math Seminar (Spring 2002): 


Reviewer for Activity-Based Statistics,  2nd Edition.  Scheaffer RL, Gnanadesikan M, Watkins A, Witmer JA.  Springer-Verlag, New York.  Review completed in August 2001.

Other Professional Activities (continued):


Session chair, “Probability and Statistics”.  Hudson River Undergraduate Mathematics Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY, April 2001.


Advisor for 3 student talks at the Hudson River Undergraduate Mathematics Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY, April 2001:


Session chair, “Activities for the Classroom”.  A Regular Contributed Session sponsored by the Statistical Education Section of the American Statistical Association.  Joint Statistical Meetings, Baltimore, August 1999


Refereed articles for:  The American Statistician (September 1999), Forest Science (October 1998 and resubmission in June 1999), and IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering (February 1999).


Member of American Statistical Association (including Section on Statistical Education), and Mathematical Association of America (including SIGMAA on Statistics Education).



Committee Memberships and other Connecticut College service:


Co-organizer of Student-Mentor Dinner for CC-MACSS scholarship students and their industry mentors (April 2003).  Night with speaker and dinner brought together each scholarship student with a community mentor in their chosen field.


Organized “The Food Function: Mathematics Roundtable Luncheons” (2002-2003).  Weekly lunches with students and faculty in the Department of Mathematics, with guest participants giving talks or discussing opportunities in mathematics.


Educational Planning Committee (2001- 2003).  Major charge was to review and overhaul the General Education program.


Developed an interdisciplinary Minor in Applied Statistics (approved Fall 2002)


Project to Enrich Faculty and Student Intellectual Life at Connecticut College (Spring 2002)


Attended Lucent Technologies Foundation conference on Building the Future in Basking Ridge, NJ (April 2002) related to the Teach and Learn Partnership for Math and Science Excellence, a collaboration between Connecticut College and Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School


Attended General Education and the Assessment of Student Learning:  A Working Conference on Issues, Models, and Faculty Leadership in Dallas, TX (Feb 2002).  Sponsored by AAC&U.


Lucent Technologies Foundation Teach and Learn Partnership for Math and Science Excellence (2000-2003)


Participant in interview process for Mathematics position (Spring 2003), Institutional Research position (Fall 2002), Plant Ecology position in the Department of Botany (Spring 2001), and visiting position in the Department of Mathematics (Spring 2001)


Faculty advisor to incoming freshmen and departmental majors and minors



Recent Meetings and Short Courses Attended:


Joint Statistical Meetings.  New York, NY.  Aug 11-15, 2002.


New England Isolated Statisticians – 7th annual meeting.  Smith College, Northampton, MA.  May 31 – June 1, 2002.


New England Isolated Statisticians – 6th annual meeting.  Babson College, Wellesley, MA.  Sept 22, 2001.


Joint Statistical Meetings.  Atlanta, GA.  Aug 5-9, 2001.


Short course on “Bayes and Empirical Bayes Methods for Data Analysis” by Brad Carlin.  Atlanta, GA.  Aug 7, 2001.


Hudson River Undergraduate Mathematics Conference.  Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY.  April 2001



External Statistical Consulting:


Chris Rimmer, Vermont Institute of Natural Science, on a study of forest bird population trends in Vermont and surrounding areas.  Spring 2003 – present.  [Bayesian methods for handling temporal and spatial gaps in trend analyses]


Carrie McWilliams, PhD candidate in Education, University of Sarasota, on her thesis examining the effects of student mobility, gender, and language on performance on the Connecticut Mastery Exam.  October 2002 – May 2003.  [Chi-square tests, t-tests, multiple regression, interaction]


Shawn Welch, Assistant Director, Reports and Forecasts Division, Minnesota Department of Human Services, on a study of the effect of state-subsidized health insurance on welfare recidivism.  June 2001 - present.  [Logistic regression, models for selection bias]


Dev Niyogi, Visiting Professor of Zoology, University of Otago, New Zealand, on a manuscript testing the effects of mine drainage on biotic response.  Oct 2001 - June 2002.  [Multiple regression, logistic regression, large number of zeros, collinearity, interaction terms]


Ruth Dolby, Accounting Consultant, Boston, MA, on an investigation into whether a medical group is being underpaid by insurance reimbursements.  May 2002.  [Sampling—stratification, sample size, estimation]



Internal Statistical Consulting:


Susan Canon, Director of the Office of Institutional Research and Planning, on establishing a group of peer institutions for St. Olaf College based on quantitative criteria.  Summer 2003.  [Factor analysis, principal components, multidimensional scaling, cluster analysis, Bayesian multivariate methods]


Manuel Lizarralde, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Botany, on the manuscript “What makes an animal edible?  Some ethnobiological considerations in diet among the Bari people of Venezuela”, submitted to Journal of Ethnobiology.  Spring 2003.  [Logistic regression, classification trees]


Bob Askins, Professor of Zoology, on the use of multiple comparisons in ecological studies.  Spring 2003.  [Sequential Bonferroni method, false discovery rate method]


Erin Steiner, senior in Zoology, on her Senior Thesis, in which she compared three marsh types with respect to the relative presence of many different species.  Spring 2003.  [Analysis of similarity (ANOSIM), nonparametric analysis of variance]


Sophie Archambeault, senior in Zoology, on her Senior Thesis, in which she studies the effect of genetic line on the wing length of flies.  Spring 2003.  [Random effects models, multiple comparisons]



Internal Statistical Consulting (continued):


Annie Curtis, junior in Zoology, on her independent research project comparing the effects of marsh type and reach on the abundance of common invertebrates.  Spring 2003.  [Logistic regression, ordinal regression with cumulative logits]


Perry Susskind, Associate Professor of Mathematics, on analysis of Connecticut College faculty salary data.  Spring 2003.  [Multiple regression, indicator variables, interactions, model assumptions, robust regression]


Phil Barnes, Associate Professor of Zoology, on a genetic study on the effects of artificial selection on wing length in flies.  Spring 2003.  [General linear models, Poisson responses, binomial responses]


Bob Askins, Professor of Zoology, on the manuscript “Effects of Habitat Fragmentation on Birds in Deciduous Forests in Japan”, accepted by Conservation Biology.  Spring 2002.  [Multiple regression, principal components analysis, missing data, adjustments for year effect, multiple comparisons, longitudinal data]


Christine Small, Assistant Professor of Botany, on a manuscript investigating the effects of light and soil compaction on plant growth.  Spring 2002.  [Split plots]


Marjorie Lundgren, senior in Botany, on her Senior Thesis, in which she modeled invasiveness as a function of soil type, road type, and land use.  Spring 2002.  [Multiple regression, logistic regression]


Sarah Zisa, Kassie Rohrbach, and Tori Okner, student leaders of the Renewable Energy Club, on a project to model the effect of student conservation measures on energy consumption on campus.  Dec 2001 – present.  [Time series data, stationarity tests, multiple regression, prediction intervals]


Jerry Winter, Professor of Sociology, on the manuscript “Consistency and Importance of Jewish Identity and One’s Own or One’s Child’s Intermarriage”, accepted by Review of Religious Research.  May 2001.  [Logistic regression models, interaction effects]


Bob Askins, Professor of Zoology, on an analysis of the presence of willets vs. area of habitat.  Spring 2001.  [Logistic regression in the presence of many zeros]


David McElroy, senior in Zoology, on his Senior Thesis, for which I also served as Reader.  Spring 2001.  [Scatterplot smoothing, logistic regression models, categorical data analysis]


Julie Groce, senior in Biological Sciences, on her Senior Thesis.  Spring 2001.  [Analysis of variance]


Rob Rawson, senior in Biological Sciences, on his Senior Thesis.  Spring 2001.  [Inference for regression]



Honors               CSU -        College of Natural Sciences Graduate Teaching Assistant Award (1997-1998)

                                              Madison Award, given to the outstanding graduate student in the statistics program

                                              Graybill Award, given to the top student in linear models


                            ISU -         Premium for Academic Excellence award                  Process Management Institute fellowship

                                              President of Iowa STAT-ers (student organization)                                              Mu Sigma Rho


                            St. Olaf -   Phi Beta Kappa                                               Tosdal Award as highest-ranking graduate (GPA)                                               

                                              Departmental Distinction - Mathematics                      Wall Street Journal Award (economics)

                                              Departmental Distinction - Economics                       Academic all-conference (soccer, tennis)


Community       New London:  BDJ Middle School partnership; youth soccer coach; statistics in preschool

Service              Lewisburg:  PA Statistics Poster Competition judge; Phi Beta Kappa secretary

                            Fort Collins:  high school girls’ tennis coach; youth basketball coach; student representative committee

                            Indianapolis:  Habitat for Humanity; Math Olympics judge

                            Ames:  YMCA Pal Program; intramural sports coordinator

                            Northfield:  Project Friendship (Big Brother); Honor House resident; Junior Counselor