David Draper appointed faculty director of Undergraduate Honors

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Division of Undergraduate Education

The Division of Undergraduate Education is pleased to announce the appointment of David Draper, as Faculty Director of the Undergraduate Honors Programs, effective July 1, 2019.

The Faculty Director oversees UC Santa Cruz’s College Scholars Program (CSP).  In collaboration with the Academic Senate’s Joint Honors Subcommittee, the CSP seeks to bring to our campus diverse cohorts of high-achieving students within a challenging year-long program.  Students will be prepared to take advantage of undergraduate research opportunities early in their careers.  The 2019-20 fall cohort is expected to include about 100 students at Cowell College, Crown College, Merrill College, and Porter College, with the spring 2020 cohort adding another 100 or more students from all colleges on campus.  The Director also works with honor societies such as Golden Key and Phi Beta Kappa, and is a resource for colleges and departments developing new honors opportunities or seeking to grow existing ones.

“My own background and interests have been almost exclusively in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects,” said Draper, “but I look forward to working with students and faculty from all Divisions on campus, and all regions of the world of ideas, to enrich the undergraduate honors experience at UCSC.”

Draper is a Professor of Statistics in the Baskin School of Engineering’s Department of Statistics. He received his Ph.D. in 1981 from the University of California, Berkeley, and has since taught and worked on research projects at the University of Chicago; the RAND Corporation; the University of Washington; the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Bath (U.K.); the University of Neuchatel (Switzerland); and UC Santa Cruz. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, the Royal Statistical Society, and the International Society for Bayesian Analysis. 

His research concerns methodological developments in Bayesian statistics and data science, with particular emphasis on hierarchical modeling, Bayesian nonparametric methods, model specification and model uncertainty, quality assessment, risk assessment, and applications in the environmental, medical, and social sciences. He is the author or co-author of about 150 contributions to the research literature, which together have been cited about 15,500 times. Since 1993 he has been PI or co-PI on 23 grants totaling about $12 million. His current applied projects include a collaboration with medical researchers at Stanford on the measurement of quality of care at neonatal intensive care units; this work has documented alarming differences in quality of care as a function of the ethnicity of the baby and the socio-economic status of the mother.

From 2001 to 2007 Draper served as the founding chair of the Applied Mathematics and Statistics Department at UCSC, and in 2002 he was President of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis. He has been an Associate Editor for 6 leading journals, and he has organized or co-organized 6 international research conferences. He has a particular interest (a) in developing new statistical methodologies in the context of solving important real problems and (b) in effectively communicating complex statistical and scientific ideas to diverse audiences.

“David’s mixture of scholarship, administrative prowess, and dedication to students, especially undergraduates, is inspirational,” noted Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Richard Hughey. “During and since building campus excellence in Bayesian statistics and applied mathematics, David has been recognized as an inspirational teacher with a focus on engaging classes in real-world problem solving and the careful cultivation of learning.” 

Draper replaces Matt O’Hara, who served as Director since 2014.  Please join me in thanking Matt for his significant contributions to the undergraduate honors program, especially the growth and expansion of this enriching experience for our undergraduate students.