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Oxford, Ohio 45056
(513) 529-1950 fax
Oxford, Ohio 45056
(513) 529-1950 fax
"A Miami moment with ... Michael Hughes"
There are many offices that support faculty on campus, but the detailed analysis that happens at the Statistical Consulting Center (SCC) may offer some of the most precise support available. Today, take a Miami Moment with Michael Hughes, who has managed the center since 1988.
Q: What kind of work does the Statistical Consulting Center do?
A: We provide a cornucopia of statistical methods and specialties to help analyze data for a variety of research areas. Much of our work is with faculty in zoology, microbiology, chemistry/biochemistry, botany, kinesiology and speech pathology and audiology. Most clients come to us with a previously implemented study design that requires statistical analysis, and sometimes clients only request confirmation of the results they already have. Ideally, we become involved in the planning stages of research so we can advise on how to collect data and design experiments to maximize the return on their efforts. A small percentage of our work is for external clients.
Q: How about the who, when, where of the SCC?
A: The SCC prides itself on being one of the truly interdisciplinary services here at Miami, as the center exists solely to support quantitative research needs across the university. We’re located in 308 Upham, the north wing, where I work as manager of the center in addition to being an instructor in the department of statistics. I’m more of a general practitioner in statistical analysis, and I handle much of the work that comes in. Expertise also comes from the faculty in statistics, who provide insight and collaboration on client analyses that pertains to their particular specialties. We have a statistics graduate assistant assigned to the center and two volunteer grad students who also provide great help. I started managing this center in 1988, immediately after earning my master’s degree in statistics here at Miami. The SCC had existed several years before this, but had become dormant until then - chair John Skillings asked me to bring it back into service.
Q: Can you talk about some of the interesting work that has come your way?
A: Donna Scarborough in speech pathology and audiology always has interesting work for us. You might remember the gag-reflex suppressing glove that she and Michael Bailey van-Kuren are working on. Well, it works with acupressure. What part of the hand responds best? How much pressure is needed? How do we optimize the pressure points? These are all questions that require statistical expertise in order to develop a successful product.
Q: Is your analysis all computer-driven?
A: The center uses sophisticated statistical analysis software on a daily basis. We are fluent in SAS, SPSS, R, Minitab and other specialized applications. Frequently clients in other disciplines have a preference for a specific computational tool, which we are happy to support.
Q: I often read about the connections between math and music. So I must ask, are you musically inclined?
A: In my previous life I was an active percussionist, and served as a percussion arranger and instructor at Middletown High School from 1983-2000. I have a passion for classical music and pipe organs in particular, and am married to a concert organist, Yun Kyong Kim. I also very much enjoy audio recording and have a side business doing location recordings of acoustic music performances. Locally, I work with the Miami University symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, and various choral groups as well as at CCM (The College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati), and for other professional musicians in the tri-state area.