Ron Fricker, professor and head of the Department of Statistics in the Virginia Tech College of Science, has accepted a new position within the college as associate dean for faculty affairs and administration.

In his new role, Fricker will assist in the recruitment, retention, and development of faculty.

“Ron has been an integral part of the university’s strategic planning process and will now help strengthen the College of Science’s ability to develop and implement a strategy that puts it at the forefront of re-imagining science, education, and research for the coming decades,” said Sally C. Morton, dean of the college.

“I am honored to be part of the College of Science leadership team during these exciting times, including the newly announced Innovation Campus in the National Capital Region, the growth of the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke, and the expansion of our undergraduate population in Blacksburg,” Fricker said. “Under President Tim Sands’ leadership, Virginia Tech is successfully developing a unique niche in higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond.”

Taking the helm as interim head of statistics will be Dave Higdon, a professor in the department and a faculty researcher with the Virginia Tech Biocomplexity Institute’s Social and Decision Analytics Laboratory. Higdon will work closely with Pang Du, associate department head of statistics.

Prior to coming to Virginia Tech in 2015, Fricker was a professor in the Operations Research Department at the Naval Postgraduate School in California. Fricker also has served as associate director of the National Security Research Division and a senior statistician at the RAND Corp., where he oversaw a $40 million research portfolio conducted by the National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center. He has more 20 years of statistics experience, including work in both corporate and academic settings, and conducting research on Gulf War illnesses, military recruiting and retention, disease detection and surveillance, and body armor testing.

He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA), a former chair of the ASA Section of Statistics in Defense and National Security, and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute.

Fricker earned his bachelor’s degree with merit in mathematics from the United States Naval Academy in 1982, his master’s degree in operations research from The George Washington University in 1991, and a master’s degree and a doctorate in statistics from Yale University, in, respectively, 1994 and 1997.

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