Harvard Statistics Department

Favorite Professors and Harvard Statistics

Once a year, every graduating senior at Harvard is asked to nominate his/her favorite professor (out of all courses taken over the preceding four years). The Harvard Yearbook staff tallies up all the votes, and then invites the winning professors to submit a letter to their students to appear in the yearbook. The staff selects approximately 45-50 professors each year (out of all faculty members teaching in a total of 37 undergraduate departments).

By the way in which nominations are collected, one expects the larger departments to prevail, since smaller departments (like the Statistics Department) have fewer faculty members in the pool. This follows from the limitation that a senior can select at most one professor's name for consideration.

With immense pride, the Statistics Department can announce that such expectations have been disproven:

Class of 2015 Favorite Professors Joseph Blitzstein and Michael Parzen
Class of 2014 Favorite Professors Joseph Blitzstein and Michael Parzen
Class of 2013 Favorite Professors Joseph Blitzstein and Michael Parzen
Class of 2012 Favorite Professors Joseph Blitzstein and Michael Parzen
Class of 2011 Favorite Professors Joseph Blitzstein and Stephen Blyth
Class of 2010 Favorite Professor Joseph Blitzstein
Class of 2009 Favorite Professors Joseph Blitzstein and Kenneth Stanley

Joseph Blitzstein is Professor of the Practice in Statistics and teaches STAT 110 (Introduction to Probability); Michael Parzen is Senior Lecturer on Statistics and teaches STAT 104 (Introduction to Quantitative Methods for Economics); Stephen Blyth is Professor of the Practice in Statistics (Part-Time)/Managing Director (Harvard Management Company) and teaches STAT 123 (Applied Quantitative Finance on Wall Street); and Kenneth Stanley, now retired as a professor from the Harvard School of Public Health, also taught STAT 104.

Here are sample letters from the professors to their students, starting with vol. 376 (2012) of the Harvard yearbook:

continuing with vol. 375 (2011) of the yearbook:

and ending with vol. 373 (2009) of the yearbook:

The winning professors, as well as the entire Stat Dept faculty, wish to acknowledge the contributions of many people in supporting our aim for excellence:

STAT 110 Teaching Fellows (2006-2012)
Fall 2013: William Chen, Sebastian Chiu, Sam Fisher, Viviana Garcia Horton, Theresa Gebert, Alden Green, David Jones, Karl Krehbiel,
Keli Liu, Dennis Lu, Jiannan (Jerry) Lu, Owen Senders, Bambo Sosina, Lazhi Wang, Xufei Wang, David Watson, Brian Zhang
Fall 2012: William Chen, Sebastian Chiu, Peng Ding, Valeria Espinosa, Viviana Garcia Horton, Jessica Hwang, Bo Jiang, Dave Jones,
Joey Kelly, Jiannan (Jerry) Lu, Carolyn Stein, Anqi Zhao
Fall 2011: Daniel Fernandez, Viviana Garcia, Jessica Hwang, Bo Jiang, Dave Jones, Joey Kelly, Jiannan (Jerry) Lu, David Rosengarten,
Anqi Zhao
Fall 2010: Kevin Bartz, Valeria Espinosa, Lei Guo, Viviana Garcia Horton, Bo Jiang, Joey Kelly, Xiao Tong, David Watson
Fall 2009: Kevin Bartz, Chao Du, Daniel Fernandez, Bo Jiang, Martin Lysy, Xiao Tong
Fall 2008: Kevin Bartz, Martin Lysy, Sergiy Nesterko, Wei Zhang, Li Zhu
Fall 2007: Kevin Bartz, Roee Gutman, Kari Lock, Martin Lysy, Andrew Thomas
Fall 2006: Chao Du, Lei Guo, Charity Morgan, Jing Zhang

STAT 123 Teaching Fellows (2010-2011)
Spr 2011: Bronwyn Loong, Bo Jian, Xiao Tong, Nihar Shah, Joey Kelly
Spr 2010: Bronwyn Loong, Zhan Li, Alan Lenarcic, Andy Vesper

STAT 104 Teaching Fellows (2006-2012)
Fall 2012: Alex Blocker, Yang Chen, Avi Feller, Tom Ferriss, Alexander Franks, Yang Li, Kevin Rader, Xiao Tong,
Andrew Vesper, Lazhi Wang, Jiexing Wu, Amy Yuan
Spr 2012: Amy Yuan, Dan Cervone, Jerry Lu, Jiexing Wu, Lazhi Wang, Tom Ferris, Panos Toulis, Clemi Hicks, Raj Bhuptani,
Parijat Samant, Bobby Schneider, Diana Miao, Enzo Vasquez, Guillaume Basse, Kai Fei, Kenny Lee, Moon Sunghwan,
Reid McCann, Sandesh Kataria, Sebastion Chu, Siddarth Viswanathan, Stephen Kent, Victor Yang, William Chen,
Yang Ge, Yehna Chang, Yin Wei Soon
Fall 2011: Alex Franks, Sergiy Nesterko, Bambo Sosina, Panos Toulis, Lazhi Wang, Dave Watson, Amy Yuan, Jason Sherman,
Thomas Tong, Clemi Hicks, Tong Tong, Parijat Samant, Tommy Xue, Raj Bhuptani
Spr 2011: Nik Andric, Jon Bischof, Arman Sabbaghi, Tal Kubo, Raj Bhuptani, Colin Fogarty, Clemi Hicks, Kevin Huang, Marion Liu,
Kevin Ni, Parijat Samant, Tong Tong, Tommy Xue, Josh Zagorski, Benny Zhu
Fall 2010: Nik Andric, Jon Bischof, Daniel Fernandez, Evgeny Firsov, Arman Sabbaghi, Nihar Shah, Samuel Wong, Amy Yuan
Spr 2010: Michelle Bai, Shaun Dougherty, Sundeep Iyer, Nihar Shah, Jiexing Wu, Wenfan Yu
Fall 2009: Deirdre Bloome, Valeria Espinosa, Simeng Han, Sundeep Iyer, Bolun Liu, Nihar Shah, Dennis Sun, Samuel Wong, Jiexing Wu
Spr 2009: Alexander Blocker, Gregory Dyer, Katherine He, Nathaniel Jack, Anjuli Kannan, Sean Li, Michael Mi, Emil Pitkin, Nihar Shah
Fall 2008: Alexander Blocker, Liam Honigsberg, Ruth Kwan, Alan Lenarcic, Sean Li, Zhan Li, Bronwyn Loong, Bengt Nilsen, Lindsay Page,
Emil Pitkin, Steven Stelmach
Spr 2008: Terrence Gilchrist, Ruoting Valerie Gong, Tal Kubo, Alan Lenarcic, Junghoon Moon, Charity Morgan, Lindsay Page, Emil Pitkin,
Martin Tingley, Paul Wendt, Bin Xu
Fall 2007: Michael Dombrowski, Kevin Rader, Martin Tingley
Spr 2007: Michael Dombrowski, Kevin Rader, Martin Tingley
Fall 2006: Paul Baines, Michael Dombrowski, Tal Kubo, Tae Kwon, Henry Lam, Alan Lenarcic, Zhan Li, Linjuan Qian

STAT 107 Teaching Fellows (2011-2012)
Fall 2012: Kevin Rader, Joey Kelly, Alex D'Amour, Li Zhu, Thomas Tong, Bambo Sosina, Patrick Mannion, Kevin Huang,
Doreen Xu, Prathama K Nabi
Fall 2011: Sergiy Nesterko, Jon Hennessy, Li Zhu, Walter Zilai Li, Chao Du

A number of these Teaching Fellows were awarded the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, as listed here. How can this be surprising, given the classroom role models exemplified by their professors?