As a statistician, Dr. Jared Murray is no stranger to uncertainty. In fact, he teaches STA 371H, which focuses on using probability, statistics, and data science to learn about the world and make decisions in the presence of uncertainty. In today’s climate, in which uncertainty seems to be a major theme, Dr. Murray emphasizes that he and his students must look for solutions, rather than problems, in the classroom and beyond.
“The biggest thing, given everything that’s going on, is trying to have the attitude that we’re going to look for solutions, not problems, in this new format,” he said. “There are some things that I want to do that are just not going to be possible. There are some sort of modes of instruction that just don’t work anymore.”
For the past three years, Dr. Murray has been an assistant professor in the Department of Information, Risk, and Operations Management. Prior to teaching at UT, he worked in the Department of Statistics at Carnegie Mellon University and earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in Statistical Science at Duke University.
“One of the things that brought me here was the people’s potential for the collaboration in the (Information, Risk, and Operations Management) group. In fact, there are some folks here that I had already been working with and since I got here, I’ve explored even more collaboration,” he said. “One of the really nice things about UT is that it is enormous. Whatever you’re interested in, you can find it going on here at UT. That’s been a really good experience for me.”
This year, Dr. Murray is teaching three sections of Canfield Business Honors courses. Traditionally, his class is discussion and activity-based, with lots of student collaboration. With classes now online, he has altered his teaching style to fit the needs of his students.
“It’s so important to try to remain adaptive and flexible and give ourselves and everybody else a break. I’ve really leaned into this model of having videos that students can watch before class and then really dedicating class time to conversation– group work and labs and things like that,” he said. “(Canfield BHP students) all learn really well from each other and it’s a really good way for them to see each other and interact with each other and get a little bit of that social contact that may be limited for a lot of folks right now.”
One challenge in particular that often comes with online classes is attendance, but Dr. Murray has been particularly impressed by his Canfield BHP students. Despite many extenuating circumstances, students have continued to show up and actively participate in his classes.
“There are some folks that I know are in dramatically different time zones or their living situations are difficult. It’s hard to have a lot of siblings at home when everybody is trying to learn online on a limited wifi connection. I’ve got a lot of folks that are way out in the middle of Texas and they’re like driving to places so they can sit next to a cell tower and you can get online,” he said. “It means so much to me that my students are going through all that just so they can get to class. I’ve been really impressed with their resilience.”