Bond University has appointed former Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) National Chair, Professor Steven Stern, to the growing ranks of its Actuarial Sciences team as Professor of Data Science.
The mathematician, hobbyist programmer and self-confessed sports nut is probably best-known by cricket fans as the custodian of the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) system of adjusting scores in international cricket matches when wet weather has interrupted play.
Stern comes to Bond University from QUT where he was Professor of Statistics, Discipline Leader of Statistics & Operations Research and the ABS Chair. Prior to this, he spent almost 20 years at Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra in a variety of academic and research roles, most recently Associate Professor and Director of Education for the Research School of Actuarial Studies and Applied Statistics.
He holds a Doctorate in Mathematical Statistics, Master of Science in Applied Statistics and Bachelor of Mathematics from Stanford University, California.
Throughout his career, Stern has received several awards for teaching excellence from Stanford and ANU and has been published in numerous statistics, commerce, sport, health and medical journals, nationally and internationally.
Executive Director of Bond Business School, Professor Terry O’Neill said Professor Stern would add considerable weight to the University’s Actuarial Science program.
“Steven has extensive experience in data analytics, and we are very fortunate to have an academic of his calibre on board,” Professor O’Neill said.
“His research and teaching experience is a great fit for Bond and his expertise in quantitative methods and Big Data will allow him to add real value not just to the Business School, but across the University.”
Stern’s main research interests include: sports performance metrics, which includes his ongoing work with the DLS system and the creation of team and player ratings for various tournaments e.g. Cricket Australia’s Big Bash League; the data linkage work he was involved with for the ABS; and the topic of Adjusted Likelihood Theory.
Professor Stern said there were several factors which attracted him to the role at Bond.
“My role will include both research and teaching, which is very important to me, as the most valuable thing I can do is directly affect and positively impact the lives of students through education,” he said.
“I really like the size aspect of Bond, and the private university model which is very much focussed on students, the student experience and ‘customer service’, which will give me the opportunity to truly know, and personally mentor, my students.
“Also, I love the fact that Bond is very connected with sport. Sport is my passion and I am really looking forward to working with Bond Sport and the Exercise & Sports Science team to explore how my data analytics experience can help them with some of the exciting work they are doing in the sporting world.
“My role will be very much one of a helper and enabler, analysing data and providing insights not just for the Business School, but hopefully across Bond’s faculties and departments.
“Finally, I have worked with the Executive Dean of Bond Business School, Professor Terry O’Neill in several capacities over many years at ANU and I have a huge respect for his knowledge of data and statistical analysis and for his vision for Actuarial Science and the Business School. I look forward to working with him again at Bond.”
Professor Stern says he likes to share his passion and enthusiasm for statistics with his students.
“Regardless of whether they’re studying introductory stats as a prerequisite for a general business course, or they’re keen to pursue a career in quantitative analytics, my job is to teach them that stats are interesting and useful, and can actually be fun.”
“I don’t teach facts, I teach ideas. I’m not interested in my students regurgitating facts and theories about stats; I want them to understand the real reasons behind data analysis methods and understand how and when analytic techniques should, and more importantly shouldn’t, be used.
“Data analysis is the skill of the future. If you know how to understand and analyse data, there is no industry or career in the world you can’t be involved in somehow.”
Professor Stern’s previous students have gone on to work in a broad range of careers and industries, including data management for professional sports organisations such as the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) and Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), scheduling and operations management of an ER department at the Nambour Hospital on the Sunshine Coast of Australia, finance data analytics management at global companies like PIMCO (a subsidiary of Allianz), insurance and superannuation data analytics at companies like RACQ and QSuper, actuarial regulatory bodies such as the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), remote sensing data analysis and land mapping as well as methodological officers at the ABS and academic positions at universities across the country.