East Carolina University
Department of Psychology
These are posted with the permission of those who wrote them. Re-reading these letters always cheers me up and gives me an ego-boost. This is especially helpful after receiving a letter from a student who disparages my teaching (such letters are especially likely shortly after a failing grade has been posted).
From Howie Brandon, via Facebook. Graduate Statistics.
Oh, one other thing I never told you. A week after
graduating, I met a friend graduating from a UGA masters course in a similar
field. After tutoring them for a while on stats, they asked how I knew so much
since they, after 2 years were only about half way through the book.
Subject: PSYC 1000
Date: Wednesday, December 18, 2002 11:01 PM
Finally I can pronounce your last name properly. I am Hardik Patel from your Psyc.1000, MWF 1 pm class.
I would like to mention a few things about the class. First of all it was FUN. The way you taught, the stories, all of it was fun. Night before the first exam I was thinking about dropping the class, as I was not able to understand a whole lot. But the only thing that kept me from dropping the class was the enthusiasm that you showed every single time you came to class. The way you taught the class really got me hooked on to it.
The first test score acted as a positive reinforcement. It helped me to hang in there. It was fun to sit in the class and look at life from a whole different point of view. I have learned a whole lot of cool things about relations, emotions, water junkies(never knew that drinking water can kill someone), and lab rats. By sitting in the class I have gained a whole new prospective towards life, and am now better able to answer the questions that arise in day to day life.
I would like to thank you for keeping me motivated, teaching me new things and showing me a whole new way to look at life. Thank you.
From: "Jamieson, Gina Leigh"
To: "Wuensch, Karl L."
Date: Tuesday, June 05, 2001 2:45 PM
Hi Dr. Wuensch-
Just wondering how your summer is going. I started work here in Raleigh last week at the Office of State Fire Marshal. I've been busy stuffing envelopes, copying, making packets, and lots of data entry. Real exciting stuff. The real fun starts next week when I become a professional child safety seat installer. But I wont complain...at least I'm getting paid more than poor Tim across the street. I volunteered to make a database to give me something to do....maybe next I'll ask them if I can do any statistical analyses for them :-).
I also wanted to tell you thank you for the past two semesters. You are by far the best professor that I've had and I learned a tremendous amount from you. To be honest with you, when these new grad students started calling us asking about the program....we all told them that Statistics would be the hardest part but also the best. I have also been told by Kelly Ransdell (that's who I work with) that NC State looks highly upon ECU grad students that have taken your classes. That means something to me b/c I'm considering State for my PhD ;-) In any case, I hope I get more opportunities to work with you- perhaps on my thesis when I decide on one!
I spoke with Cope about offering Stats 3 and then we talked to Dr. Brown about it. It doesn't look likely while I'm here so I will have to settle for just 2 classes with you. So, thanks for everything- you truly are the highlight of this program.
From: Shravan Reddy [skr0126@ECU.edu] PSYC 2101
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2001 1:44 PM
To: Wuensch, Karl L.
Thank you Dr. Wuensch,
You truly are a one-of-a-kind teacher. I can't remember having a teacher who seemed to teach in a way that catered to so many different learning styles. Your notes, in-class analogies, your helpfulness, and your comic relief, were what set your class apart from others. I do hope someday our paths will cross again. I wish you well on everything and want to thank you again for a good semester.
PS- I have to admit that after some calculations I knew didn't have to perform as well on the final exam to receive an A in your class. So the motivational factor in my studying wasn't all there. But I must say that was one heck of a open book exam. I'm surprised I had enough juice to get through my math exam after your exam.
Subject: Thanks from old student
Sent: Tuesday, October 03, 2000 11:31 AM
I hope things are going smoothly up there in Greenville with the dawn of a new semester and new 6430 class! I have to admit that I miss the meetings we all shared through the 3 semesters you gave us. I am writing to catch up and thank you for my recent exemptions of ALL the stats courses for my PhD at FSU. I recently took the course descriptions etc from 6430, 7431, and 6433 to one of the stats professors here and discussed the classes I took from you and the topics we covered. I think he was surprised midway through our conversation that I only wanted an exemption from the stats requirements that I have for my department, because he gave me exemptions on all the stats courses that were offered by him and other stats faculty.
I remember someone writing a letter similar to this when I was in 6430 which prompted me to follow through on all the courses you provide. I reinforce that letter 2 years later with my experiences to date. Furthermore, I feel like I would have really been rolling the dice on the professors here. Instead I enjoyed 3 semesters of "Karl's beer" vs "cheap beer" and Ga-Alabama jokes. Pretty good trade if you ask me!
Thanks for the experience and the statistics! Keep in touch.
p.s. Nice picture on the new website!
From: "Stephanie.P.Mumford" <Stephanie.P.Mumford@wheaton.edu>
Organization: Wheaton College
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 14:12:58 CST6CDT
Subject: Hey Karl...How are ya???
Karl, Thought I'd drop you a line...I'm the worst correspondent ever and I'd forgive you if you had no clue who I was...Life has been completely hectic and I am so glad to be almost done (one more semester of coursework and one year of internship)...I've been flying around for interviews and have no idea where the best place for me is...Hope life is well with you...I would love to hear from you...I still think you're the greatest stats guru ever! (:
Date: Sun, 04 Oct 1998 01:24:18 -0400
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (took PSYC 6430 back in 1992)
Subject: Hi there!
You are still the best teacher I had. Scared to death though. Bet you are still sending crazy junk on minitab. Susan B. Stroud, nontraditional student
From: "Scott & Laurie Cross" <email@example.com>
Subject: Kudos to Karl
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 15:59:34 -0400
Just wanted to email you some good news. For exemption of statistics courses at FSU you have to petition the graduate statistics department and they decide if you have completed comparable work. After leaving the syllabi for 6430, 7431, 6433 and a copy of the comprehensive exam study guide for the graduate faculty to inspect, I quickly exited the department. The next day I received a call from Dr. Lin who informed me that the material covered in your classes exceeded what he required in his stats courses and I was exempt from all stats requirements. I thought you would appreciate the good news. I hope all is well in Greenville. Scott P.S. I have never witnessed a city round up a lynch mob for the QB as quickly as when NC State beat FSU.
May 20, 1998
Dear Members of the Selection Committee,
I am writing this letter to express my enthusiastic support for your consideration of Dr. Karl Wuensch as a recipient of your teaching award. I was a student for three semesters in Dr. Wuensch's statistics classes at East Carolina University in 1987-1988. I was also pleased to have Dr. Wuensch on the committee of my Master's thesis, which I defended in 1991. I am now in the process of completing my dissertation in cognitive neuroscience at Emory University. My views on Dr. Wuensch are derived not only from several years of close association with him, but also from my ability to evaluate him against the broad range of professors I have encountered over the course of a long academic career.
Dr. Wuensch's unique gift as a teacher inheres in his ability to combine serious demands on his students to master the material with a sincere desire that they succeed in meeting those demands, and a willingness to help the learning process along in any way possible. I think it would be safe to say that most students come into his classroom with at least some apprehension about their ability to learn statistics. Dr. Wuensch recognizes this apprehension but does not pander to it, as many others might feel pressured to do. His exposition of the principles of statistics is more exact and rigorous than what is often found in such courses for behavioral scientists. The workload for these courses is heavy, and Dr. Wuensch spares neither his students nor himself, as he must prepare and then grade all of the assignments which reinforce the learning process so well.
But what you must know about Dr. Wuensch is that this insistence on his student's learning accurately and well is always accompanied by such a great warmth and understanding and support for each student's individual struggles with the material. I have never seen the man grow impatient with a student's questions, or fail to try to help the sincere learner. I have never seen another professor who becomes so thoroughly and obviously pleased when struggling students do well. His enthusiasm and support inspires his students to meet the challenges he has set for them. The net result of these dynamics is that those apprehensive students end up with a genuine command of statistics, often much to their surprise. I myself went into Dr. Wuensch's classroom expecting to be an average student. I came out with a sufficient command of the subject that I have been able to earn a living as an independent statistician. This transformation was due in whole to the Dr. Wuensch's style of communicating the material and to the support and encouragement I received from him. I know many other students who could share similar stories.
Outside the classroom Dr. Wuensch is a true mentor, in all respects. In spite of his intense workload, he is always willing to take time to chat with students about career goals or research ideas or personal concerns or life in general. His office is the only one in the department that often has students gathered around it, as they seek his advice on various matters. He is able to engage with students as individuals while still maintaining his professionalism; that is, he is friendly but never inappropriate. My own decision to pursue doctoral studies was significantly influenced by his stated faith in my abilities.
Many more good things could be said about Dr. Wuensch's genius for teaching; I hope I have successfully conveyed the essence of it. Dr. Wuensch richly deserves recognition for the good work he has done and the many students he has served. Your committee would be well justified in granting him this award.
Department of Psychology
Atlanta, Georgia 30322
Date: Sun, 5 Oct 1997 16:44:38 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Page A. Jerzak" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I got an A in my Multiple regression and correlations course last semester and was well ahead of the other students and could even point out things they were unaware of (i.e., does the word suppression ring a bell???). So, I'm sure the reliability of your teaching will endure way beyond just those students who went on to Ph.D. programs.
Date: Wed, 17 Sep 1997 17:27:41 -0400
From: "Mizelle, Randy" <email@example.com>
Subject: Hey Karl!
To: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" <email@example.com>
Richard Zollinger turned me on to your webpage, and it is good to see you haven't changed. I didn't realize, however, that you didn't get your doctorate until 1982. You were a relative rookie when we received the benefits of your teaching! You continue to have an influence on my teaching and life, and though I am only teaching on the side, I love it, as I know you do--it comes across in your lectures. You can see that I now work for CP&L, at the Corporate Office here in Raleigh, and am still doing HR work. I support Accounting, Telecommunications, Information Technology, Rates and Energy Services, and Treasury. I enjoy it, but may make a slight career change in the next two years (10 years doing this stuff, Karl--it has worn on me).
Date: Thu, 04 Sep 97 09:29:47 EDT
From: Mary Dent <FMDENT@ECUVM1>
Subject: getting the path analysis stuff
Well, as it turns out, I'm supporting my family with a stats job again. I am the biostatistician for a researcher who is doing longitudinal assessments of development of children who were exposed to drugs in utero. She needs a path analysis done to test her model of the factors which contribute to changes in these measures. So I rummaged through your d filelist and found that you do have some information on path analyses in there, but it is in rft form. I don't remember the commands for working with those sorts of files. I would like to be able to open them and then cut and paste them into my local Word, or export them as ascii and send them to my unix account here (our ibm mainfram e no longer supports mail). Could you maybe take a minute to refresh my memory on how to do this? Oh, and please reply to me at firstname.lastname@example.org I noticed that you have a file in which you are collecting testimonials from former students. Mine would be glowing, of course. I don't know what I would have done without the jobs I have been able to get because of the training I got in your classes. Right now I have this job where I can work 20 hrs a week and make enough money to pay the bills (barely, but enough) and still have the afternoons free to continue collecting data for my dissertation. My appreciation for your teaching style was especially heightened by my experiences with other graduate stats instructors that I have encountered. I always felt that I would not have learned as well from anyone else. I hope all is well with you.
Date: 22 Apr 97 16:33:29 EDT
From: Marcy Moore <102414.1110@CompuServe.COM>
To: karl weunsch <email@example.com>
Subject: hello from the past
Dear Dr. Wuensch,
How about a surprise message from a long-ago student? This is Marcy (Crumbacker) Moore writing. I was just playing around on the internet and had this revelation that I might find your email address at the ECU page. Sure enough, there you were - once I remembered how to correctly spell your name. It has been quite a few years since I was at ECU (1986-89), but I thought you might like to know that I have often found use for my background in statistics. Over the past 3 years I have left the field of psychology completely (for more money, better hours, better benefits, etc). I now work as research manager for a large medical laser technology company based outside of Boston, although I have an office in Raleigh. It's great! I manage multiple research projects at any given time, and am responsible for seeing that all the data gets collected properly, gets analyzed, and ultimately is put into a format for presentation to the FDA. I wish I could say that I'm doing all the analyses myself, but I have hired consultants from Duke and UNC to handle the more time consuming and complex aspects of the statistical analysis (and data entry). Still, though, I have to know what I'm talking about and what they are talking about! Not all statisticians speak english. The guy I worked with from Duke produced literally 3 volumes of graphs and tables, of which about 5 pages were really useful. I anticipate the guy from UNC will understand the concept of "less is more". However, I'm always looking for a consultant I could keep on a retainer, so if you have any contacts in Raleigh, or other suggestions, please keep me in mind.
Success story #2: You may remember that I ended up marrying Roger Moore, another one of your former students. He's the real statistics brain in the family. He has often mentioned that he should drop you a note of thanks, but since he's never gotten around to it, I'll do it for him. After he left ECU, he went on to finish a PhD in psyc. at George Mason University. There, he was the ONLY student ever in their history to place out of the required statistics course. He did this by completely re-reading the Howell text we used in class, chapter by chapter, doing all the practice exercises, etc., over the course of the summer before he was to take the placement exam. He aced it and ended up teaching 7 statistics labs while he was a PhD student. Roger has given you lots of credit for being such a great teacher. We both keep our Howell text on hand for reference, and I often wish I could sit in your classroom again as a refresher. Roger went on to do his internship and 2 post-doc fellowships at Harvard. Living in Boston was the best experience either of us could have asked for. That's where I got connected to the medical laser world (at Harvard) which led to my present job. Well, I see this message has become quite lengthy. I don't mean to pontificate. I just wanted to let you know that we appreciate the great training you provided us both as students. Hopefully our paths will cross one of these days.
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 1997 23:00:48 +0000
From: Eric Surface <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Karl L. Wuensch" <PSWUENSC@ECUVM.CIS.ECU.EDU>
This Quasi class is stretching my mental capacity; the professor started out lecturing on random variables, and we just finished multiple regression tonight (covered in one lecture). His lectures remind me of yours, except he never makes the abstractions concrete (applicable); he is very much into theory. I have to complement you because I know more about what he's talking about than most of the students, which comes from your class and the logic course I had to take at Wake. Between Quasi and selection, I have been able to make use of my 3 stats classes. It's cool; one of the girls in my selection class said, "I wish I had stats at ECU. Stats at State are lame." I actually retained more stats knowledge than I realized. I now appreciate those sadistic multiple choice tests and stats assignments by hand. I used to curse you after working on those problems for 4 or 5 hours and not being finished. (What is sad is that we used to work in groups of 2 or 3 (3 x 5=15hrs--pathetic).) Now, I appreciate the preparation; I just wish I had learned more instead of doing just enough to do well on the test.
From: "Taylor, Lisa Marie" <LMT@rti.org>
To: "'Karl L. Wuensch'" <PSWUENSC@ECUVM.CIS.ECU.EDU>
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1996 21:31:50 -0400
I'm very happy to hear that you've been nominated for the teaching award. I definitely want to write a letter on your behalf. You are tied with my UNC Honors French 4 teacher for best teacher of my life, both having motivated me not to make an A but rather to really learn the stuff you taught. Comparatively speaking, yours is the greater accomplishment. I always loved French, On the other hand, prior to being under your tutelage, I always found statistics boring, irrelevant, tedious, and mystifying.
Lisa Marie Taylor
Office of Human Resources
Research Triangle Institute
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 1996 17:16:20 -0400
From: Richard K. Zollinger <Richard_Zollinger@cpcc.cc.nc.us>
Subject: Servus Karl
Well, I have found your address and always wanted to say hello to you.
Hope everything is going well for you. Both Gretchen and I are doing great in the big City and are looking forward to see the ECU vers. NCS game. By the way, I really appreciate your statistical teaching methods. Can you belief that I have taught Stats for the past couple of years and am now taking a grad. course called Research Methodology? Makes me feel like home in your class room. So long Karl. Let me know if you get this message.
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 96 10:24:45 EDT
From: Skip Branch <ECBRANC@UNIVSCVM>(not valid address in 1997)
Subject: Saying Hello
To: "Dr. Wuensch" <PSWUENSC@ECUVM1>
Dr. Wuensch I hope that you remember me from graduate school when I was at ECU. I am writing or e-mailing you to let you know how invaluable your stats classes were to me. I have found them to have been more than helpful in my career development. Frequently, I am the only person who has any idea about the statistics that are being presented to large groups. The other people are completely lost. Also, in my career the classes have helped me in strategic planning. I am currently completing my doctoral studies in Administration at the University of South Carolina. Please tell your current students if they have not already ascertained the obvious that your classes will definitely help them in their futures. Speak with you soon.
Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award page
Contact Information for the Webmaster,
Dr. Karl L. Wuensch
This page most recently revised on 24. November 2010.