Renate Houts wins 2019 Dean's Pillars of Excellence Award

Friday, May 17, 2019

Congratulations to Renate Houts, one of four recipients of the 2019 Dean's Pillars of Excellence Awards  from Duke's Trinity College of Arts & Sciences.

Valerie Ashby, Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, established these awards in 2017 to encourage excellence, celebrate staff accomplishments and to recognize the valuable contributions of Trinity College staff. Renate, a statistician with the Moffitt & Caspi Group in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience,  was nominated for her leadership, display of initiative, and the support she provides to everyone from undergraduates to postdoctoral fellows, staff and faculty. 

Houts'  work extends beyond the university to people using her data globally – from the United Kingdom to New Zealand. Renate is also passionate about introducing more women to careers in STEM, evidenced by the coding classes she teaches at a local school.

Houts was nominated by Terrie Moffitt, Nannerl O. Keohane University Professor of Psychology. Moffitt wrote:

I nominated Renate for her Stat-Check system, which evaluates the reproducibility of all our papers before they are submitted. This system, as most of you know, uses the draft manuscript and an original dataset, to carry out an independent test of whether all numbers, figures, and tables in the manuscript can be reproduced. It removes any temptation to “fudge” findings from researchers, who are under pressure to get positive findings. And, it prevents retractions of papers because of errors. Renate spends many of her work hours tirelessly carrying out these stat checks for Duke researchers and our collaborators broad (I count about 35-40 papers per year.) And I suspect these checks are not the most fun part of her job. She certainly has other wonderful talents as a statistician! Importantly, Renate uses the feedback from the statcheck as opportunities to patiently teach us better methods for data analysis. If you have benefited from a statcheck, now is a good time to say thanks to her!

Houts received a certificate and a $1,000 award from Dean Ashby.