Nancy Pfenning

Senior Lecturer

1814 Wesley W. Posvar Hall


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Dr. Pfenning is interested in helping students master statistical thinking through the use of statistics in the media, data collected from students themselves, and hands-on experiments. Most importantly, her goal is to guide students toward a more global understanding of the various display, summary, and inference tools encountered in an introductory course. This approach is emphasized in her textbook Statistics: Looking at the Big Picture (Duxbury/Thomson, expected print date 2008).


  • PhD, Mathematics, Carnegie Mellon University, 1985
  • BS, Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh, 1978


“What I like about statistics is that it gives a framework to discuss questions in any topic you can imagine—business, neuroscience, pop culture, whatever. Statistics itself is both a science, because of the mathematical rigor involved, and an art, because of the creativity needed to look at a complicated problem from the right angle.”

Selected Publications

  • Statistics: Looking at the Big Picture (Duxbury/Thomson, expected print date 2008)
  • Chances Are...: Making Probability and Statistics Fun to Learn and Easy to Teach (Prufrock Press, 1998)