Barry McNamara  |  Published June 16, 2022

Retirement Profile: Marjorie Bond

After 26 years of giving students ‘the tools to be lifelong learners,’ statistics professor moving on to teach at Penn State.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – The data have been collected, and they lead to a convincing conclusion: Marjorie Bond had a rich and meaningful career in her 26 years as a Monmouth College professor, excelling not only as an educator but also as a researcher and a vital member of the larger campus community.

MARJORIE BOND: Statistics professor joined Monmouth's faculty in 1996. MARJORIE BOND: Statistics professor joined Monmouth's faculty in 1996.“I believe in the Phi Beta Kappa motto of ‘Love of learning is the guide to life,’” said Bond, who has retired from her position as a professor in the Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science. “Being a lifelong learner was essential to my professional career, and my hope is that I inspired my students and colleagues to let the love of learning be their guide to life.”

Evidence of Bond’s love of learning can be found in a development that occurred late in her Monmouth career – teaching data science, which she called “a combination of statistics, computer science, mathematics and a domain field.”

“The more that I learned about data science, the more that I wanted to learn,” said Bond. “And the more I learned, the more I realized that I was a student again – no longer the master guiding students along a path so often traveled. Instead, I was leading my data science students through material that I was synthesizing. I found my teaching revitalized and a desire to be involved with other educators who are developing, implementing and assessing data science curricula and to work with undergraduate and graduate students through either formal coursework or research.”

Marshal and mentor

It was fitting to see Bond working right up to the end of the spring semester, as she led the faculty and the College’s graduating Class of 2022 up the sidewalk to Wallace Hall Plaza and to their seats for the Commencement ceremony. Bond became a faculty marshal in 1999 and has been chief marshal for the past 14 years.

AN IMPORTANT ROLE: Faculty marshal Marjorie Bond is shown leading the way for a final time at May... AN IMPORTANT ROLE: Faculty marshal Marjorie Bond is shown leading the way for a final time at May's Commencement ceremony on Wallace Hall Plaza. “I performed those duties at Matriculation, the Honors Convocation, Baccalaureate, Commencement and inaugurations, making sure that students, faculty, alumni, board members and guests enjoy those events and never notice what is going on behind the scenes,” said Bond. “For all those events, meetings start months in advance and require marshal attendance.”

Bond has also been an award-winning adviser, first for Alpha Xi Delta women’s fraternity and, for the past 12 years, for Blue Key. One of the last pre-COVID events she helped organize in her latter role was a Pumpkin Fun Run in fall 2019. The combined efforts of several student organizations raised $2,000 for mammogram equipment at OSF Holy Family Medical Center.

“I chaired the planning committee for Mentoring Day in 1998, and I was involved with it in one way or another for the next 15 years.” Marjorie Bond 

Advising students is near and dear to Bond’s heart. She was an integral part in developing what is now known on campus as Mentoring Day – a time especially devoted to having Monmouth students meet with their academic advisers to make sure they are still on track with their college plans or, perhaps, to come up with a new-and-improved Plan B.

“I chaired the planning committee for Mentoring Day in 1998, and I was involved with it in one way or another for the next 15 years,” she said.

While some of her areas of service to the College have not, directly, been related to her academic field, another of her roles put her right in her element. Bond served as the College’s quantitative reasoning coordinator. Like her other roles, it required plenty of behind-the-scenes diligence.

As just one example, she played a vital role in determining whether students needed to take a foundational course in QR when Monmouth went “test-optional,” since ACT or SAT mathematics scores were previously used to determine placement.

It all boils down to helping Monmouth students get the most out of their college education, while also conveying one of Bond’s core beliefs.

“Our students need to become independent learners to thrive in this ever-changing world, and we need to ensure that our graduates leave the academy with the tools to be lifelong learners,” she said. “The student evolution to scholar may begin in a quantitative literacy course or in an introductory course in which the student is just passing through to other fields.”

Attitudes toward statistics

“I studied mathematics because I enjoyed it and statistics because it combined what I enjoyed from math – theory and application,” said Bond, who completed her doctoral degree at Kansas State University, where she also taught for a year during a sabbatical from Monmouth. Bond earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees at the University of New Mexico. “Learning how to teach statistics during the statistics education reform movement ensured that I teach concepts over calculations and that I use active learning and real data.”

Bond played a major role in that reform.

“Being a lifelong learner was essential to my professional career, and my hope is that I inspired my students and colleagues to let the love of learning be their guide to life.” Marjorie Bond

From 2006-15, “the Survey of Attitudes Towards Statistics occupied most of my research time,” she said. “Candace Schau – the creator of SATS – and I collected The SATS Project that is a publicly available database containing data from students and instructors using three surveys. In the midst of that, we formed the first of several research groups that studied statistics attitudes.”

In 2016, Bond received a membership initiative grant from the American Statistical Association for the Research on Statistics Attitudes project.

“Essentially, through ROSA, the decision was made to create new statistics attitude instruments instead of adapting the SATS,” said Bond. “ROSA’s executive board formed the MASDER (Motivational Attitudes of Statistics and Data Science Education Research) group that eventually received a National Science Foundation grant in 2020. Using NSF’s funds, the MASDER group will create a family of instruments, called the Survey of Motivational Attitudes.”

What’s ahead

Next up for Bond will be a stint as a teaching professor in the Department of Statistics at Penn State’s main campus, University Park, where she will teach upper-level probability courses.

“One of those courses is similar to Monmouth’s MATH 339, which I taught every other year,” said Bond. “I will also contribute to Penn State’s data science major and work with statistics education faculty.”

When Bond is missing Monmouth, she’ll have a place to come home to, as she’ll share office space in the Center for Science and Business with emeritus professor Marta Tucker.

“As our alumni know, it’s hard to leave the plaid, and bagpipes always bring fond memories,” she said.

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