September 25, 2017

Advancing communications measurement and evaluation

On the Occasion of His Retirement: 5 Questions for Measurement Legend Don Stacks

Don Stacks

Big congrats to measurement legend Professor Don Stacks, who is retiring after 27 years at the University of Miami School of Communication. Among his many publications are the now-classic fundamental measurement resources:

You can learn about his extensive history of publications and awards at the UM site and the Institute for PR site. You can learn even more in our Measurement Life interview with him from a year ago: “Don W. Stacks Interview: IPRRC, the Replicability Crisis, and Why He Does Measurement.”

Don Stacks has inspired a great many students. And professionals as well, to which I can attest from personal experience. After attending one of Don’s conference talks years ago, I wrote about it in “Don Stack and the Loneliness of the Measurement Mathematician”:

…Don Stacks is not the only person in measurement who knows a chi-square distribution when he sees it. But he is one of the very, very few people in measurement with both the mad skills and the guts to announce to a Measurement Summit event packed with the best and brightest that, “If your measurement provider doesn’t know what R-squared is, then tell them to take a hike.”

Of course most of those best and brightest don’t themselves know what R-squared is, and don’t really want to know what R-squared is. But they’re afraid to let anyone know it because Dr. Stacks is glaring down at them from the podium. Everyone feels like they are back in Stats 101 and the dog ate their homework.

“A good consumer of research,” says Dr. Stacks sternly, “needs to understand the concepts.”

5 questions for Dr. Stacks on the occasion of his retirement

I wrote to Don and asked him 5 questions about his plans for retirement:

#1: What do you plan to do in retirement?

Don Stacks: I will continue as emeritus, but have left the classroom. I will probably be a beach bum, but we’ll see.

Don Stacks and his Stand Up Paddleboard

#2: What does retirement mean for you? More time to SUP?

DS: Retirement gives me more time to think and write. Maybe more water activities.

#3: What’s your favorite retirement beer?

DS: Stroh’s, but it is hard to find.

#4: How will your life change in retirement?

DS: More time to do what I want, some recreational travel, time with the family.

#5: Do you plan a trip or adventure to celebrate your retirement?

DS: Will go up to Michigan for my 50th high school reunion. After that, play it by ear.

Thank you and all the best, Don. Enjoy your retirement!

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Bill Paarlberg
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Bill Paarlberg

Bill Paarlberg co-founded The Measurement Standard in 2002 and was its editor until July 2017. He also edits The Measurement Advisor newsletter. He is editor of the award-winning "Measuring the Networked Nonprofit" by Beth Kanter and Katie Paine, and editor of two other books on measurement by Katie Paine, "Measure What Matters" and "Measuring Public Relationships." Visit Bill Paarlberg's page on LinkedIn.
Bill Paarlberg
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