Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Honors College

The Honors Community

D'Arcy Mays
Title:
Chair, statistical sciences and operations research.
Specialty:
Design of experiments, regression analysis and response surface methodology.
Honors courses:
Statistics 210 and University College 190.

D’Arcy Mays, Ph.D.

D’Arcy Mays, Ph.D., doesn’t have to look far when searching for a way to inspire the students enrolled in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Honors College.

“Pairing bright students who are motivated with other students who are bright and motivated allows the students to feed off of each other, learn from each other,” said Mays, chair of statistical sciences and operations research.

His role begins with giving the students the tools they need to spark a discussion or embark on a unique project. The rest, he explained, they often take from there.

“Faculty can present an idea and then rely on the students to do a lot more for each other,” Mays said. “It’s a good opportunity to teach motivated students who are in the course primarily because they want to learn the material.”

In his Statistics 210 honors lab, Mays asks the students to track and collect data on an aspect of their everyday life. Their ideas range from counting the number of times they use their cell phone to how many people are in the Starbucks line at a specific time each day.

“You can see they put creative thought into what they’re going to do, which is the whole idea,” Mays said.

Honors students spend more class time on such projects since they need less time to review basic math skills.

“It allows you to have more advanced discussions of the topic,” said Mays, who also teaches an honors University College 190 course that provides students with an introduction to the university at an advanced level.

With requirements in place to attract the best students, Mays said he sees The Honors College making a difference at VCU.

“The Honors College is creating upper-level students who are competing for national and international awards,” he said. “I think it’s moving us in the right direction.”

Pairing bright students with other students who are bright and motivated allows them to feed off of and learn from each other.

D’Arcy Mays, Ph.D.