Ronald D. Fricker, Jr. is the Interim Dean of the Virginia Tech College of Science and a Professor of Statistics. He joined Virginia Tech in 2015 as the Head of the Department of Statistics and has served at the Senior Associate Dean in the College of Science. Prior to Virginia Tech, he was a faculty member in the Operations Research Department of the Naval Postgraduate School and, before that, a Senior Statistician at the RAND Corporation and the Associate Director of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).
Dr. Fricker’s research is focused on studying the performance of various statistical methods for use in disease surveillance and statistical process control methodologies more generally. He is the author of more than 100 papers, monographs, and technical reports, as well as two books: Introduction to Statistical Methods for Biosurveillance published by Cambridge University Press and, most recently, with Steve Rigdon he co-authored a book published at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, Monitoring the Health of Populations by Tracking Disease Outbreaks: Saving Humanity from the Next Plague.
In 2020, Fricker has applied his disease surveillance expertise by co-leading a multidisciplinary team of Virginia Tech faculty, students, and analysts who spent the summer building models to help the university understand how COVID-19 could impact the campus. Along with other Virginia Tech faculty experts, he also serves as an advisor to the New River Valley Regional Safety and Health Task Force established to help guide local governments, health systems, and businesses as they respond to COVID-19.
Dr. Fricker holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Statistics from Yale University, an M.S. in Operations Research from The George Washington University, and a bachelor's degree from the United States Naval Academy. Upon graduation from the Naval Academy, he served as a surface warfare officer in the United States Navy. Dr. Fricker is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA), and an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute. He serves on the board of Virginia Tech Services, Inc., and is a member of the National Academies’ Board on Mathematical Sciences and Analytics.