SAS hails excellence in higher education analytics and teaching

SAS honors Hillsborough Community College, Texas A&M professor and Student Ambassadors at annual forum

Graduation rates jumped 69 percent at Hillsborough Community College with help from an analytics dashboard. At Texas A&M, a tenacious analytics professor is producing talent primed to tackle real-world challenges. Analytics leader SAS is honoring both, along with the 2017 SAS Student Ambassadors, at this year’s SAS Global Forum.

“Analytics is transforming higher education teaching, learning and administration,” said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight. “Our honorees exemplify how analytics is helping individuals and institutions thrive,”

SAS Excellence in Education Award

More Florida residents have greater opportunities and lifetime earning potential thanks to innovative work at Hillsborough Community College (HCC). Using a SAS analytics dashboard, HCC tracks many metrics, including student enrollment, progression and success. Graduation rates, in particular, are a key component of state and federal performance measurement.

Harnessing the power of SAS data management, data visualization and reporting, HCC can address those requirements definitively. The SAS dashboard informs HCC’s “near graduation” program by pulling data from multiple departments to show administrators and registrars the students not currently enrolled, but within 15 percent of graduating. HCC reaches out to those students to encourage and incentivize them to re-enroll and complete a credential. The college can identify which students are on track, which are near completion and which are eligible to be auto-graduated.

Thanks to these efforts, HCC has graduated approximately 1,000 more students each year, comprising 20 percent of all graduations. Credit completions grew by 69 percent in 5 years.

This is a significant achievement for Hillsborough County. According to Paul Nagy of HCC’s Strategic Planning and Analysis group, students with an Associate’s Degree from HCC earn 35 percent more compared to county citizens with only high school degrees. That’s more than half a million dollars over their lifetimes.

SAS Distinguished Professor Award

Simon Sheather’s experience in both management and integrating analytics into organizations is a powerful asset for Texas A&M University. Sheather not only helps produce talent to fill the analytics skills gap, he contributes advanced statistics and analytics knowledge, having published more than 80 published research and two books. He has also presented at more than 50 conferences all over the world. According to Google Scholar, citations of his published work are fast approaching 10,000. Under his direct tutelage, more than 100 masters and PhD-level statisticians and analytics experts have entered the workforce.

Sheather has been instrumental in the use of SAS in courses within the Texas A&M Department of Statistics.

He is a professor and academic director of the Master of Science in Analytics, which he worked with SAS to create and launch in 2013.

The blended program, operating in cooperation with the Mays Business School, gives students real-world experience in areas such as utilities, manufacturing, healthcare, natural resources, transportation and finance. The MS in Analytics program continues to grow, with 40 candidates in the class of 2017, and 50 in the class of 2018.

The SAS Student Ambassador Program recognizes and supports students using SAS in innovative ways that benefit their respective fields of study. The 2017 ambassadors are:

  • Caroline Bell, University of Alabama
  • Brittany Bogle, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  • Anirban Chakraborty, Oklahoma State University
  • Jinwoo Cho, Sung Kyun Wan University
  • Indira Kiran Chowdavarapu, Oklahoma State University
  • Drew Doyle, University of Central Florida
  • Kyle Irimata, Arizona State University
  • Padmashri Janarthanam, University of Nebraska, Omaha
  • Taylor Larkin, University of Alabama
  • Huan Li, University of Alabama
  • Piotr Malaszek, Warsaw University of Life Sciences
  • Rebecca Peters, University of South Wales
  • Niloofar Ramezani, University of Northern Colorado
  • Matthew Valente, Arizona State University
  • Amelia Van Schalkwyk, University of Pretoria

At this year’s SAS Global Forum Student Symposium, eight teams of students and a faculty adviser are presenting research using SAS Analytics. Three winning teams will receive financial assistance toward SAS Certification. SAS also awarded scholarships to 10 university faculty, 20 students and 40 professionals to attend SAS Global Forum for free.

Today's announcement was made at SAS Global Forum, the world's largest analytics conference, with more than 30,000 business and IT users of SAS software participating on-site and online.

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