Students gain competitive edge with new data analytics tool

KENNESAW, Ga. | Sep 27, 2018

SAS Viya platform gives KSU students more real-world experience

As higher education institutions search for simpler, less expensive ways to make sense of data, Kennesaw State University has again partnered with global analytics powerhouse SAS® to bring more real-world experience to its students.

Kennesaw State’s Analytics and Data Science Institute, a leader in analytics education, has added SAS Viya – a new single, visual web interface that simplifies data exploration, discovery and statistical analysis – to its analytics arsenal, a natural extension of years of collaboration between KSU and SAS.

“We have evolved our offerings to match talent needs, and SAS has long been a part of those efforts,” said Jennifer Priestley, associate dean of KSU’s Graduate College and professor of statistics and data science. “Our degree programs offer real-world experience and the analytics skills employers are seeking. More and more, that means expertise in advanced analytics like artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

Priestley, a pioneer in using SAS within the University’s graduate and undergraduate degree programs and professional certificate programs in analytics, is leading the efforts by putting this new platform in the hands of KSU professors, students and researchers.

Kennesaw State students at the master’s and doctoral levels are incorporating SAS Viya into their research, while faculty members, primarily in the Department of Statistics and Analytical Sciences, are adding SAS Viya opportunities to their classes.

“We foresee all of our master’s and doctoral students using Viya in some capacity in the upcoming year,” said Priestley.

In early 2019, undergraduates will also be able to access SAS Viya for the first time, when they will work with real data from a credit lender. The project will require students to process and clean the data, and work with more than 500 predictors to develop and evaluate sophisticated models. Such practical applications could be attractive to talent-hungry financial services companies, where SAS is commonly used to combat fraud, optimize marketing efforts and manage customer relationships.

Kennesaw State students, professors and researchers can also take advantage of SAS Viya’s ability to integrate with open source applications like Python, R, Hadoop and Java.

– Tiffany Capuano

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit