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Advancing Analytics

A new partnership between Lehigh and one of the world's top companies in business software analytics has been formed, providing students the opportunity to excel in a "real world" experience utilizing the tools in their professional field.

The Enterprise Systems Center, part of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science is teaming up with the SAS Institute to create the "ESC Advanced Analytics Laboratory" and associated programs.

SAS, the leader in business analytics software and services and largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market, will sponsor the lab thanks in part to funding and software resources donated to the ESC program.

The vision for the lab includes new classroom material, experiential learning opportunities and an opportunity to be at the center of excellence in analytics. Using the assistance of the SAS training materials on software such as Enterprise Miner, existing courses have already been augmented with SAS analytics material. The end result fosters a better understanding of data intelligence and decision support and its functionality in a real-time environment.

"SAS has been working with a large number of universities over the last decade to assist with analytics training," explained Jerry Oglesby, Director of Higher Education Consulting and Global Certification at SAS. "However, the breadth and depth of the efforts through the Enterprise Systems Center Analytics Lab at Lehigh are well beyond most centers. The strong ties with industry that the ESC group has built over the last several years forms a great framework for the lab and adds to the uniqueness of the effort."

Students also have the opportunity of gaining real world experience through mentored experiential learning with mentors from industry -- including SAS professionals.

"It is our belief that the most successful programs are those that provide real-world opportunities to their students in solving business problems," said Oglesby. "The Enterprise Systems Center Analytics Lab will expand the very successful activities already in place at Lehigh and will result in graduates from the programs being much better prepared to enter the business environment and become an active member of their companies' analytical teams."

The lab's collaboration work-space offers "layered mentoring" with the purpose of benefitting industry and faculty, as well as graduate and undergraduate students. This is intended to enable a close working relationship with corporate partners at both the team and class size levels.

"Our center is committed to helping students learn, while simultaneously providing value for our clients," explained Emory W. Zimmers, Jr., Lehigh professor and Director of the ESC. "We believe that our research and educational innovation should be driven by industry needs and enabled by close partnerships and collaboration."

The agreement with SAS follows a productive 2012 for the ESC, which recently added partnerships with Villanova University's Center for Business Analytics (CBA) to create the ESC-CBA Analytics Partnership and a strategic alliance with CT Global Solutions. CT Global Solutions is a premier analytics and business intelligence solution provider with an international client base.

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Lehigh and the SAS Institute have partnered to form the "ESC Advanced Analytics Laboratory" (Photo courtesy of the Enterprise Systems Center)