Published 11/20/13

Advanced Applied Analytics Center receives major gift from business analytics software provider

Contact: Frank Tortorici, Steinreich Communications; (201) 498-1600

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Bryant University, a leading private university offering a unique and integrated business and liberal arts education, has received a major gift from business analytics software provider SAS. The funding will be used to accelerate the University’s distinctive applied analytics curriculum and the new Bryant Advanced Applied Analytics Center (AAAC), which opened in March 2013.

Analytics, often referred to as “big data,” is the rapidly expanding field of extracting usable knowledge from enormous sets of heterogeneous digital information. A growing number of industries -- from health care to manufacturing to financial systems to international commerce -- are eager to extract the information they know exists in their enormous databases, but they lack the tools or the professionals to make it happen. Bryant’s AAAC is a hub for the development of interdisciplinary analytics academic programs, research, training, application development, consulting services and conferences, focused on real-world problem-solving.

“Analytics is a critical 21st century skill and organizational function that can make or break any endeavor."

Bryant will use the funds to further develop its innovative applied analytics programs, and to form strategic alliances with private and public-sector organizations to help them advance their analytics endeavors, including internships for Bryant students throughout the United States and abroad. AAAC faculty will be available to provide analytics training and consulting to all kinds of organizations, and students from high schools and other colleges will be invited to attend a Summer Analytics Institute. The center will also provide the northeastern United States with a state-of-the-art laboratory for advanced analytics and visualization development and study, providing access to large data sets from multiple disciplines for training and research. The gift will also fund faculty opportunities for software training, analytics research, and participation in leading industry conferences.

“Analytics is a critical 21st century skill and organizational function that can make or break any endeavor," said Bryant University Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. José-Marie Griffiths.  “For over 150 years Bryant University has been known for its focus on giving students the skills they need to solve real-world problems, and we already have strong programs in the foundational competencies of analytics. We would like to see every one of our students develop analytics skills, and so our new undergraduate analytics concentration can be tied to any degree major.  In addition, this new center is pulling together our analytics activities in three areas — education, research and strategic partnerships — in order to create the multidisciplinary synergy that applied analytics require.  This generous gift from SAS will make it possible for us to further develop our strong commitment to making Bryant University a hub of analytics development and innovation.”

As the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence marketplace, SAS provides products and solutions that use advanced analytics for fact-based decision making that transform the way organizations conduct business. "Bryant University has integrated SAS analytics into coursework for years," said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight. "This new analytics center builds on those efforts and will produce even more graduates who can make the most of Big Data."

Bryant’s Advanced Applied Analytics Center is designed to bring together not only the analytics leaders currently at Bryant, but others from across the country and around the world.  Professor of Computer Information Systems Richard Glass, Ph.D., and Professor of Mathematics and Computer Information Systems Alan Olinsky, Ph.D., are the center’s founding co-directors. This past spring Bryant introduced one of the few applied analytics programs in the country to be offered at the undergraduate level. As a university-wide program that can be linked with any disciplinary major, the concentration focuses on the integration of technology and analytical methods to acquire, analyze and apply information used for research, decision-making, and organizational effectiveness. A capstone experience matches students with external organizations, providing the opportunity to develop real-world applications related to their specific major and specializations.

The McKinsey Global Institute notes, “There will be a shortage of talent necessary for organizations to take advantage of big data. By 2018, the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills, as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use big data to make effective decisions.”

In 2012, 98 percent of Bryant’s graduates were employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation in comparison to 65 percent of college graduates nationally. The median starting salary of Bryant graduates is consistently above the national average for graduates ($52,000 in 2012.)  

Bryant University’s business programs have been accredited by AACSB-International since 1994. Bryant regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes and Barron’s.