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May 15, 2015

School of Accountancy Hosts SAS Camp

Doctoral students can get a head start on research software by attending this year’s SAS Camp, August 18-21. The SAS training program focuses on the Statistical Analysis System (SAS) software to assist students as they improve their research and data collection skills. Director of the Ph.D. Program and Delmar Lienemann Sr. Chair of Accounting, Dr. Thomas Omer has brought this training program to the college.

“In the past, students would have to struggle through the first year to understand the SAS software as they were researching and writing papers. This camp provides a way for students to understand and know how to use the program before the research projects begin,” Omer said.

The SAS Camp provides the opportunity for students to learn at no cost. Third year doctoral student Tiffany Westfall, who is from Vincennes, Indiana, expressed her appreciation for last year's data camp as it was not available during her first year in the Ph.D. program.

“The SAS Camp was offered at an optimal time to enable both students and faculty to efficiently embark on research projects from day one,” she said.

The SAS Camp not only teaches doctoral students research and data collection skills, but it also establishes a culture of success. Instructors encourage students to ask questions and seek help from a mentor. By creating this culture early on, Ph.D. students can improve their efficiency with research and effectively work with faculty members.

“This camp emphasizes coordination and cooperation. Your best resource is the person in the next office. We don’t want students spending weeks on one problem,” Omer said.

By understanding the SAS software early, students may complete more papers that have the potential for publication. This academic advantage can create an outstanding résumé for students and help place them in a Big Ten faculty position.

“Today, Ph.D. students need a dissertation, data collection experience and a pipeline of completed papers that could be published,” he explained. “These are the expectations that big research schools have when hiring new faculty, which makes understanding the research software early on, that much more important.”

By offering events like the SAS Camp, the productive research habits of the school’s faculty are instilled in students. Emphasizing the value and culture of productive research is just one example of how the School of Accountancy earned its position as fifth in the world in most productive faculty in archival tax research.

“The SAS camp is designed to improve students’ productivity while in the Ph.D. program and improve their chances of being a real competitor in the job market when they are finished,” Omer said.