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College’s Statistical Consulting Center Provides Consultations for Business Community

Statistical graphicsThe Statistical Consulting Center (SCC) in the UTSA College of Business is quite possibly one of the university’s best-kept secrets. The center operates within the college’s Department of Management Science and Statistics and provides a wide range of high-quality research and statistical consulting services at a more affordable price than the average private consulting company.

SCC Director Dan Sass and Assistant Director Stephanie Cano work with Ph.D. students in applied statistics to take on a wide range of projects from students, faculty and businesses. The SCC staff also assists with research grants. Unlike a private consulting firm, one of the primary goals of the SCC is to give UTSA students hands-on training and experience.

“The SCC isn’t a profit-driven initiative. Rather, it’s an active training ground where our students work on real-life problems under the direct supervision and support of UTSA faculty,” said Sass, assistant professor. “Additionally, the companies we consult are able to see the quality work our students produce and may choose to offer them full-time employment when they graduate.”

Michael Sanchez is a Ph.D. student in applied statistics and has worked in the SCC for the last two years.

“Working for the SCC has made a tremendous impact on my education,” he said. “I get new projects all the time, and we get to work with more realistic data where not everything is perfect like it is in textbook scenarios. I’ve also been able to learn how to use new statistical software, which is something that will make me more marketable once I begin looking for jobs.”

The SCC also offers a unique opportunity for individuals or companies to obtain statistical consultation and services on various aspects of research including data management and analysis, interpretation and reporting of results, statistical programming, research design and instrument development.

The UTSA Institute for Economic Development is one of the center’s regular clients. Recently, the SCC provided support for a Goodwill Industries evaluation, a San Antonio manufacturing study and the South Texas Community Medical Needs assessment, with the latter connected to the high-profile Eagle Ford Shale study.

“The SCC is an incredible resource,” said Sheryllynn Roberts, research economist at the UTSA Center for Community and Business Research in the Institute for Economic Development. “The quality of services we receive from Dan and his staff is comparable to what we would get working with the Office of Survey Research at UT Austin, and what’s even better is that it is local. The SCC is one of UTSA’s best-kept secrets.”

Another high-profile project the SCC has a hand in is a National Science Foundation-funded program UTSA is developing with Alamo Colleges to train high-quality math and science teachers who will teach at high-needs school districts. The SCC staff will evaluate the effectiveness of the program throughout its development.

The SCC provides statistical consulting services to UTSA faculty, staff and students, as well as individuals and businesses in the community. After an initial free consultation, hourly rates are determined based on UTSA affiliation and election of working with either SCC faculty or Ph.D. student.

–KC Gonzalez