Kennesaw State University professor honored by SAS for excellence in teaching

Jennifer Priestley jb 1629-91.JPG

  Jennifer Priestley recognized with Distinguished Professor award at SAS Global Forum…

Georgia (Apr 24, 2012) —  

Jennifer Priestley recognized with Distinguished Professor award at SAS Global Forum

KENNESAW, Ga.  (April 24, 2012) — Kennesaw State University’s Jennifer Priestley has received the 2012 SAS Distinguished Professor award for her efforts toward educating and preparing students for a career in statistical analysis.

“I am honored by this recognition, which is truly a testament to the caliber of students we have at Kennesaw State,” said Priestley, associate professor of statistics in Kennesaw State’s College of Science and Mathematics. “KSU is the only university in Georgia, and one of the few in the country, to offer formal training in SAS at both the undergraduate and graduate level and it has been one of the factors that has kept our graduates among the most sought after in the region.”

Priestley, who teaches statistics to undergraduate and graduate students, was instrumental in creating a minor in applied statistics and data analysis and a SAS certificate in statistical analysis.  She also worked closely with Dr. Lewis VanBrackle, professor of statistics to help create the very popular Master of Science in Applied Statistics.

In addition, she directs the activities of Kennesaw State’s Center for Statistics and Analytical Services, which is helping a growing number of companies sift through reams of data so they can operate more effectively and improve profitability.

“Companies tend to be very data rich and information poor,” said Priestley. “Data is inexpensive and easy to capture and store, but translating it into meaningful information is hard. That’s where the center comes in.”

The center’s advisory board includes Atlanta-area Fortune 500 companies to ensure alignment with industry needs. Priestley created a graduate course that incorporates real-world experience cleaning and analyzing structured and unstructured data by partnering with one board member company to provide massive, real world data sets – translating into invaluable real world experiences in the classroom.

“We have been astounded at the amount of work that has been brought to the Center for Statistics and Analytical Services from regional companies and governmental agencies,” Priestley said. “The overwhelming success of the center is a function of the increased demand for analytical consulting and KSU’s emerging reputation in statistics and applied analytics.”

The university’s resource for statistical analysis, the center also consults with external organizations. The external client list includes companies which span a large cross section of industries including energy, manufacturing, health care, insurance as well as governmental agencies involved in public service.

The need for a centralized resource for statistical analysis has come about as KSU places increasing emphasis on research and scholarship. The center primarily supports the analytical needs of faculty and students engaged in research and scholarship. The center is modeled after similar centers at Virginia Tech, Penn State and the University of Georgia.

Some of the corporate consulting work the center does includes training in statistics and in statistics software, statistical modeling, process improvement studies and sampling.


Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 80 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing and a new Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of 24,100 from more than 130 countries.




A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. 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 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit