Vicki Zhang

Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream

Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies in Actuarial Science

Department of Statistical Science

University of Toronto

Education and Qualifications:

- Fellow, Society of Actuaries (FSA)

- Associate, Canadian Institute of Actuaries (ACIA)

- Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA)

- Master’s degree in Statistics and Applied Probabilities from University of California, Santa Barbara (with completion of PhD qualification)

- Accreditation Actuary of Canadian Institute of Actuary's University Accreditation Program

Contact:

UGChair.ActSci@

utstat.utoronto.ca

Major Experiences: 

Professor Zhang joined Department of Statistical Science in 2013. She has been a passionate course designer/redesigner and pedagogical researcher ever since. She created the capstone course Insurance Products, Markets and Regulation with AXIS, which explores the complex history of the life insurance product design and regulation in US and Canada, while providing students with hands-on experience with the widely-used industry software AXIS. She has introduced numerous Excel-integrated case studies to her second-year courses that provide students with real-world context and applications to the course content. She developed a pedagogical approach of "narrative mathematics" to improve concept linkage and active-learning among students in large-classroom courses.

Prior to joining UofT, Professor Zhang was a client specialist and senior actuary at Moody's Analytics (formerly GGY Consulting). In this role, she gave numerous training sessions to users of the actuarial software AXIS. She covered various lines of insurance business including life (participating and non-participating), disability, long-term care, critical illness, etc. Her trainees were located in Canada, US, Western Europe, and Asia. Before becoming a client specialist, she was an AXIS developer focusing on life and disability modules. She had a one-year stint as a mergers and acquisition actuary at PricewaterhouseCoopers, working on pension and employee benefits issues in M&A process. Before that, she was a niche development manager for Milliman Denver’s risk adjuster and life-style based analytics projects. She was also heavily involved in various healthcare pricing and experience studies including US federal government’s multi-billion dollar TRICARE, US behavioural healthcare experience analysis, and medical underwriting guideline development.

Professor Zhang was a consultant for United Nation’s microinsurance program in China and Mongolia in 2009. She is a journal reviewer for The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CJSoTL), and a frequent paper reviewer for International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) and Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) annual conferences. She is a member of the Climate Change Index task force, a committee jointly sponsored by SOA, CIA and CAS. Professor Zhang holds a Master's in Statistics and Applied Probabilities (with completion of PhD qualification exams), and a B.Eng in Electrical Engineering.

Book:

Professor Zhang is the author of the book Uncalculated Risks (Canadian Scholars' Press, 2014), which examines the transformation of insurance products and regulation, and the economic and social consequences.  

Selected Conference Papers:

Budde, A. & Zhang, V. (2017, November). Performing ACT(uarial Science) - Mathematical speculation, critical making, digital dramaturgy and creative pedagogy. Paper presented at American Society for Theatre Research Annual Conference, Atlanta, USA

Zhang, V. (2017, June). Towards Desegregation: The Case of Chinese International Students in Canada. Paper presented at the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) Annual Conference, Halifax, Canada.

Zhang, V. (2017, June). Applying Narrative Mathematics in an Introductory Life Contingency Course. Paper presented at the Society of Actuaries Actuarial Teaching Conference, Pittsburg, USA.

Zhang, V. (2016, June). Student-led initiatives in teaching economics and finance. Paper presented at the Canadian Economic Association Annual Conference, Ottawa, Canada.

Zhang, V. (2016). A Critical Pedagogy of Insurance Finance. Visible Hand – Towards Pluralism in Economics, August 2016

Zhang, V. (2015, August). University of Toronto’s New Course Development: Using Actuarial Software to Explore the Real World of Insurance. Paper presented at the Society of Actuaries Actuarial Research Conference, Toronto, Canada. 

Zhang, V. (2015, May). From Rules-based to Principles-based: Critical Issues in the Paradigm Shift of Insurance Regulations. Paper presented at the Canadian Economic Association Annual Conference, Toronto, Canada. 

Zhang, V. (2015, May). Piloting Pluralistic Financial Pedagogy: Urgency, Challenges, and Lessons Learned. Poster presented at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) Annual Conference, Melbourne, Australia.

Zhang, V. (2014, June). Piloting Pluralistic Finance Education. Poster presented at the European Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (EuroSoTL) Inaugural Conference, Dublin, Ireland.

Zhang, V. (2014, November). Introducing Pluralism in Specialized Finance Education. Paper presented at the special teaching session of the 26th annual meeting for the European Association of Evolutionary Political Economy (EAEPE), Nicosia, Cyprus. 

Teaching:

2018-2019

On Leave. Please contact Acting Associate Chair Prof. Andrei Badescu for actuarial science undergraduate inquiries.

2017-2018

STA2535 (Fall): Life Insurance Mathematics (for Master of Financial Insurance students http://mfi.utoronto.ca/)

ACT475 (Fall) – Insurance Products, Markets and Regulation with AXIS

ACT247 (Winter) - Introduction to Life Contingency Model

2016-2017

STA2535 (Fall): Life Insurance Mathematics (for Master of Financial Insurance students http://mfi.utoronto.ca/)

ACT240 (Fall) - Fundamental of Investment and Credit 

ACT349 (Fall) - Corporate Finance

ACT475 (Winter) – Insurance Products, Markets and Regulation with AXIS

ACT247 (Winter) - Introduction to Life Contingency Model

SII199 (Winter) - Decipher Puzzles in the Financial Press and Media

2015-2016

On Maternity Leave

2014-2015

ACT230 (Fall) – Math of Finance (Syllabus: ACT230 Syllabus 2014)

ACT240 (Fall) – Fundamental of Investment and Credit (Syllabus: ACT240 Syllabus 2014)

ACT475 (Winter) – Insurance Products, Markets and Regulation with AXIS

PMU199 (Winter) - Business as Unusual: Post-Crisis Market and Regulation of Insurance and Finance

2013-2014

ACT230 – Math of Finance (Syllabus: ACT230 Syllabus New)

ACT240 – Fundamental of Investment and Credit (Syllabus: ACT240 Syllabus New)

ACT245 – Financial Principles I

ACT247 – Introduction to Life Contingency Model