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Raising Actuaries for Fun and Profit

Raising Actuaries for Fun and Profit

By Len Asimow, Ph.D, ASA

The theme for this issue of Conversations is actuarial education at smaller universities and liberal arts colleges. Most students who major in actuarial science at college do so at large research universities that have traditionally supported strong, "full–service" actuarial programs. However, as the contributors to this issue demonstrate, there are many rewards for educators in the mathematical sciences at small schools who are willing to devote time and energy in the development of an actuarial program at their institutions. These rewards accrue to the schools as well, and professors interested in pursuing this direction are likely to find institutional support and encouragement for their endeavors.

To better understand this promising niche market for small schools, I asked several colleagues to describe some of the factors that distinguish their programs from those at larger universities. In particular, you will read about special considerations in recruitment, financial aid, employer relations, alumni relations, and curricular support in the areas of finance and economics. In my own experience at Maryville University of St. Louis, these are areas that require substantial one–on–one involvement by the program leadership.

It is clear that our contributors, Heekyung Youn of the University of St. Thomas, Kathleen Elder of Frostburg State University, and Bryan Hearsey of Lebanon Valley College, are heavily involved in all of these aspects of their programs, and are deriving a great deal of satisfaction from the unique opportunity to mentor students all of the way through their development, from high school prospects to promising graduates to mature professionals returning dividends as alumni, student recruiters, and employer representatives.

  • Len Asimow, Ph.D, ASA
  • Professor of Mathematics and Actuarial Science
  • Maryville University of St. Louis