Chatting with the Chair

Chatting with the Chair

by Claire Bilodeau

Dear Section Members and Curious Readers,

As this is the first issue of Expanding Horizons since the election of the new council, please allow me to express my sincere gratitude to Mary Hardy, Krzysztof Ostaszewski and Jenny Young for their very valuable contributions as Council members over the past three years. In particular, Mary was Chair last year and has thus handed on to me the nontrivial task to follow in her footsteps. Let me also welcome our newly elected members, Jim Daniel, Ian Duncan and Jeffrey Pai.

I just returned from the meeting of the Council of Section Chairpersons. The Society's reorganization is still ongoing and remains a hot topic. For sections directly linked to a practice area, this entails a major increase in their responsibilities. For a small section as ours, not linked to a practice area, this is the opportunity to reposition ourselves and take a more active role. In particular, we are eager to be more involved in basic education and have tried to seize every opportunity to make it known. As I found out yesterday, our section is not the only one that wishes to have more say into the E&E process, albeit for different examinations and at different levels.

Last year, Financial Economics was on the section's radar as the E&E syllabus was redesigned. The section, through the Council, expressed its concerns and a task force was formed to examine what room needed to be made for that topic on the syllabus. Final decisions have not yet been made. Until then, we keep our fingers crossed!

This year, other issues are appearing on our radar. If you are subscribed to the Academic Relations listserv, you already know that two task forces are being formed, one to study the process of accreditation, another to study an alternate route proposal. (If you are not subscribed, you may wish to consider doing so at SOA Listservs) Both accreditation and alternate route are changes that are bound to affect the majority of our section members as many of us are instructors. Council members have volunteered to participate in those task forces and, whether we end up being selected, we will try to keep abreast of what is going on and make sure that all points of view have a chance to be heard.

As you probably already know, the next Actuarial Research Conference (ARC) will be held in August at the Instituto Tecnólogico y Autónomo de México, in Mexico. To many, students and junior faculty in particular, the distance involved may be a deterrent. In order to allow people to attend the 40th ARC, CKER and the E&R Section will be offering travel grants to students and junior faculty, respectively. Please keep your eyes open for the upcoming announcement of those travel grants and spread the word! In the meantime, do mark your calendars for August 11–13, 2005, for another great opportunity to present your results and learn what is happening in the world of actuarial research.

Happy Holidays to All!