Actuarial science MSPS presenters
Former MTSU actuarial science graduate students Courtney DeClerk, left, and Curtis Barker, professor Don Hong, Master of Science in Professional Science director Saeed Foroudastan and students Wren Tackett, David Phillips and Brennan Stender pause after attending the MSPS August 2019 presentations in the Science Building. The students served internships with partnering businesses before graduating during the summer term, (Submitted photo)

The Casualty Actuarial Society recently announced Middle Tennessee State University’s actuarial science program as one of the recipients of its international 2020 CAS University Award Program.

All four recipients were selected by a panel of judges from among a competitive field of applicants for the innovative and exemplary ways they are preparing students for a career in the property and casualty insurance industry.

A part of MTSU Mathematical Sciences, actuarial science trains students to apply math skills and statistical techniques to manage risks and solve problems in insurance and pension programs. Combining math and business courses, students earning their degree can pursue a newly emerging career with well-paying job in high demand.

“We are honored to receive such a prestigious award and it will inspire us to keep improving our program to fulfill our mission of providing a world-class actuarial education to our students,” professor Don Hong said.

The recognition includes a $5,000 award. Hong said they “will use the money to award scholarships to excellent actuarial students in the program and support students to take actuarial exams,” especially in the field of property and casualty insurance.

The CAS University Award Program is designed to annually celebrate and honor universities that share the organization’s commitment to fostering the development of the next generation of property and casualty actuaries.

“The selection process was extremely competitive, with schools throughout North America, Asia and Australia responding to a call for nominations for the award,” Hong said, adding that schools complete an application process to share the ways they are excelling in exposing their students to the property and casualty insurance industry in the areas of curriculum, research, industry engagement and innovation.

Hong said “a career as an actuary is better described as a business career with a mathematical basis rather than as a technical mathematical career. The occupation of actuary has been ranked one of the best jobs based on a variety of factors for many years.”

Fellow award recipients include Temple University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and McMaster University in Canada.

“As the award program has evolved over the past five years, applicant schools are sharing new approaches in how they incorporate property and casualty concepts into their curriculum, research and industry engagement. Those innovations are at the center of our evaluation process,” said Anson Lo, a CAS Fellow who chairs the University Award Program.

“As schools continue to adapt and enhance their programs to prepare their students for actuarial careers, the property and casualty insurance industry will likewise be better positioned to meet the challenges of the future,” Lo added. “It was also impressive to see several diversity and inclusion initiatives that schools have developed within their actuarial programs. I applaud this year’s winners, as well as the many other strong applicants, for their continued efforts to promote property and casualty education.”

The MTSU actuarial science program, which is part of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, has tripled in growth to more than 120 students (85 undergraduates and 35 grad students) in the 2019-20 academic year from 40 in 2005-06 when Hong was hired as a full professor in the program.

MTSU has the only program in Tennessee that offers actuarial science coursework for both undergraduate and graduate programs.

The program, established in 1987, has five full-time tenure/tenure-track actuarial faculty members, five full-time tenure-track faculty members in statistics.