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Thursday, May 03, 2018

Math department will not retain lecturers for financial actuarial courses | Campus - Daily Bruin

"Students and faculty in the financial actuarial mathematics major have expressed anger and confusion over the Department of Mathematics’ decision to not rehire any of the eight lecturers in the program" inform Allison Ong, Daily Bruin Reporter.
Photo: Daily Bruin

The department announced changes to the FAM program to students by email on March 12 and April 11. It said introducing new courses in fall 2018 would improve the financial math curriculum and emphasize the growing role of data science in the field. Some new classes, such as Topics in Financial Engineering, have revised their syllabuses to reflect the changes in the program.

As part of the overhaul, the department is also replacing all lecturers in the program with ladder faculty, which is faculty with tenure or on track to receive tenure, said UCLA spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez.

Loong Kong, assistant adjunct professor and program director, said he thinks the administration delivered conflicting and inaccurate reports of the changes, at times rescinding statements it made on the rehiring decision that were announced at previous meetings.

Kong said he first learned about the decision in a Jan. 23 meeting with William Duke, the chair of the mathematics department, and Don Blasius, undergraduate vice chair of the mathematics department. There, he was told that FAM lecturers would not be reappointed once they reached a 12-quarter teaching limit, and was later told that the lecturers’ union imposed the term limit on the department. Two lecturers would be immediately terminated before spring 2018, including one who had been scheduled to teach, he said.

Patty Boyle, chair of the Actuarial Advisory Council, which is composed of graduates and industry actuaries that advise the program, said she called the lecturers’ union, University Council-American Federation of Teachers, asking whether they were involved in the decision to not rehire the lecturers. A union spokesperson told her they were not, she said.

Vazquez said UCLA cannot comment on personnel matters, and that departments make re-hiring decisions annually based on collective bargaining provisions with the lecturers’ union. He added the department is searching for replacements with doctoral degrees in financial mathematics.

Students and faculty said they think actuarial-certified teachers can give students real-world insight into actuarial careers.
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Source: Daily Bruin