Celebrating Excellence: Professor Vicki Zhang Awarded the Faculty of Arts and Science Outstanding Teaching Award

May 1, 2024 by Kal Romain

We’re thrilled to announce that Professor Vicki Zhang has been honoured with the Faculty of Arts and Science Outstanding Teaching Award. This recognition highlights Vicki’s exceptional commitment to enhancing student learning and employability through innovative and inclusive education methods.


Professor Zhang, the Undergraduate Associate Chair for Actuarial Science, has been instrumental in integrating real-world experiences into the curriculum with the introduction of the Actuarial Professional Experience (PE) Program. "After 1.5 years of planning and consultations with numerous stakeholders, we launched the actuarial professional experience program in Fall 2020," said Professor Zhang. The program includes a diverse array of activities—from industry networking events to professional skill workshops—ensuring that students not only learn but also apply their knowledge in practical settings, often leading to full-time employment.


Her teaching philosophy centers on making learning meaningful and engaging. "I am most motivated when I perceive a deep meaning in what I do," Professor Zhang explains. She has incorporated various active-learning strategies across courses, including case studies, classroom debates, and creative artmaking, to engage students more deeply with the material and encourage broad, critical thinking.


Reflecting on the recognition, Professor Zhang credits the collaborative environment at the University of Toronto, "I’m hugely fortunate to stand on the giants' shoulders... This recognition should really be attributed to the ‘whole village’," she remarks, acknowledging her colleagues' foundational work and the ongoing contributions from a network of industry partners and alumni.


Professor Zhang extends an invitation to alumni and industry professionals to engage with the program, whether by mentoring, participating in case competitions, guest lecturing, or hiring interns. Such involvement is invaluable in enriching the student experience and maintaining the high standards of the University of Toronto’s Actuarial Science program.