MATH 4067 -- New Course

Fri Sep 23 15:02:19 2011

Approvals Received:
on 09-23-11
by Rina Ashkenazi
Approvals Pending: College/Dean  > Catalog > PeopleSoft Manual Entry
Effective Status: Active
Effective Term: 1123 - Spring 2012
Course: MATH 4067
UMNTC - Twin Cities
UMNTC - Twin Cities
Career: UGRD
College: TIOT - College of Science and Engineering
Department: 11133 - Mathematics, Sch of
Course Title Short: Actuarial Math in Practice
Course Title Long: Actuarial Mathematics in Practice
Max-Min Credits
for Course:
3.0 to 3.0 credit(s)
In this course students are exposed to real world actuarial problems that require integration of mathematical skills with knowledge from other disciplines such as economics, statistics and finance. Communication and interpersonal skills are enhanced by teamwork and presentations to the practitioner actuaries who co-instruct the course.
Print in Catalog?: Yes
CCE Catalog
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Grading Basis: A-F only
Topics Course: No
Honors Course: No
Delivery Mode(s): Classroom
Contact Hours:
3.0 hours per week
Years most
frequently offered:
Every academic year
Term(s) most
frequently offered:
Component 1: LEC (no final exam)
Progress Units:
Not allowed to bypass limits.
3.0 credit(s)
Financial Aid
Progress Units:
Not allowed to bypass limits.
3.0 credit(s)
Repetition of
Repetition not allowed.
for Catalog:
4065, ECON 1101, ECON 1102, ACCT 2050
No course equivalencies
(course-based or
MATH 4065
Editor Comments: <no text provided>
Proposal Changes: <no text provided>
History Information: <no text provided>
Sponsor Name:
Sponsor E-mail Address:
Student Learning Outcomes
Student Learning Outcomes: * Student in the course:

- Can identify, define, and solve problems

Please explain briefly how this outcome will be addressed in the course. Give brief examples of class work related to the outcome.

Throughout the course, students will be introduced to various actuarial projects, such as: 1) How does a possible coverage by a health insurance policy of newly FDA approved drugs (or new treatments / diagnostic tools) affect existing premiums and costs to the insurance company? Is coverage recommended and at what effect on policy's price? 2) What are the factors that most greatly influence the estimate of the reserve that is needed to be held for unpaid claims for car/home insurance line? The students need to define the quantities of interest that should be estimated, to identify the critical parameters that play a crucial role in the estimation process and to come up with a recommendation based on their research and analysis. Most problems are specifically posed in a not well defined manner to encourage students to deal with real-world problems that arise in the actuarial industry.

How will you assess the students' learning related to this outcome? Give brief examples of how class work related to the outcome will be evaluated.

Students will be assessed on a variety of factors: 1) Clear statement of the problem 2) Identification of the key parameters to be examined 3) Explanation of the rationale behind model assumptions - 4) Quality of research / analysis 5) Clarity of presentation (oral or written)

- Can locate and critically evaluate information

Please explain briefly how this outcome will be addressed in the course. Give brief examples of class work related to the outcome.

When introduced to a project, students will not be given all the information they need to solve the problem (as in real life) so they will need to look for the relevant information. Students will be directed to a variety of resources and familiarize themselves to the various types of available data types. All of the actuarial problems the students will be assigned will require usage of external sources of data, not all of it relevant to the specific problem of interest. Available data should be critically examined in order to make reasonable assumptions and develop an acceptable solution to the problems.

How will you assess the students' learning related to this outcome? Give brief examples of how class work related to the outcome will be evaluated.

Students will need to perform an extensive search for information/data and use it carefully in the context of the specific problem. They will be asked to give a convincing rationale for why/how they believe the data they found is valid, what are its limitations and what effect this data have on the overall solution of the problem.

- Can communicate effectively

Please explain briefly how this outcome will be addressed in the course. Give brief examples of class work related to the outcome.

In this course students work in small teams on four three-week projects that originate from various actuarial fields of practice. Throughout the course students are required to compose various types of written documents to record their working process as well as to consolidate and communicate their conclusions and recommendations. As a part of each project, students are required to submit one report prepared by the entire team and one individual report. In addition, throughout the course of each project, each team prepares a PowerPoint presentation in which their analysis and recommendations are summarized. An important component of communication is inter-personal communication that is addressed by having the students work in teams (that are set by the instructors). Students will work together with their teammates on each project and summarize their analysis and recommendation in the form of an oral presentation to be presented to the entire class and the "management" (i.e., the visiting actuaries who are leading the module)

How will you assess the students' learning related to this outcome? Give brief examples of how class work related to the outcome will be evaluated.

Both group and individual reports are assessed through feedback and through grade. A specific attention is paid to clarity. Presentations are assessed by the instructors through grade and feedback. Students in the audience are required to provide with feedback as well. Presentations are assessed by over all organization, clarity and timing. The quality of short Q&A session will be assessed as well. Communication within teams will be assessed by other teammates.

Liberal Education
this course fulfills:
Other requirement
this course fulfills:
Criteria for
Core Courses:
Describe how the course meets the specific bullet points for the proposed core requirement. Give concrete and detailed examples for the course syllabus, detailed outline, laboratory material, student projects, or other instructional materials or method.

Core courses must meet the following requirements:

  • They explicitly help students understand what liberal education is, how the content and the substance of this course enhance a liberal education, and what this means for them as students and as citizens.
  • They employ teaching and learning strategies that engage students with doing the work of the field, not just reading about it.
  • They include small group experiences (such as discussion sections or labs) and use writing as appropriate to the discipline to help students learn and reflect on their learning.
  • They do not (except in rare and clearly justified cases) have prerequisites beyond the University's entrance requirements.
  • They are offered on a regular schedule.
  • They are taught by regular faculty or under exceptional circumstances by instructors on continuing appointments. Departments proposing instructors other than regular faculty must provide documentation of how such instructors will be trained and supervised to ensure consistency and continuity in courses.

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Criteria for
Theme Courses:
Describe how the course meets the specific bullet points for the proposed theme requirement. Give concrete and detailed examples for the course syllabus, detailed outline, laboratory material, student projects, or other instructional materials or methods.

Theme courses have the common goal of cultivating in students a number of habits of mind:
  • thinking ethically about important challenges facing our society and world;
  • reflecting on the shared sense of responsibility required to build and maintain community;
  • connecting knowledge and practice;
  • fostering a stronger sense of our roles as historical agents.

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Writing Intensive
Propose this course
as Writing Intensive
Question 1 (see CWB Requirement 1): How do writing assignments and writing instruction further the learning objectives of this course and how is writing integrated into the course? Note that the syllabus must reflect the critical role that writing plays in the course.

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Question 2 (see CWB Requirement 2): What types of writing (e.g., research papers, problem sets, presentations, technical documents, lab reports, essays, journaling etc.) will be assigned? Explain how these assignments meet the requirement that writing be a significant part of the course work, including details about multi-authored assignments, if any. Include the required length for each writing assignment and demonstrate how the minimum word count (or its equivalent) for finished writing will be met.

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Question 3 (see CWB Requirement 3): How will students' final course grade depend on their writing performance? What percentage of the course grade will depend on the quality and level of the student's writing compared to the percentage of the grade that depends on the course content? Note that this information must also be on the syllabus.

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Question 4 (see CWB Requirement 4): Indicate which assignment(s) students will be required to revise and resubmit after feedback from the instructor. Indicate who will be providing the feedback. Include an example of the assignment instructions you are likely to use for this assignment or assignments.

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Question 5 (see CWB Requirement 5): What types of writing instruction will be experienced by students? How much class time will be devoted to explicit writing instruction and at what points in the semester? What types of writing support and resources will be provided to students?

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Question 6 (see CWB Requirement 6): If teaching assistants will participate in writing assessment and writing instruction, explain how will they be trained (e.g. in how to review, grade and respond to student writing) and how will they be supervised. If the course is taught in multiple sections with multiple faculty (e.g. a capstone directed studies course), explain how every faculty mentor will ensure that their students will receive a writing intensive experience.

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Course Syllabus
Course Syllabus: For new courses and courses in which changes in content and/or description and/or credits are proposed, please provide a syllabus that includes the following information: course goals and description; format;structure of the course (proposed number of instructor contact hours per week, student workload effort per week, etc.); topics to be covered; scope and nature of assigned readings (text, authors, frequency, amount per week); required course assignments; nature of any student projects; and how students will be evaluated. The University "Syllabi Policy" can be found here

The University policy on credits is found under Section 4A of "Standards for Semester Conversion" found here. Course syllabus information will be retained in this system until new syllabus information is entered with the next major course modification. This course syllabus information may not correspond to the course as offered in a particular semester.

(Please limit text to about 12 pages. Text copied and pasted from other sources will not retain formatting and special characters might not copy properly.)

MATH 4001:  Actuarial Mathematics in Practice
Spring 2012

Class time  & location:  Mon (1 academic hour),  Wed  (2 academic hours).

Instruction: Rina Ashkenazi ( / Laurie Derechin ( in collaboration with actuaries from local companies.

Website: Moodle website

Course Description and Goals: This course is designed to expose students to real world actuarial problems in a variety of actuarial segments, where they are required to integrate their mathematical skills with relevant knowledge from other disciplines such as economics, statistics and finance. The course's setting mimics business environment, where students learn a variety of problem solving techniques for uncertain scenarios, are presented with problems and are asked to make decisions or recommendations based on a series of assumptions. Students enhance their communication and interpersonal skills and develop teamwork and leadership by working in teams preset by the instructors. In addition, students will focus on presentation techniques and clear communication of ideas by giving a special attention to the quality of written reports and oral presentation of project solutions, rationale and methodology.

Course⿿s format:  
1     General overview / writing and presentation tools
2-4        Module 1        (Sponsor Company 1)
5-6        Module 2        (Sponsor Company 2)
7        mid-course discussion, feedback, writing and presentation
8-11        Module 3        (Sponsor Company 3)
12-14        Module 4        (Sponsor Company 4)
15        Course summary, feedback, evaluations       

⿢        Week 1 will be devoted to a general overview of the course, goals expectation from students, as well as a first tutorial to presentation. The teams will be set.
⿢        The general format of a three-week module:
Week 1: Overview of a specific actuarial segment   (such as Life Insurance, Health insurance, Property Casualty, etc.)  and a set up of the project by the visiting actuaries. Teams start working on projects - instructors and visiting actuaries are present in class for assistance/guidance, if needed.
Week 2: Team-work sessions with instructors and visiting actuaries.
Week 3: Teams work on presentations or reports / Four of the teams present to the instructors, instructing actuaries and students.
⿢        Week 7 will be devoted to enhancement of writing / presentation skills and sharpening analytical and computational modeling tools.
⿢        Week 15 will be devoted to a review of tools that have been used in class across the various projects, further discussions, feedback and evaluations.

Teams:  8 teams have been selected by the instructors. You will be on the same team for the entire semester.

Attendance: Attendance in all class meetings is mandatory and necessary to passing the class.  

Grading:  Grading is determined by the following weights:
⿢        Written reports - 4x10% = 40%
⿢        Presentation (team)  - 2x10% = 20%
⿢        Presentation (individual)  - 2x5%=10%
⿢        Report (team) - 2x5%=10%
⿢        In class participation - 10%
⿢        Peer evaluation  - 10%

Written reports: During each module students will write different documents that describe and report the working process of their team. Each student will be responsible for one document each module and will be graded individually (10% per document).

Presentation: You will be given the chance to present the results of one of your projects before the "project board" consisting of the primary instructors and the instructing actuaries from the module's sponsoring company. The non-presenting students from all other teams are expected to be a critical audience. Your team is expected to develop a PowerPoint presentation to be given on the last class of a specific module. Each team will present twice during the course. The presentation should be 15 minutes long, with additional 5-7 minutes Q & A session. The presentation is evaluated as a team project (15% per presentation), and in addition each presenting student will be evaluated individually (10% per presentation).

Report:  Each team that does not present during a module needs to submit a short report that summarizes the main course of final decision making / recommendation for the project, including the sources and reliability of data, working assumptions, model, analysis and results (5% per module that is not presented).

In-class participation: Each class will have opportunities for students to participate, either by active interaction within teams, or by participation in the plenary class sessions.

Peer evaluation:  Students will get feedback from their teammates through peer evaluation. This important feedback will give students an insight on how they operate as part of a team and how their actions are viewed by their peers.

Strategic Objectives & Consultation
Name of Department Chair
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Strategic Objectives -
Curricular Objectives:
How does adding this course improve the overall curricular objectives ofthe unit?

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Strategic Objectives - Core
Does the unit consider this course to be part of its core curriculum?

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Strategic Objectives -
Consultation with Other
In order to prevent course overlap and to inform other departments of new curriculum, circulate proposal to chairs in relevant units and follow-up with direct consultation. Please summarize response from units consulted and include correspondence. By consultation with other units, the information about a new course is more widely disseminated and can have a positive impact on enrollments. The consultation can be as simple as an email to the department chair informing them of the course and asking for any feedback from the faculty.

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