MathEd Forum

April 24, 2014

Theme:Risky Business

April 28, 2012 at 10 am- 2 pm
Fields Institute, 222 College Street, Toronto


10:00 am-12:00 noon

10:00 - 10:15am
Reports: Ontario Association for Mathematics Education (OAME),
Ontario Mathematics Coordinators Association (OMCA),
Ontario Colleges Mathematics Association (OCMA),
Canadian Mathematics Education Study Group (CMESG),
Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS), and other.

10:15 - 10:50 am
Desheng Dash Wu (University of Toronto): Preparing a mathematician for a financial practitioner position

This introductory talk will inform the audience about the range of possibilities that exist for mathematics graduates in the financial industry. Specifically, we will discuss issues around preparing mathematicians to work as financial practitioners in the banks. The risk management tools that are key for a financial risk practitioner will be introduced and related skills discussed.

Desheng Dash Wu is an Affiliate Professor and Managing Director, RiskLab, University of Toronto, and Associate Professor of OR and Finance, Reykjavik University. He is a visiting professor at the Fields Institute (2011-2012). His research interests focus on enterprise risk management, performance evaluation in financial industry, and credit risk. He is the editor of Springer book series titled "Computational Risk Management". He is the Senior Editor for Risk Management at J. of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment (the first journal in this area, impact factor 1.523) and an Associate Editor for Expert Systems (impact factor 1.231).

10:50 - 11:25 am
Nenad Radakovic (OISE, University of Toronto) :
Teaching risk literacy within the secondary school curriculum: Justifications and challenges

In this talk, Nenad will present the ways that risk literacy can be framed within mathematics education research and practice. He will then examine both external and internal reasons for teaching risk to high school students as well as the elements of risk literacy that are both suitable as well as necessary for students' understanding of risk. Finally, Nenad will present his research involving teaching risk literacy in two different classroom settings in Ontario.

Nenad Radakovic is a PhD Candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.

11:25 - 12:00 noon
Matheus R. Grasselli (McMaster University, Fields Institute):
The role of mathematics in the financial crisis of 2008-2012

From Warren Buffett declaring that financial derivatives are "weapons of mass destruction" to Paul Volcker saying that the day his grandson announced he was going to be a financial engineer was the saddest of his life, mathematical finance took a good beating in recent years. But was it all justified? What were all those quants doing anyway and what did it have to do with mathematics? More importantly, how did the mathematical community respond to the criticism? Dr. Grasselli will address these and other questions that might be relevant for the development of tools and strategies for financial literacy in the post crisis period.

Matheus Grasselli is an Associate Professor and Sharcnet Chair in Financial Mathematics at McMaster University, and Deputy Director of the Fields Institute. His research interests are in mathematical finance, utility theory, optimal investment, interest rate modeling, computational economics, information geometry, and quantum information. He was a Guest Editor for three special issues of the International Journal of Theoretical and Applied Finance and serves as Managing Editor of the newly created book series Springer Briefs in Mathematical Finance.


(Light refreshments provided)


Panel and general discussion: There is an opportunity to make mathematics continuously meaningful to all students by employing what we have learned about the money game, how it works, and how it affects and controls individuals/society every day. In this way we have an opportunity to provide the necessary and meaningful motivation that is sadly missing in the teaching and learning of mathematics.

The secondary curriculum used to have a grade 11 college course titled Mathematics of Personal Finance (MBF3C), in which students learned about simple and compound interest, ordinary simple annuities, costs of vehicle and home ownership, and exponential relations and solving simple exponential equations by equating powers having equal bases. In the 2007 curriculum redesign, this course was removed in favour of Foundations for College Mathematics (which is more relations-driven, but does include compound interest and costs of vehicle ownership). Annuities and home ownership were put into the grade 12 course of the same name (which is a 4th math credit, so is not mandatory). There is also an interdisciplinary course (IDC) about personal finance. There are many IDC courses and these courses are offered by few schools, usually because there is a teacher who is interested enough to build the program of study. The Personal Finance IDC course combines Business, Math, and Economics.

2:00 p.m. Adjournment