Dr Xiao Xu, School of Risk and Actuarial Studies, was awarded the 2023 John Prescott Award for Outstanding Teaching Innovation for the development of “IndustryCase Hub”, an innovative educational model that adopts a learner-centred pedagogy.

The hub is an industry-focused teaching and learning approach that integrates real-world case studies into the digital learning environment. The approach goes beyond traditional classroom learning, encouraging students to think critically, work collaboratively, and develop problem-solving skills that are essential in the professional world. Active collaboration with industry professionals, the Society of Actuaries accreditation body, and external organisations increases the Business School’s social engagement and broadens our network.

This innovation strengthens industry connectivity, career development, and employability, demonstrating its potential for broad implementation across diverse business programs. It integrates real-world case studies and guest lectures from industry professionals who provide direct feedback on case topics. This approach allows students to analyse real-world challenges and opportunities within a supportive yet competitive environment. It enables them to evaluate the industry's status quo by applying their learning in practical scenarios, thereby aligning them with industry expectations and preparing them for future roles. 

The successful implementation of this model has not only inspired but also actively fostered its adoption in other courses within the Business School. This is particularly evident in FINS3641 – Security Analysis that will embrace the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Sydney Research Challenge in 2023.

This innovation brings forth multiple advantages, including direct industry mentorship, enhanced student experiences, networking opportunities with professional bodies, and fortified academic-industry connectivity through realworld cases. As an example of this ongoing engagement, Lucy Peng, a partner at Deloitte, has committed to mentoring the student participants in our program. This not only amplifies student engagement but also promises potential school-wide advantages. In doing so, we aim to replicate similar transformative learning experiences across various disciplines, benefiting a broader student community.

The effectiveness and impact of this innovative teaching model have been validated through significant recognition and financial grants received from the SOA. In the MyExperience survey, 94% of students reported a positive learning experience with the project. Further feedback included commentary on how the experience has provided valuable insights into the actuarial field. Highlighting the impact, the 2022 winning student group and I were invited to deliver a virtual insights session for the Actuaries Institute. Our session was well-received by actuarial educators and students, provided an opportunity to share valuable insights with our peers.

This innovation has also been selected to be showcased at various educational conferences and events, both international and local, as well as at UNSW. These include the SOA actuarial education conferences held in Chicago and Bangkok, the Australian Higher Education Conference at the University of South Australia, and the UNSW Lunch & Learn session focused on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). Adding to the global recognition, our class GitHub repositories have been acknowledged as top-tier educational resources, widely sought by peer universities worldwide.

"Thank you for sharing the showcase webpage of your student teams, as it is a valuable educational resource for our statistical courses." - Zhixin Wu, Chair of the Mathematics, DePauw University, USA.

"I am proud to have participated in the Society of Actuaries Case Challenge, where my team and I made it to the semi-finals. The experience provided valuable insights into the actuarial field, and I look forward to participating in similar challenges in the future."  - James Wang, ACTL4001 student/Munich Re. 

The John Prescott Award for Outstanding Teaching Innovation is an award for teaching innovation that has fundamentally challenged orthodoxy in a discipline/program, and that delivers outstanding benefits to a course/program in alignment with Business School and UNSW education goals and priorities.  Funding for the award is generously donated by Mr. John Prescott AM, a passionate advocate for teaching innovation and the professional development of our staff.

The faculty congratulates Xiao from the School of Risk and Actuarial Studies at UNSW Business School on her achievement and success in this prestigious award in recognition of her innovative contributions to students’ learning.