The Edmond Sun

August 19, 2013

Oklahoma Christian University creates actuarial science program


Special to The Sun

EDMOND — In response to student and employer interest, Oklahoma Christian University has launched an actuarial science program.

Associate Professor of Business Finance Jody Jones said the actuarial science industry is ranked as one of the best professions in the United States.

“Working as an actuary is consistently placed among the top four jobs in the Jobs Rated Almanac,” Jones said. “The profession offers high pay, high job security and low stress. With a number of recent OC math and finance graduates entering the field, we thought this was a great time to start a more specific program.”

Jones and Jennifer Bryan, associate professor of mathematics, developed the program in consultation with OC alumna Cindy Smethers, vice president and product actuarial director at American Fidelity Assurance in Oklahoma City.

“A few years ago, Cindy reached out to us looking for high-achieving interns,” Bryan said. “That experience has been great because her company has hired OC student interns every semester, which led to other companies recruiting our students. Those students have done excellent work and usually have a job waiting for them before they graduate. Our new program should allow for even more students to have that experience.”

According to Scott LaMascus, OC’s vice president for academic affairs, the new program combines advanced academic study with the development of practical skills that are in demand in the industry.

“This actuarial concentration allows students who have an aptitude for higher-level mathematics to pursue a career in an area that will only continue to grow as Baby Boomers retire,” LaMascus said. “Our professors have really responded to the requests of some of our most ambitious students by creating a demanding program that meets the needs of this growing field.”

Students interested in OC’s actuarial science program can major in either mathematics or finance, then choose the actuarial science concentration. Previously, Jones or Bryan created different plans for individual students.

Jones also feels OC’s focus on faith will make the university’s actuarial students attractive to employers.

“I often hear employers compliment OC on producing students who have a firm grasp on ethical behavior and a dedicated work ethic,” Jones said. “We look forward to impressing those values on our actuarial students as well.”