We are honored to take over the reigns of the Department of Risk Management & Insurance at Georgia State University at this critical juncture in the evolution of our department. The Department of Risk Management & Insurance is a world leader in risk management scholarship and education. With one of the largest research faculties and risk management and insurance doctoral programs in the world, we are dedicated to understanding, quantifying and developing strategies for managing risks faced by individuals, organizations and society. Some of the key professional recognitions that the department has received are as follows:
- Designated as a Center of Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries, the actuarial science discipline’s premier educational, research and professional organization;
- The U.S. News and World Report has most recently ranked our undergraduate program in risk management and insurance as the #3 program in the country; we are the highest ranked department across the university;
- Recently designated as a Global Center for Insurance Excellence by the International Insurance Society;
- Houses the Center for the Economic Analysis of Risk, a leading interdisciplinary think tank devoted to scholarship in the analysis of risk and its management at the individual, institutional and societal levels;
- Home of the Huebner Foundation; the leading foundation dedicated to the promotion of doctoral education in risk management.
We owe our success over the years to an outstanding student body, high-achieving graduates, innovative faculty who are leaders in their respective fields, and the generosity of our financial supporters and friends. Our achievements and professional recognitions underline our status as one of the leading departments not just in the Robinson College of Business, but also across Georgia State University.
Although we are justifiably proud of our accomplishments over the years, we want to be careful to eschew complacency. Technological innovation is rapidly altering the educational landscape, and the demands on academic programs to adequately prepare the next generation of graduates to thrive in the marketplace are expanding dramatically. Specifically, the premium on technical and quantitative skills has increased significantly. Fortunately, the foundation in scholarship and teaching that the Department has built over the years allows us to be ideally poised to exploit the opportunities available in the market.
We have already made significant innovations in our undergraduate curricula to cater to the diverse needs of our students by creating a qualitatively oriented “insurance” track that is focused on training students for sales, marketing and service jobs in the insurance industry, and a more quantitatively oriented “quantitative risk management” track that is focused on training students for rapidly growing jobs as analysts and modelers in the financial services industry. The creation and delineation of the two tracks underscores our longstanding commitment to the insurance industry by providing a steady stream of excellent students to lead the industry as well as to serve the broader financial services industry with a set of outstanding students with the industry knowhow and technical tools to take on the challenges ahead as the industry adapts to the technological revolution. We have also made advancements in our undergraduate program in actuarial science that was previously more narrowly focused on life insurance to encompass other lines of insurance for which there is increasing demand for well-trained actuaries.
We have embarked on making significant changes in our graduate programs to adapt to the changing marketplace. The past few years have seen rapid advancements in the financial services and insurance industries with the expansion and adoption of technologies that are broadly referred to as “Fintech” and “Insuretech”. Georgia State University is poised to become the hub of the “Fintech” initiative in the Southeast with the establishment of the Fintech Academy. Our department is ideally poised to be a central player in the Academy given the features of our scholarship and academic programs. We would like to make significant investments in new faculty with research and teaching interests in this area as well as new undergraduate and graduate course offerings that leverage the key role that we are going to play in the Fintech Academy.
The Department has identified three overarching goals that are designed to support the mission and vision of the University and the College.
Goal 1: Modify existing academic programs and/or develop new programs to empower students to seize opportunities created by the technological revolution.
Goal 2: Become the leading department in the Robinson College of Business in terms of external funding from agencies and corporations that support research and instruction.
Goal 3: Be the world’s leading interdisciplinary department devoted to scholarship and instruction in risk and its management at the individual, household, institutional and societal levels.
We feel confident that, with the continued support of our alumni and friends, as well as the dedication of our outstanding faculty and students, we will achieve our ambitious objectives.
Chair, Department of Risk Management & Insurance and Bruce A. Palmer Professor
John P. Thielman
Associate Chair, Department of Risk Management & Insurance