May 17, 2021Print | PDF
The Bank of Canada Governor’s Challenge is one of the the proudest achievements for the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University. The Department of Economics team has been in the competition since the beginning, winning twice, and making the finals every year.
But this year came with its own pandemic-related challenges. In response, the team’s coach, Wing Hong Chan, professor in the Lazaridis Economics department, adapted the program and worked closely with his team. As a result, this spring he received the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance’s (OUSA) 2021 Teaching Excellence Award.
One of the Economics students who nominated him, Robert Wilson (BA Econ ’21), had nothing but praise for Chan as an instructor and coach.
“Working on the Bank of Canada team with him was amazing!” Wilson says. “His dedication was unparalleled. We would have six hours every week where we would talk about our projects, work through problems, figure out solutions. But if something wasn't working, we could just send him an email and he would set up a call that night, if not the next morning.”
It was the dedication that went beyond normal office hours that impressed the students the most.
“Leading up to the presentation, we spent maybe 10 to 20 hours a week on this project, outside of class-scheduled hours, sometimes going as late as midnight, and it was just amazing that he was able to answer our questions whenever we needed – which is fantastic and I know it's a big sacrifice for him, but we all really appreciated all his hard work,” says Wilson. “So that was one of the main drivers that made me want to nominate him for this award.”
For Wilson, it wasn’t just about the Bank of Canada Challenge, but also how Chan worked with students in his fourth-year econometrics course, with the challenges of remote learning during the pandemic.
“One thing that he really did well was he did a live lecture on Monday, then for his other lecture he did a video recording. I love that, because hopping on Zoom all the time can be a little troublesome trying to keep up,” says Wilson. “Having that video up that you can watch at your leisure was really, really handy and I think a lot of students really appreciated the hybrid teaching method.”
“I was surprised and delighted to receive the award from the OUSA,” Chan said, indicating it was a great honour.
But he continued, in his typical understated manner: “I know I have much to learn, but I know I can accomplish a great deal with continued support and encouragement from my colleagues. For the Bank of Canada Governor’s challenge, the entire department is working together to help the students. Therefore, the department as a whole should get the award.”
According to Economics department Chair Logan McLeod, the award is well-earned.
“I am proud to have Wing Hong Chan as a colleague. Being nominated for the OUSA Teaching Excellence award by a student is in itself a testament to his dedication to our students,” McLeod says. “The Economics department is committed to the pursuit of excellence in teaching. Teaching students to apply economics to real-world problems and communicate the results is central to our program. The Bank of Canada Governor’s Challenge is just one experiential learning opportunity for our undergraduate students.”
For Wilson, Chan’s inspiring style and helpfulness have meant a bit more than just being a fantastic undergraduate professor. Due to encouragement from Professor Chan, who is also the department’s Graduate Program Director, Wilson will be attending the Lazaridis Master of Arts in Business Economics (MABE) program this fall.
“He was a pivotal reason as to why I want to go further in my education. He gave me some ideas about what you can learn and what you can do in economics, and some of the opportunities that you might not know as an undergrad,” says Wilson.
Congratulations to Dr. Wing Hong Chan who is an econometrician working at the intersection of financial economics and forecasting methods to investigate financial markets' efficiency. His research interests centre around modelling and forecasting volatility and economic risks. His articles have been published in Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, Journal of Futures Markets, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, and Resources and Energy Economics, among other journals.