June 26, 2019
UCalgary alumnus supports teaching excellence and innovation
From the moment he stepped off the plane, Dr. Victor Song, PhD'14, knew Calgary was home. Although he has moved to Vancouver to teach in the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University, Song still argues with colleagues and friends alike that Calgary is the best city in Canada. After earning his bachelors in the Department of Economics, Song completed a joint doctorate in Finance and Economics. Song graduated as a distinguished doctoral graduate, and was recognized by both the Graduate Students’ Association and Department of Economics for teaching excellence.
Looking back, Song says it was during his graduate teaching experience that he decided he would give back to the Department of Economics. Song had the opportunity to teach a course one summer and his students gave him the highest teaching evaluations that a graduate student in the department had received. When this happened, the department wanted to recognize him but they were only able to give him a parchment for this achievement. It was then that Song decided he would establish an award for the graduate student with the highest teaching evaluation. In 2016, the first Victor Yang Song Graduate Scholarship in Teaching Excellence was awarded.
When asked what his advice is to graduate students teaching classes, Song says, “it is important to know your stuff and teach your strengths, but it is also essential to bring passion and patience to every class”. Song’s approach to teaching is to use real life examples that support the theory being taught. “I like to use historical examples”, says Song, “in recent year’s l have drawn on my heritage and used examples from Chinese history to explain current trade wars. I have met students again years later who still remember the stories I have told”.
Since graduating from the University of Calgary, Song continues to stay connected with both the Department of Economics and the Haskayne School of Business and visits campus any time he can. Song is an avid supporter of entrepreneurial endeavours, acting as both a start-up coach and angel investor - in Calgary and Vancouver. “I am passionate about helping students operationalize innovative research ideas,” says Song, “and I think the University of Calgary is making great progress in supporting innovation on campus”. Song is keen to help support further entrepreneurial development at the UCalgary campus and says he is open to serving as a lifetime mentor for UCalgary students. When asked about his long-term plans Song dreams of retiring in Calgary where everyday he can read a book in MacKimmie library block or grab a coffee in Education Block and watch the snow.
Look for Victor on the UCalgary Mentor Link this fall.