Keynote: Towards Desegregation: the Case of Chinese International Student Experience

Prof. Vicki Zhang (Department of Statistical Science, University of Toronto) will be presenting her work titled “Towards Desegregation: the Case of Chinese International Student Experience”

Location: A 228

All welcome


With the internationalization of Higher Education in Canada, universities have been striving to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for international students. However, sometimes their efforts fall short due to a lack of deep understanding of the international student body. This talk focuses on one particular international student group – students from mainland China – and aims to uncover some of the crucial reasons behind the widely reported self-segregation of Chinese students (Cheng & Erben, 2011). It sets to understand why many students from mainland China feel offended and turned off by cross-national communications with students from the host nation (Dewan, 2008). I employed various frameworks to understand the findings from a study I conducted in 2017, including host nation hospitality, social psychology and group identity, and the impact of colonial mentality and Chinese nationalism. The goal of the talk is to shed light on strategies educators may employ to help mitigate the self-segregation pattern among Chinese international students and encourage more inclusive learning environments and communities.


Professor Zhang joined Department of Statistical Sciences at University of Toronto in 2013. She has been a passionate course designer/redesigner and pedagogical researcher ever since. She created a fourth-year capstone course which explores the complex history of the life insurance product design and regulation in US and Canada. She has introduced project-based learning to her large-classroom courses that provide students with real-world context and applications to the course content. She developed a pedagogical approach of “narrative mathematics” to improve concept linkage and active-learning among students in large-classroom courses. She is the author of Uncalculated Risks (Canadian Scholars’ Press 2014).

Prior to joining UofT, Professor Zhang was a fully-credentialed actuary (i.e. Fellow of Society of Actuaries) with project experiences in North America, Asian and Europe. She was a consultant for United Nation’s microinsurance program in China and Mongolia in 2009. She is currently the Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies in Actuarial Science at UofT. She is a frequent presenter at pedagogical conferences around Canada


This event is part of Research Month 2019. Visit our website for a full list of events.