"[Dr. Bingham] encourages students to seek out guidance from others and make their own decisions."

Former graduate student, Jervyn Ang

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2015 Award for Excellence in Supervision: Derek Bingham

February 10, 2015

After Dr. Derek Bingham received his PhD from SFU in 1999, he accepted a tenure track position at the University of Michigan. A few years later, he returned to SFU's Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science where he has helped the department continue build its reputation as one of the best statistics programs in Canada. 

On campus, Dr. Bingham provides an office space for his students to work together with help — and snacks — provided by him. Known as “Derek’s Lab,” this space allows students to collaborate and learn together. His students report that years later, his students remain close and are usually collaborating in some fashion. In fact, Derek's ability to support and inspire his students led them to enthusiastically nominate him for the Excellence in Supervision Award.

A hallmark of Dr. Bingham’s supervision style is allowing his students to learn and to work out problems and papers amongst themselves. By working together, Dr. Bingham’s students are able to produce work that is published in journals much earlier than is typical.

Jervyn Ang, one of his former students, says, “Dr. Bingham is humble enough to know he will not always be right and encourages students to seek out guidance from others and make their own decisions.”

Humble though he may be, Dr. Bingham has made enormous strides to put both himself and SFU Stats on the map. He has been a Canadian Research Chair for the past 10 years and he has also won both the NSERC Accelerator Supplement Award and the CRN-SSC Prize — enormously prestigious awards which are given out to only five recipients and to the most outstanding statistician less than 15 years removed from completing their PhD respectively.

Between working on groundbreaking research and collaborating with industry leaders, Dr. Bingham still makes his students a priority, emphasizing the importance of pooling together knowledge. 

For former student Crystal Linkletter, this idea was essential to her graduate career. She says, “The most important thing I learned from Derek is that one can be successful without putting others down and without invented competition.”