Dr Chi Mak retires

Date: 

Tuesday, 8th December 2020


We are saddened to announce that after many years of service, our dedicated and much-loved lecturer Dr Chi Mak is retiring.

Over the past 15 years, Chi has made vast and invaluable contributions to the School of Mathematics and Statistics and its learning and teaching endeavours. He has been an immensely popular lecturer who was highly respected by colleagues. 

Chi led many initiatives in first year mathematics as Director of First Year Computing, and Deputy Director of First Year Mathematics. Among his many laudable efforts, Chi drove the use of Maple TA quizzes in Mastery Learning and online exams, introduced innovative digital resources to enhance the learning experience, recruited and mentored junior teaching staff, and was heavily involved in timetabling and marking allocations.

Chi first joined the School as a PhD student two decades ago, under the supervision of Professor Jie Du. An exceptional student, his thesis was published in the Journal of Algebra. He moved on to a job as a high school teacher, but six months later - in what Professor Du describes as "a loss to high school maths teaching, but a gain for UNSW" - Chi took up a casual teaching role in the School of Mathematics and Statistics. 

Over the following years, Chi moved onto appointments as a Research Associate and Lecturer. He consistently received outstanding student feedback in teaching evaluations, which were among leading levels in the School.

"He has a deep understanding of and compassion for students", said Director of First Year, Associate Professor Jonathan Kress.

"Chi is an excellent teacher", said Head of Pure Mathematics, Associate Professor Daniel Chan. "I've had the fortunate opportunity to profit from this, when I pilfered his wonderful lecture slides for my own lecturing".

Chi is extremely well-liked by colleagues, who always appreciated his sunny disposition and warm smile. Also a great team player, he was known for his wise and practical advice, and he often stepped up to assist his co-workers without hesitation. 

"Chi worked tirelessly in the background, and I would often find that he had already completed a task I was only just beginning to think about", said Associate Professor Kress. 

Associate Professor Chan agrees. "I remember in particular, when Milan [Pahor] had to pull out of timetabling at late notice, we were all so relieved that Chi cheerfully took this role on", recalls A/Prof Chan. "We will all miss him". 

Professor Du, who recently co-authored a paper in which Chi's result played an important role, firmly believes that Chi's research will continue to have influence. "I really enjoyed working with him", said Professor Du.  

Chi's impact on the School will be remembered for many years to come. 

"The smooth running of our large courses owes a great deal to Chi", said Associate Professor Kress. 

During retirement, Chi plans to work on some home and gardening improvement projects, and to spend some time travelling throughout Australia. He is also looking forward to visiting relatives and sightseeing overseas, once international travel is back on the cards.

"I already miss our School in which all staff members are working in harmony and helping each other", Chi said. 

We will miss seeing Chi around the campus and the corridors of the Red Centre. 

We thank Chi for his exceptional contributions to the School of Mathematics and Statistics, and wish him an absolutely wonderful retirement.