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Mathematics and Statistics


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Shaun Sun

Shaun Sun

Associate Professor (on sabbatical 2023-2024)

Mathematics and Statistics

Abbotsford campus, T103

Phone: 604-504-7441 ext. 4711

email Shaun


I joined UFV as Assistant Professor on tenure-track in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics in 2015. I received my Ph.D in Statistics from Simon Fraser University in 2014 and was awarded a MITACS Elevate Postdoctoral fellowship. I have been a statistical consultant for different industrial companies, hospitals and government agencies, and have many years of experience in analyzing real-world messy data.   


PhD in Statistics


Statistical Society of Canada

Teaching Philosophy

I know that many students, particularly in applied subjects, feel that Statistics is a frightening and difficult subject. I also realize that students learn best when they are interested and engaged in the classroom. In my classes at UFV, I adopt the "Team Based Learning" approach: students are divided into groups at the beginning of the term. Each lecture, I start by introducing new materials and then give relevant questions to the groups (all the groups get the same questions). Students are given some time to discuss the problems with their group members. Then a student from each group presents one or two questions. I make sure students take turns to represent their groups. I find this way (maybe the peer-pressure) encourages the students to participate.  Students have told me that they learn better from each other.

Teaching Interests

I am interested in using modern technology to improve teaching methods. I am developing an app for smart phones. This app can collect real time data from students to illustrate statistical tests, can allow students to perform simple statistical simulation such as roll a die or toss a coin many times and can act like an in-class polling system to receive students’ responses on in-class exercises.

The advantage of this app over a commercial app is (a) there is no charge and (b) you can tailor it to your class.  The students were very appreciative of this approach.

Research Interests

My areas of research interest include model assessments and goodness-of-fit, high dimensional discrete data analysis and directional data analysis. I enjoy doing research and believe that it adds credit to the department and the university.

Research Grants

Fund for Innovative Teaching


  1. Sun, Z., and Lockhart, R. A. (2019). “Bayesian Optimality for Beran’s class of tests for uniformity around a circle”. Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference, 198, 79-90.
  2. Contreras, A., Lockhart, R. A., Stephens, M. A. and Sun, Z. (2019) “The use of Bayesian priors in goodness-of-fit tests”. Canadian Journal of Statistics, 47 (3).
  3. Cormier, E. and Sun, Z. (2011). The determination of the relevant explanatory variables for the growth of lodge-pole pine using linear mixed models, Canadian Journal of Statistics, 39(2),185-189.
  4. Borugian, M. J., Spinelli, J. J., Sun, Z., Kolonel, L. N., Oakley-Girvan, I., Pollak, M. D., Whittemore, A. S., Wu, A. H., and Gallagher, R. P. (2008). Prostate cancer risk in relation to insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and IGF-binding protein-3: a prospective multiethnic study. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention; 17(1):252-4.
  5. Borugian, M. J., Spinelli, J. J., Sun, Z., Kolonel, L. N., Oakley-Girvan, I., Pollak,  M. D., Whittemore, A. S., Wu, A. H., and Gallagher, R. P.(2007). Pre-diagnostic C-peptide and risk of prostate cancer. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention;16(10):2164-65.

Community Engagement

At UFV, I volunteer about 2 to 3 hours a week to help students in the Math centre. I gave a talk at the UFV math student union seminar and regularly attend the other talks. I participated at a number of events that support students, such as "Long Night against Procrastination", "U-Join", and "High school Math Contest".

Outside the university, I volunteered as a judge for the student’s research competitions at the Statistics Society of Canada (SSC) annual meeting and I was an invited panelist at the SSC student conference in 2013.

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