The University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering has long been a leader in shaping engineering education in Canada. To further advance our efforts, the Faculty created the Institute for Studies in Transdisciplinary Engineering Education & Practice (ISTEP). 

ISTEP brings together units from across U of T Engineering  — each with dedicated initiatives, programs, researchers and staff. Together, our research activities span a wide range of areas that contribute to U of T’s robust and diverse expertise in engineering education.   We collaborate widely — both within U of T and with partners beyond — to explore the nature of transdisciplinary competencies within engineering contexts,  understand modern engineering practice, and develop pedagogy and programming to better prepare engineering students to benefit society and enjoy career success in a rapidly changing global marketplace. 

Our core research activities fall into three major interrelated areas 

Through our research we are reimagining the domain of 21st century engineering and the identity of modern engineers. 

Engineering Education

We are evaluating the benefits of innovative instructional strategies and spaces to enable richer and deeper student learning.  For example, we are deploying active and technology-enhanced learning, designing assessment tools to provide more meaningful feedback, and using data analytics to better understand student experience.  Our research ranges from examining theories and paradigms in engineering education, to applied studies of instructional interventions to support course delivery and program development.

Transdisciplinary Competencies

We are exploring how engineering students develop as leaders, how they work effectively in teams -both in person and virtually- and how best to nurture their professional and scientific communication abilities. This area also includes research around access, equity, diversity and inclusivity, and is helping to shape the nature of competencies such as communication, leadership, teamwork, and entrepreneurship in engineering contexts.

Engineering Practice

We are exploring the methods, processes and tools used by modern engineers to address workplace challenges.  Moreover, we are striving to develop ways to integrate technical and professional skills to promote lifelong and lifewide learning and discover better ways to support students as they develop their professional identities.