Institute for Studies in Transdisciplinary Engineering Education & Practice (ISTEP)


The Institute for Studies in Transdisciplinary Engineering Education & Practice (ISTEP) is the first institute of its kind in Canada, bringing together U of T Engineering's strengths in leadership, technical communication, business and entrepreneurship. ISTEP is a leader in pedagogical innovation and transdisciplinary engineering education.

ISTEP provides an academic home for the Engineering Communication Program (ECP), Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (Troost ILead), Collaborative Specialization in Engineering Education (EngEd), Certificate in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Small Business, Engineering Business Minor and some first-year instruction.

At the undergraduate level, ISTEP’s faculty deliver courses to support and enrich student learning which can culminate in minors and certificates in leadership, communication, entrepreneurship and business. These include the Engineering Business Minor, the Certificate in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Small Business, the Certificate in Communication and the Certificate in Engineering Leadership. ISTEP is also working to integrate more opportunities for students to learn transdisciplinary competencies throughout the core curriculum of all the undergraduate engineering programs.

At the graduate level, ISTEP’s faculty deliver the Collaborative Specialization in Engineering Education, the Prospective Professors in Training and OPTIONS programs along with courses in leadership and engineering education.


ISTEP Courses

ISTEP

TEP234H1 - Entrepreneurship and Small Business

TEP234H1 - Entrepreneurship and Small Business
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 51.2L/12.8T

Complementary Studies elective

Part 1 of the 2 Part Entrepreneurship Program

The age of enterprise has arrived. Strategic use of technology in all sorts of businesses makes the difference between success and failure for these firms. Wealth creation is a real option for many and the business atmosphere is ready for you! Increasingly, people are seeing the advantages of doing their own thing, in their own way, in their own time. Entrepreneurs can control their own lives, structure their own progress and be accountable for their own success - they can fail, but they cannot be fired! After all, engineers are the most capable people to be in the forefront of this drive to the business life of the 21st century.

This course is the first of a series of two dealing with entrepreneurship and management of a small company. It is intended the student would  take the follow-up course TEP432 as they progress toward their engineering degree. Therefore, it is advisable that the descriptions of both courses be studied, prior enrolling in this one.

This is a limited enrolment course. If the number of students electing to take the course exceeds the class size limit, selection of the final group will be made on the basis of the "Entrepreneur's Test". A certificate will be awarded upon the successful completion of both courses, attesting to the student having passed this Entrepreneurial Course Series at the University of Toronto.

The course is based on real life issues, not theoretical developments or untried options. Topics covered include: Who is an entrepreneur; Canadian business environment; Acquisitions; Different business types (retail, wholesale, manufacturing, and services); Franchising; Human resources, Leadership, Business Law; and many others. Several invited visitors  provide the student with the opportunity to meet real entrepreneurs. There will be several assignments and a session project. Please note, the 5 hours per week would be used for whatever is needed at the time. Tutorials will not normally happen as the calendar indicates them.

Exclusion: CHE488H1/CIV488H1/ECE488H1/MIE488H1/MSE488H1/APS281H1
Total AUs: 53.1 (Fall), 57.6 (Winter), 110.7 (Full Year)

TEP281H1 - Language and Meaning

TEP281H1 - Language and Meaning
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 28.2L/28.2T

Humanities and Social Science elective

As students study how language is used to make meaning in diverse contexts, they will hone their own skills in deploying written and oral professional engineering language. The course explores the nature of language across linguistic, discipline and cultural boundaries. Students apply the theoretical knowledge of language and language learning to their own written and oral language performances. In conjunction with this, theories of translation and bilingualism will be introduced to challenge assumptions about the universality of meanings. Weekly lecture and tutorial.

Exclusion: APS281H1
Total AUs: 35.4 (Fall), 38.4 (Winter), 73.8 (Full Year)

TEP320H1 - Representing Science on Stage

TEP320H1 - Representing Science on Stage
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 25.6L/25.6T

Humanities and Social Science elective

An examination of representations of science/scientists in theatre. Reading and/or viewing of works by contemporary playwrights and related materials on science and culture. Critical essays; in-class discussion and scene study.

Total AUs: 35.4 (Fall), 38.4 (Winter), 73.8 (Full Year)

TEP321H1 - Introduction to Science Communication

TEP321H1 - Introduction to Science Communication
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 25.6L/25.6T

Humanities and Social Science elective

Introduces students to the history, theory and practice of communicating science to the public. We first establish a theoretical foundation for understanding the complex relationship between science, scientists, and the public, closely examining techniques and strategies for communicating about science to non-technical readers with a variety of backgrounds and ideological perspectives. We apply these concepts to contemporary case studies in multiple media, focusing on (mis)representations of climate, environmental, and biomedical sciences, breakthroughs in engineering. In doing so, we explore how the shift from traditional news to new media – including videos, podcasts, and social media – has changed how science is communicated to the public, plus the implications of this shift for scientists and engineers.

Total AUs: 35.4 (Fall), 38.4 (Winter), 73.8 (Full Year)

TEP322H1 - Language and Power

TEP322H1 - Language and Power
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 25.6L/25.6T

Humanities and Social Science elective

This course explores Rhetoric historically to understand its development and practically to understand how ideas are constructed, disseminated, shared or imposed. The course explores worldview - the organizing structure by which we view the world - to position the student as rhetorically effective in multiple contexts. Students analyze political, cultural, and scientific discourse from great speeches to advertising to research papers. Students develop their rhetorical, communication, and persuasive abilities.

Total AUs: 35.4 (Fall), 38.4 (Winter), 73.8 (Full Year)

TEP323H1 - Writing Lab

TEP323H1 - Writing Lab
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 25.6L/25.6T

This course uses writing in various modes as an exploratory process.Students strengthen their communication skills by exploring different expressive voices, each with a different potential to uncover and communicate ideas. A synthesis of various voices strengthens each of them; hence, by exploring their poetic, story-telling, scientific and analytic voices, students becomes better analytic, scientific or creative writers.

Total AUs: 35.4 (Fall), 38.4 (Winter), 73.8 (Full Year)

TEP324H1 - Engineering and Social Justice

TEP324H1 - Engineering and Social Justice
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 25.6L/25.6T

The purpose of this course is to enable future engineers to initiate, facilitate and moderate discussion between stakeholders with differing and/or opposing values and ideologies.  The relationship between engineering and the concepts of social justice to develop the skills needed to take practical action in a complex world is explored. This course facilitates building  personal responses to ideas of justice, bias and marginalization. These ideas affect Engineers and Engineering in general, domestically and globally, in projects and in contexts, such as the workplace and academic environment. Readings will be drawn from current writers on Engineering and Social Justice. Students will rehearse action through theatre techniques, developed to enable communities to practice and critique action.

Total AUs: 35.4 (Fall), 38.4 (Winter), 73.8 (Full Year)

TEP325H1 - Engineering and Science in the Arts

TEP325H1 - Engineering and Science in the Arts
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 25.6L/25.6T

Humanities and Social Science elective

This course examines the connections between engineers, scientists, and artists. Taking examples from architecture, sculpture, painting, and the performing arts, this course will show how these artistic disciplines have grown through their interplay with engineering and science.

Total AUs: 35.4 (Fall), 38.4 (Winter), 73.8 (Full Year)

TEP326H1 - Special Topics in Creative Writing

TEP326H1 - Special Topics in Creative Writing
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 25.6L/25.6T

In this course, students will explore the creative writing process, with an emphasis on the giving and receiving of critical feedback. This exploration will reinforce the iterative principles of the engineering design process and will provide students with flexible and transferable tools for them to apply to future engineering work. They will examine up to two genres of creative writing (fiction, science fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, screenwriting, playwriting, etc.) in order to hone their own creative and critical thinking skills. Students will be introduced to relevant elements of craft, will analyze representative literary examples, will create original creative work both in generative weekly exercises and in longer at-home assignments, will give and receive feedback from their peers through structured in-class workshops, and will apply this feedback to their own writing.

Total AUs: 35.4 (Fall), 38.4 (Winter), 73.8 (Full Year)

TEP327H1 - Engineering and Law

TEP327H1 - Engineering and Law
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 38.4L

Upon graduating university and entering the workforce, engineering students have little idea about how frequently in their professional lives their interactions, decisions, and actions will touch on various areas of law. This course is designed to highlight the amount of overlap between these two pillars in today's society. Some examples include: acting as an expert witness, preparing a patent,  creating a contract for supplies and more. By the end of this course, students will have a working understanding of the intersection between Engineering and Law, and be able to navigate the legal complexities in their professional and business lives. 

Total AUs: 35.4 (Fall), 38.4 (Winter), 73.8 (Full Year)

TEP328H1 - Engineering Education

TEP328H1 - Engineering Education
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 25.6L/25.6T

Through both formal and informal mechanisms, engineers engage in the processes of teaching and learning across their careers. Drawing from the multidisciplinary field of Engineering Education, students will examine the various applications of educational theory to the engineering profession. Students will examine engineering education across five contexts: (1) undergraduate engineering education; (2) K-12 educational outreach and STEM education; (2) public education and stakeholder engagement; (4) professional education and training; and (5) Lifelong learning. Drawing from the learning sciences, educational philosophy and the sociology and history of education, students will deepen their understanding of their own learning processes, and engage in course activities that prepare them for teaching and learning in their future career as an engineer or engineering educator.

Total AUs: 35.4 (Fall), 38.4 (Winter), 73.8 (Full Year)

TEP343H1 - Engineering Leadership

TEP343H1 - Engineering Leadership
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 12.8L/25.6P

Complementary Studies elective

This course is a practical approach to being a more productive engineer, based on the premise that for technology to become a reality, it must be translated through people. A key is understanding engineers lead in ways that reflect their skills and mind set. The course begins with examining: 1) the meaning of leading (Why do something?); 2) the processes of leading (How do you do you create a vision and motivate others?); and 3) the tools of leading (What steps do you take to lead?). Learning frameworks and personal working styles inventories, provide practical tools to assist the student to understand human nature and the logic of learning, to become a competent leader of self, teams and organizations. The student prepares to become a competent leader by undertaking to learn (understand and integrate) key skills, character attributes and purposeful behaviours. The course presents strategies for development of high-performance teams. Special attention is given to a number of subjects: transformational change, organizational culture, high performance work systems, and self-leadership. The course material is delivered through lectures, readings, in-class discussion and a team project. The project is based on the team interviewing the CEO of an engineering-intensive company or senior leader in the community. Students will be required to submit written reflections on course content and their personal experience.

Total AUs: 23.6 (Fall), 25.6 (Winter), 49.2 (Full Year)

TEP432H1 - Entrepreneurship and Business Management

TEP432H1 - Entrepreneurship and Business Management
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 51.2L/12.8T

Complementary Studies elective

Part 2 of the 2 Part Entrepreneurship Program

This is part two of the Entrepreneurship course series. The student  taking this course would typically plan to pursue a career in small business started by themselves, or in a family enterprise. The skills acquired, however, are very useful in any business where a graduate might end up in their career, without the need to  be an entrepreneur. Our approach to teaching is based on real-life business experiences and many years of successful practice of "what we preach". The course contains very little theoretical work or academic approaches. It is designed to familiarize you with the kinds of opportunities (problems) likely to be encountered in an entrepreneurial career. If you really want this lifestyle and are prepared to work hard, we will provide you with the practical knowledge and technical skills required to pursue this kind of career. Topics covered in this course include: Marketing and Sales; Legal issues; Financing the business; Human Resources challenges, the Business Plan and many other issues. Note, the course material may be adjusted between the two courses as required. We recognize the value of communication skills in the classroom and in project reports. We require that you learn how to present yourself in a business-like manner. As and when appropriate, outside visitors from the business community will join in and contribute to the class discussions. The course deals with practical concepts, actual past and current events, and is presented from the point of view of someone who has "done it all". This means  what you hear is the “real stuff”. There will be several assignments and the preparation of a full Business Plan as the session project. Please note,  the 5 hours per week will  be used for whatever is needed at the time, so tutorials will not normally happen as the calendar indicates them.

Prerequisite: APS234H1 / TEP234H1
Exclusion: CHE488H1/CIV488H1/ECE488H1/MIE488H1/MSE488H1
Total AUs: 53.1 (Fall), 57.6 (Winter), 110.7 (Full Year)

TEP442H1 - Cognitive and Psychological Foundations of Effective Leadership

TEP442H1 - Cognitive and Psychological Foundations of Effective Leadership
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 38.4L

Complementary Studies elective

This course investigates the cognitive and psychological foundations of effective leadership. Students will explore current theories driving effective leadership practice, including: models of leadership, neurophysiological correlates of leadership, and psychodynamic approaches to leadership. Students will learn and apply skills, including: mental modeling, decision-making, teamwork and self-evaluation techniques. This course is aimed at helping Engineering students to gain practical skills, which will enhance their impact as leaders throughout their careers.

Total AUs: 35.4 (Fall), 38.4 (Winter), 73.8 (Full Year)

TEP444H1 - Positive Psychology for Engineers

TEP444H1 - Positive Psychology for Engineers
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 38.4L

Humanities and Social Science elective

Many disciplines have explored happiness - philosophy, anthropology, psychology, sociology, neurobiology, film, art and literature - to name a few. Why not engineering? During the first part of the course, we will play catch-up, examining the scholarly and creative ways that people have attempted to understand what makes for a happy life. Then we turn our attention to our own domain-expertise, applying engineering concepts like: "balance", "flow", "amplitude", "dynamic equilibrium", "momentum" and others, to explore the ways  your technical knowledge can contribute to a deep understanding of happiness. This course is designed to challenge you academically as we analyze texts from a variety of disciplines. It is also designed to challenge you personally, to explore happiness as it relates to yourself, your own personal development and your success and fulfillment as an engineer.

Total AUs: 35.4 (Fall), 38.4 (Winter), 73.8 (Full Year)

TEP445H1 - The Power of Story: Discovering Your Leadership Narrative

TEP445H1 - The Power of Story: Discovering Your Leadership Narrative
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 25.6L/12.8T

Humanities and Social Science elective

This course offers an introduction to relational, authentic and transformational leadership theory, by focusing on narrative and the power of storytelling. Students will practice storytelling techniques by: learning about the mechanics of stories; improve their public speaking by engaging in regular storytelling practice; explore their personal history by reflecting on their identities; and develop critical thinking skills regarding the stories (meta-narratives) that surround us; particularly as they relate to engineering problems/ethics. This is a highly experiential course with a focus on reading, discussion, practice and reflection.

Total AUs: 35.4 (Fall), 38.4 (Winter), 73.8 (Full Year)

TEP447H1 - The Art of Ethical & Equitable Decision Making in Engineering

TEP447H1 - The Art of Ethical & Equitable Decision Making in Engineering
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 38.4L

The primary objective of this course is to help engineering students navigate the ambiguous world of engineering ethics and equity using case studies drawn from the careers of Canadian engineers. This course tackles complex ethics and equity challenges by focusing on multiple levels of practice: from design work to organizational practice and governance. By applying a systems lens, students will learn to develop the knowledge and skills needed for short-term and long-term action strategies. In addition to being exposed to a range of ethical theories, the PEO code of ethics, and the legal context of engineering ethics, students enrolled in this course will engage in ethical decision-making on a weekly basis.

Total AUs: 35.4 (Fall), 38.4 (Winter), 73.8 (Full Year)

TEP448H1 - System Mapping

TEP448H1 - System Mapping
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 25.6L/25.6T

Engineers are taught to think in systems, but often these are limited in scope to the technical realm. Yet, many of today’s “wicked problems” are as much dictated by social and environmental considerations as by any technical considerations. System mapping is a system thinking tool  frequently used in fields such as public health and environmental policy to describe complex, multi-stakeholder problems. Students will apply system mapping techniques to describe complex problems with technical, social and environmental aspects. Students will explore fields outside of engineering  critical to these challenges, including: public policy, sociology, and law. Students will complete a team project to develop a system map of a complex problem. The emphasis will be on problem definition, not problem solution, though it is expected  maps will point to potential paths for solution.

Enrolment Limits: 36
Total AUs: 35.4 (Fall), 38.4 (Winter), 73.8 (Full Year)

TEP449H1 - Intercultural Communication and Leadership

TEP449H1 - Intercultural Communication and Leadership
Credit Value: 0.50
Hours: 25.6L/25.6T

A highly experiential but theoretically grounded exploration of intercultural communication developments and practices. The focus on intercultural communication will be applied to the practice of leadership in the many intercultural contexts students engage in as students and as junior engineers. Students will deepen their understanding of culture and leadership through developing a nuanced understanding of culture and cultural practices beyond national, linguistic and ethnic boundaries. Concepts of cultural sensitivity, cultural competence and cultural humility will be related to models of leadership (authentic, collaborative, transformational, and ethical) to enable students to increase their cultural sensitivity, and humility beyond the classroom, in both multi- and intercultural contexts.
Enrolment Limits: 40
Total AUs: 35.4 (Fall), 38.4 (Winter), 73.8 (Full Year)

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