Department of Materials Science & Engineering
Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
Steven Thorpe is a Professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering (MSE) at the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. Professor Thorpe has shown tremendous leadership, serving in progressively more senior academic positions, and leveraging those roles to foster initiatives to support teaching and learning. He has served as Associate Chair, Undergraduate and Graduate, in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering and was appointed as Vice-Dean, Undergraduate in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. As one of the first cohort of professors to be appointed as a Teaching Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) Fellow in Engineering, he has embraced active learning in all his courses.
Professor Thorpe’s entrepreneurial ventures have inspired his approach to teaching design. In particular, they inspired him to design a course fashioned after the hit television show “Dragons’ Den”, wherein students pitch their designs to a team of “Dragons” drawn from CEOs, senior design engineers, and financial experts. The course has led to students starting their own companies. Although primarily targeted at engineering students of all disciplines, the course has attracted enrolment university-wide, from Architecture to Arts & Science. Students have also entered international design competitions through the National Hydrogen Association, winning three awards, most recently a world first place.
Professor Thorpe has championed equity and diversity through outreach and recruitment activities to high schools, by advocating for gender and diversity criteria during admissions, and as a supervisor in his own research group. Motivating, mentoring, and supporting students is central to his teaching. His teaching philosophy embodies a student-centric approach of engagement, caring, and promoting personal growth, combined with a goal of mastery, allowing students to excel beyond what they thought they were capable of.
Professor Thorpe is a triple alumnus of the University of Toronto, receiving a BASc in Materials Science in 1980, an MASc in Materials Science in 1982, and a PhD degree in Materials Science in 1985. Professor Thorpe then joined the Department of Materials Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a NATO Science Fellow from 1985 to 1987. He returned to the University of Toronto as an NSERC University Research Fellow and was promoted to Professor in 1998.