Timothy Chan

Timothy Chan

Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering

Professor Timothy Chan is the Associate Vice-President and Vice-Provost, Strategic Initiatives at the University of Toronto, a professor in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, the Canada Research Chair in Novel Optimization and Analytics in Health, and a Senior Fellow of Massey College. He is an affiliate of the Vector Institute, the University Health Network, and Unity Health Toronto. He has served as Director of the Centre for Analytics and AI Engineering, Director of the Centre for Healthcare Engineering, and Associate Director of the Data Sciences Institute.

Professor Chan’s teaching focuses on operations research, optimization, and analytics. He has taught in a variety of disciplines, including engineering, management, and medicine, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. His research focuses on the development of novel optimization methods and their application to solve complex decision-making problems in healthcare, medicine, sustainability, and sports. He places great emphasis on integrating his latest research and the research of others into his classroom teaching. Professor Chan has been conducting interdisciplinary research throughout his career and that interdisciplinarity naturally permeates his teaching. He enjoys developing innovative teaching methods such as games and case studies to teach technical concepts that are grounded in real-world applications. Equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility are at the heart of many of his teaching cases and lectures, where he seamlessly integrates those topics into problems that require technical solutions.

Professor Chan has developed several new courses in his department and led the creation of the MEng Emphasis in Analytics, the most popular graduate emphasis in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. He has written about his teaching innovations and course design in his field’s leading education journal. He is a devoted mentor, helping his students and teaching assistants to excel at university teaching. Fifteen of his former graduate students are now university professors. He is currently completing a textbook, “Introduction to Markov Decision Processes”, which is intended for use by undergraduate and graduate students. Several universities have already adopted early chapters of his book, which have been made freely available online, for use in their courses.

Professor Chan’s contributions to teaching and mentorship have been recognized with the Early Career Teaching Award from both the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering (2012) and the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering (2013), and the Faculty Teaching Award from his department (2019) and Faculty (2020). His novel teaching case studies have won first prize (2022) and second prize (2020) in the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) Case Competition. In 2023, he won the INFORMS Prize for the Teaching of OR/MS Practice, an international award for excellence in teaching and mentoring in operations research.

Professor Chan received his BSc in Applied Mathematics from the University of British Columbia and his PhD in Operations Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before coming to Toronto, he was an Associate in the Chicago office of McKinsey and Company, a global management consulting firm. During that time, he advised leading companies in a wide range of fields on issues of strategy, organization, technology, and operations.