Prof. Chirag Variawa is the Director, First Year Curriculum, and Assistant Professor, Teaching-stream, at the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, and his B.A.Sc. in Materials Science Engineering, both from the University of Toronto. His multidisciplinary teaching and research bring together Engineering Education and Industrial Engineering to identify and mitigate learning barriers for diverse student populations.
He is the founding member of the First-year Engineering Education Research (FYEER) group, whose goal is to support undergraduate and graduate student engineering education. Projects from FYEER include using sentiment analysis to understand large-scale student feedback, creating chatbots to support positive learning strategies, understanding the expectations and realities of first-year student workload, among others. Variawa coordinates and teaches large (1200+ student) first-year engineering courses, and also teaches a Ph.D. course on teaching and learning in engineering education. He facilitates several community-building events in the Faculty, and serves on committees that focus on first-year, curriculum, equity/diversity/inclusion, and co-coordinates TA training for the Faculty.
Variawa also serves as the inaugural Faculty-in-Residence at the Chestnut Student Residence, University of Toronto. He spends his time supporting students in this informal setting with events and initiatives which include Dinner with your Professors, Industry Nights, Community Pop-ups, and others. In his spare time, Variawa enjoys tinkering with electronics and mechanical things.