Professor Glenn Chapman begins a three-year terms as director of SFU's School of Engineering Science.

Glenn Chapman begins term as engineering science director

May 30, 2016

Professor Glenn Chapman is the new director of SFU’s School of Engineering Science.

With more than 25 years’ experience as an academic, educator and administrator at SFU, Chapman will lead the school’s strategic vision as it continues to develop interdisciplinary, cutting-edge degree programs and faculty research.

Chapman, an expert in lasers and microfabrication who was twice president of SFU’s Faculty Association, begins his new appointment at an exciting time for the School of Engineering Science.  

In the past year, several faculty members have received prestigious awards from the National Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC) including:

·      NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering: Lesley Shannon

·      NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplements: Faisal Beg, Jie Liang, Ash Parameswaran

·      NSERC Discovery Grants: Rodney Vaughan, Ivan Bajic and Bozena Kaminska

Kaminska was also elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows, and Parameswaran inducted as a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE).

In addition, the Innovation Boulevard medical imaging lab led by Ryan D'Arcy received $3.6 million in federal investment.

These accolades have cemented the school’s international reputation for research excellence in high-tech engineering solutions.

“I’m looking forward to building on what is already a strong foundation, enhancing the student experience and increasing research,” says Chapman.

Chapman aims to expand opportunities for hands-on learning, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation in the classroom, the research lab and beyond.

The co-op program, he says, is a shining example of imbuing students with practical skills, and building strong relationships with employers outside of the university setting.

“Our mandatory co-op is a program highlight for many students, opening doors to their future careers after graduation,” he says.

“It combines a deep foundation of technical skills with hands-on experience on campus, as well as industry and entrepreneurial experience beyond the classroom.”

Increasing diversity by drawing both genders and students from non-traditional backgrounds into technology-based academic fields is also a key priority for Chapman.

Currently, females account for 17.8 per cent of all engineering science undergraduate students at SFU (up from 13.2 per cent in 2010), and 22 per cent in the Canadian STEM industry as a whole.

“We have so much to be proud of, but there is always more to discover,” says Chapman. “Personally, it’s an honour to lead a school that – through excellence in education and research – attracts the finest engineering students from Canada and beyond.”

SFU engineering science offers one of the most specialized high-tech academic programs in Canada in five main program areas: electronics engineering, computer engineering, systems engineering, biomedical engineering and engineering physics.

Chapman succeeds professor Kamal Gupta, who held the post for three years and will continue with the school in teaching and research. 

Get to Know Glenn Chapman.


Born in Montreal and raised in Ontario, Chapman received a B.Sc. (’72) and masters (’75) in engineering physics from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and a PhD in physics (‘82) from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

Before joining SFU as an assistant professor in 1990, he cut his teeth in research at MIT’s Lincoln laboratory. One of ten federally funded labs in the United States, it boasts one of the most advanced microfabrication research facilities in the world.

A quote that made a big impact on Chapman as a young engineer: “Look around you; all you see before you is designed either by God or built by an engineer.” (Dean of engineering science, Queen’s University.)

He says engineering is not just a mindset; it’s an experience. “Great engineers reach their heights much later in life than in other fields. One of the reasons for this is that, although textbooks give wonderful theoretical background, the real day-to-day experience in a lab is not something that is written down.”  

He believes engineering is an unusual profession in the academic world. “As engineers you have a professional responsibility. People’s lives depend upon the things we build and design. It’s important to imbue this in our own practice and into our students to get them thinking that way.”