Kenneth Chau, PhD, PEng

(He, Him, His)

Associate Professor

Applied Science, Electrical, Engineering, School of Engineering
Other Titles: Associate Director – Faculty Development
Office: EME3213
Phone: 250.807.8646

Graduate student supervisor

Research Summary

Optics; sensors; wearables; immersive tech; tech entrepreneurship; higher ed change

Courses & Teaching

Capstone design, engineering electromagnetics, technology entrepreneurship, user-centred design


I’m an Associate Professor and Associate Director of Faculty Development at the School of Engineering. I explore ideas, build teams, and mentor people with the potential to progressively impact society. I’ve done some interesting work in optics (eg, built a microscope from a disk drive, measured the sound of light bouncing off a mirror, developed a real-time biophysical-based skin visualization tool). I’ve mentored and invested into entrepreneurs who have created three BC-based technology companies, including VO2 Master (Canadian manufacturer of a portable metabolic analzyer used by thousands of athletes, coaches, and researchers), Happipad (provider of technology-enabled home-sharing solutions that address the affordability crisis in Canada) and MantisXR (creator of immersive experiences on mobile devices serving the sports industry). These companies have in turn reinvested into UBC, creating a shared-fate model for university-community collaborations that transcends transactional models of engagement. Building on my unique experiences straddling the worlds of academia, business, and entrepreneurship, I’m exploring mental, behavioural, and organizational models to foster cultures of creativity, compassion, and joy within higher education and beyond. It’s fun, rewarding, and timely work, prototyping a compelling answer to a question that has bugged me for most of my adult life: what is the purpose of universities?

Connect with me to learn more and for opportunities to collaborate on great ideas.

Research Interests & Projects

  • Leading transformation in higher education by modelling it
  • Building teams to explore, implement, and commercialize ideas for a smarter and more sustainable future
  • Mentoring students, staff, faculty, entrepreneurs, and companies to realize the best versions of themselves


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