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Instructor and Advisor

Date: January, 2015
Reports to (Job Title): Chair
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): Lab Teaching Assistant
Department: Biology


Waterloo Campus


USG 12
35 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

The Instructor and Advisor is responsible for the operation of assigned undergraduate laboratories within the Biology Department. This includes organizing and instructing laboratory-only courses, teaching lecture-only courses, preparing demonstrations, developing and writing laboratory experiments and manuals, designing examinations and quizzes and keeping the content and resources current. The Instructor and Advisor advises undergraduate students about pre-registration and provides guidance with respect to course and program requirements.

Key Accountabilities:


Administration of assigned laboratories, including but not limited to:

  • Independently organizes and runs laboratory-only courses;
  • Provides substantial input to faculty members regarding the content of laboratory and tutorial exercises;
  • Prepares laboratory/tutorial manuals and TA notes, organizes classes, oversees and engages when necessary in laboratory/tutorial instructions;
  • Develops new laboratory/tutorial exercises in existing and new Biology courses and upgrades laboratory/tutorial manuals;
  • Designs, organizes and directs laboratory/tutorial exams and quizzes, includes training and managing proctors;
  • Assists Faculty members to organize and direct midterm and final exams which includes training and managing proctors;
  • Provides functional direction to Lab Technicians with respect to lab set-up; provides feedback to the Administrative Officer for Lab Technicians’ Staff Appraisal forms;
  • Collaborates with Lab Technicians in the purchase, preparation and maintenance of proper materials specimens, solutions, equipment, etc. when new labs are generated or when existing labs are revised;
  • Co-ordinates laboratory/tutorial section schedules and corrects any schedule problems with the Biology Undergraduate Co-ordinator;
  • Oversees enrollment in each laboratory section, monitors course limits and signs course override forms;
  • Establishes, administers and enforces safety standards and regulations, including requirements from Animal Care Protocols (AUPPs), WHMIS and those additional safety processes required by Level 2 lab designation;
  • Prepares Animal Care Protocols and annual reports and renewals for any and all existing protocols.


Teaches up to two specific assigned lecture-only courses each year.

  • Plans and creates lectures;
  • Creates assignments, tests and exams;
  • Marks assignments, tests and exams; calculates and submits final grades.


Manages laboratory Teaching Assistants each term, including but not limited to:

  • Recruits, interviews, selects graduate and undergraduate Teaching Assistants, approx. 100-150 each term;
  • Conducts tutorials and demonstrations related to assigned laboratories;
  • Trains, manages and supervises the Teaching Assistants’ weekly activities, includes organizing and executing the Teaching Assistant Workshop twice yearly;
  • Mentors both graduate and undergraduate Teaching Assistants regarding teaching;
  • Co-ordinates feedback regarding potential problems in the laboratories and tutorials;
  • Evaluates Teaching Assistant performance at the end of each term.


Academic advising and career counselling:

  • Advises undergraduate students about pre-registration and provides academic counselling with respect to course and program requirements;
  • Provides career advising for upper level undergraduate students, includes writing 15-20 letters of recommendation each term for professional schools and/or scholarship applications;
  • Provides students in distress with the first step in emotional counselling; Interacts with and attends workshops organized by Counselling Services to obtain appropriate guidelines.


Outreach and other duties, including but not limited to:

  • Participates in Biology/Science undergraduate committees and undergraduate curriculum committees;
  • Mentors new or continuing Sessional Lecturers in areas of expertise and assists with UW resources;
  • Consults directly with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs regarding all academic integrity issues, including education and prevention of academic infractions;
  • Manages and supervises Co-op students;
  • Grades Co-op work term reports and serves as a second reader for Biology 499 Senior Honours Research Reports;
  • Involved in planning, organizing and executing outreach events such as the Biology Open House, which includes managing student volunteers;
  • Presents Biology program information during Frosh week.

Position Requirements


Completion of a PhD degree in Biology is preferred


Fundamental knowledge in one or more biology laboratory subject area(s); previous teaching experience is an asset. Some administrative experience in an academic environment is preferred. Organizational, technical analytical, interpersonal, and communication skills (oral and written) required. Aptitude for attention to detail and accuracy are essential. Proven capacity to handle high volume of requests and multi-task is required. Demonstrated understanding of Health and Safety requirements in a laboratory environment is required.

Requires a high level of technical knowledge



Laboratory equipment:
Advanced knowledge and ability to demonstrate the proper use of a variety of laboratory equipment in normal use in Biology labs, including but not limited to: microscopes, centrifuges, spectrophotometers, balances, heating/stirring blocks, pipettors and a range of physiology equipment (e.g. iWorx/LabScribe).


MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Advanced Advanced Advanced LEARN, HTML, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Reader/Writer, Outlook, Quest, SharePoint

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Internally communicates with students, Teaching Assistants, Lab Technicians, Faculty and Staff. Externally communicates with prospective students and outside suppliers for equipment and supplies

Level of Responsibility:

Recruits, trains, manages and supervises graduate and undergraduate Teaching Assistants (100-150 each term) and Co-op students. Provides functional direction to department Lab Technicians regarding lab set-up. Provides undergraduate students with academic advice, career advice and emotional counselling.

Decision-Making Authority:

Authorizes undergraduate course override forms. Independently responsible for organizing and running laboratory-only courses. Investigates and recommends purchases for laboratory equipment.

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Typical of an administrative position in an office environment; peak times can include multiple priorities and frequent interruptions. Work in areas with exposure to noxious chemicals and biological hazards.

Working Environment:

Travel:   none

Working hours: Requires some work outside of normal work hours

Physical risks: Requires exposure to noxious chemicals and/or biological hazards

Psychological risks: Involves dissecting preserved specimens and euthanizing live specimens. Involves exposure to emotionally distressed students