Skip to the content of the web site.

Lab Director

Date: March 31, 2015
Reports to (Job Title): Department Chair - Systems Design Engineeirng
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): Lab Instructors, Design Instructor, IT Group, Teaching Assistants, Co-op student
Department: Systems Design Engineering


Main Campus


USG 14
35 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

The Laboratory Director is accountable to the Chair of Systems Design Engineering to provide senior operational and managerial support and service along with diverse academic and technical knowledge and know-how to the undergraduate and research labs within the Department of Systems Design Engineering.  In addition, the Lab Director also assumes this responsibility with regard to the core Biomedical Engineering Program laboratory courses.

One of the incumbent’s primary responsibilities is to manage the overall administration, operations, and technical framework of the systems Design and Biomedical Engineering laboratories.  The incumbent is also fully engages in the design, implementation, maintenance and upgrading of the Systems Design and Biomedical Engineering programs lab courses.  The Laboratory Director is responsible for ensuring that the lab courses’ instructional design, content and skill development synchronizes with their academic counterparts, as well as integrates with other required engineering courses.  To this end, the Lab Director is typically a member of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee in either Systems Design or Biomedical Engineering and must have detailed knowledge of all relevant courses.

The ‘Lab director’ is a senior subject matter expert, providing an advanced level of guidance, instruction and technical assistance to undergraduate students enrolled in all departmental lab courses, design-projects and workshop courses involving complex and abstract concepts.  Given the broad-based an in-depth technical expertise required to resolve ill-defined and highly unstructured problems that surface regularly, the incumbent must have extensive practical and theoretical knowledge acquired through multi-disciplinary engineering background including mechanical, biomedical, electrical, and software systems.  Additionally, the incumbent must possess a Professional Engineering designation which is necessary to satisfy new Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) requirements which specify that engineering design instruction can only count towards accreditation if it is performed by an instructor with a license from Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO).

The undergraduate teaching laboratory supports the credit-based laboratory component associated with the core undergraduate lab courses in Systems Design Engineering and in Biomedical Engineering as offered by the department.  The Lab Director provides leadership in long and short-term operational planning and this includes managing laboratory operating expenditures, sourcing capital expenditures, and recommending and managing major renovation projects.  The Lab Director has overall accountability for the design and fabrication of lab apparatuses and thus, is required to have detailed knowledge of hardware and software.  Additionally, the Lab Director is responsible for oversight of the planning and procurement of supplies and equipment for the undergraduate lab including the preparation of WEEF (Waterloo Engineering Endowment Foundation) funding proposals.

The Lab Director is expected to carry out instruction on an as-needed basis as well as have oversight of instruction that is performed by the Lab Instructors and teaching assistants (TAs).  The teaching component of this position takes place in both formal as well as informal settings.  Formal instruction can include filling in for one of the Lab Instructors on short notice, to present specialized material, or to develop and instruct on new material.  As such, the Lab Director must be highly competent in the theory taught in the core lab courses offered by Systems Design Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.  Informal instruction includes addressing student questions that are of a high level of complexity during lab sessions, scheduled office hours, and through impromptu student interactions.

The Lab Director also manages the Information Technology (IT) group within the department and must be able to provide guidance and oversight of: the computer systems within the department including departmental servers and PCs, advise and oversee computer purchases, ensure the student computer lab is properly maintained and that replacement purchases are judicious and timely, oversee software purchases and policies, ensure departmental webpages are up-to-date, and ensure the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board database student planner is functional and up-to-date.

Key Accountabilities:

1.  Operational:




2.  Administration:




3.  Supervision:




4.  Consultative:




5.  Technical:

Position Requirements


Completion of a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Biomedical, Electrical, Computer, Mechatronics, Mechanical, or Systems Design Engineering.

- A multi-disciplinary education is necessary
- The incumbent will be a registered Professional Engineer in the Province of Ontario and be fully fluent in the applicable codes/regulations/practices and procedures commensurate with the designation
- Workplace hazardous materials information system (WHMIS) training is necessary and a current First-Aid certificate would be an asset


- The Lab Director must have a complex, broad-based and in-depth senior user skill level in engineering theory and practice in order to support the diverse multi-faceted environment required for this specialised type of laboratory setting.
- Knowledge of advanced administrative principles and practices, including goal setting, program development, implementation evaluation, project management, and supervision of staff is necessary.
- Incumbent is well versed in leadership principles and practices of employee supervision, including work planning, assignment, review/evaluation, and the training of staff in work procedures.  Successful history with mentoring and developing staff is necessary.
- Incumbent must have the proven ability to establish, maintain, and foster positive and harmonious working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.
- Critical to this position is demonstrated success in the development of improvements in operations, procedures, policies, or methodology.  A background in researching, analyzing, and evaluating new service delivery methods, procedures, and techniques is highly advantageous.
- Must have in-depth knowledge of the core Systems Design Engineering and Biomedical Engineering lab course material including multi-disciplinary system modelling, digital and analogue systems, and in-depth knowledge of analogue and digital control systems.
- Must have practical experience with and sound knowledge of sensors, actuators, hardware design and fabrication, software design, embedded systems, analogue and digital circuit design, mechanical systems, and mechanical system fabrication.
- Must have excellent and demonstrable oral and written communication skills, including strong technical documentation and presentation/facilitation skills.
- Must have experience and competency using scientific and lab software applications such as LabVIEW, Matlab, circuit simulators, and CAD.
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office suite of programs.
- Must be able to work both with significant autonomy and as part of a team.
- Must be experienced with, or have the demeanour and desire to interact with students in a professional manner to provide technical advice and instructional material.
- Excellent interpersonal, analytical, research, organizational, and creative problem solving skills.
- Must have a strong sense of pedagogy and how it is applied to diverse and changing student group.
- Must be committed to remaining up-to-date on recent and on-going developments in engineering and pedagogy.


MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Proficient Proficient Proficient LabVIEW, Matlab, circuit simulators, CAD

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Interpersonal Skills: Internally, frequent communication is required with staff, students, and faculty members in the department.  In addition, the incumbent will occasionally present information to students with regard to labs and workshop courses.  Externally, the incumbent will occasionally require contact with vendors/suppliers/manufacturers for the purposes of purchasing and maintaining equipment.

Level of Responsibility:

The job has specialized work with supervision of lab instructors, IT professionals, and design instructors.

Decision-Making Authority:

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Requires exertion of physical or sensory effort resulting in moderate fatigue, strain or risk of injury.

Working Environment:

Involves moderate physical or psychological risk resulting from unavoidable exposure to hazardous, disagreeable or uncomfortable environmental conditions.  In certain cases, the ‘Lab Director’, the teaching assistants, and the students may work with hazardous voltage levels and electro-mechanical apparatuses.  Consequently, safety procedures must be strictly enforced.  Incumbent will work within an open concept laboratory and work is subject to several interruptions.  Occasional after hours and weekend work will be required.