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First-Year Chemistry Senior Laboratory Instructor


Department of Chemistry

Effective Date: August 2008

USG 09

35 hr/wk

Reports to: Undergraduate Labaoratory Coordinator

General Accountability

A Senior Laboratory Instructor is responsible for the day to day operation of a suite of laboratories.  General responsibilities and duties are found in Section 2 of this document, while specific responsibilities, which vary from one laboratory to another.

Nature and Scope

The major goal of a Senior Laboratory Instructor is the organization and management of laboratory sessions in a manner that encourages scientific inquiry and maximizes learning opportunities for students


To ensure that a laboratory course provides an atmosphere conducive to the above general goal, the following general duties and responsibilities are common to all Senior Laboratory Instructors. Specifically, Senior Laboratory Instructors are charged with


2.2.        the care and maintenance of the physical facilities, including permanent fixed equipment, scientific and teaching equipment, and apparatus, inventory control and the ordering of replacements when required;

2.3.        the routine day-to-day operation of the laboratories during all three academic terms, including supply of materials and chemicals, safety precautions and housekeeping; this may include the testing of solutions and preparations to ensure that they function correctly in the specific experiments for which they are intended; cooperation with the Chemical Preparations Technician, and with Chemistry Storeroom staff members may be necessary in achieving these goals;

2.4.        the assembling and testing of new experiments or modification of existing experiments; the physical verification of laboratory manual experiments as recommended by faculty members teaching associated lecture courses or who may have been assigned responsibility for the introduction and development of new experiments by the Undergraduate Laboratory Coordinator; the compilation of laboratory manuals required for each laboratory operation for which the Senior Laboratory Instructor is responsible.


Other general responsibilities are:

2.5.        to obtain from appropriate Chemistry Department faculty members an understanding of the intent and general nature of each laboratory course, to select sets of appropriate experiments for each term of operation of the laboratories, and to determine the method of arriving at an overall laboratory course (or course component) grade; appropriate records must be maintained;

2.6.        to allocate the assigned Teaching Assistants to specific sections of multi-section laboratory courses;

2.7.        to oversee the work of the Teaching Assistants, including such instruction as shall be necessary to ensure that the Teaching Assistants are effective in the performance of their duties, including the grading of student laboratory reports and the recording of grades for individual experiments.  Senior Laboratory Instructors are expected to set good examples in the performance of such duties;

2.8.        to set up appropriate marking schemes for the individual experiments, and to provide these schemes to the Teaching Assistants;

2.9.        to be responsible for the demonstration of the use of equipment and the experimental techniques employed in the laboratory courses for which the Senior Laboratory Instructor is responsible;

2.10.      to be responsible for the proper disposal of all chemicals and waste solvents associated with the operation of their assigned undergraduate laboratories;

2.11.      to be responsible for averaging the grades for each set of experiments done by each student and for the preparation and administration of any required laboratory examinations needed; course grades shall be submitted to the Registrar=s Office via the Undergraduate Laboratory Coordinator;

2.12.      to assist in the operation of laboratory components/courses other than those specifically assigned in this document when a fellow Senior Laboratory Instructor is ill or otherwise unable to be present for the operation of his/her laboratory.  It is expected that each Senior Laboratory Instructor will therefore become familiar with the operation of at least one laboratory component/course that has not been assigned specifically in this job description.  This familiarization process should be carried out during the term in which the contact hours are the lowest.

2.13.      other duties as assigned from time to time by the Department Chair and/or the Undergraduate Laboratory Coordinator .    

Statistical Data

Specific Accountabilities

The First Year Chemistry Senior Laboratory Instructor is in charge of the supervision and management of the first year chemistry laboratory courses CHEM 120L, CHEM 123L.


The First Year Chemistry Senior Laboratory Instructor works in conjunction with the instructors associated with the corresponding lecture courses, in particular with the First Year Coordinator, so that the laboratory experiments are in harmony with the material taught in the lecture courses, but otherwise will work independently from the course instructors (i.e., with little or no supervision). At times it may be necessary for the First Year Chemistry Senior Laboratory Instructor to act as a mentor to students who are having academic problems. The specific responsibilities of the First Year Chemistry Senior Laboratory Instructor fall into four main categories: Administration, Manuals and Experiments, Teaching Assistants, and Students.


Administration: includes


-       the creation and updating of computer files for the students= laboratory reports and final grades;

-       the setting and administration of laboratory examinations;

-       the submission of final laboratory grades, via the Undergraduate Laboratory Coordinator, to the Registrar=s Office;

-       assisting in the grading of examinations given in the first year courses, and with entering and/or processing the first year lecture course grades;

-       ordering equipment and chemicals for first year laboratory courses;


Manuals and Experiments: includes 

-       the updating and improvement of existing experiments;

-       the development of new experiments;

-       the updating of existing laboratory manuals and/or the writing of new laboratory manuals;


Teaching Assistants: includes 

-     the supervision of all Teaching Assistants assigned to the first year laboratory courses;

-       ensuring that Teaching Assistants understand both the procedures to be used in the laboratory and the proper use of any equipment over which they may be in charge;

-       ensuring that the Teaching Assistants understand all safety aspects connected with any of the chemicals employed in the laboratory experiments;

-       providing instruction to Teaching Assistants with regard to any concepts with which they may not be fully familiar;



Students: includes


The First Year Chemistry Senior Laboratory Instructor has a number of daily responsibilities that can be summarized as follows:


Working Conditions

Space, scheduling and other factors may necessitate that Senior Laboratory Instructors work special schedules including for example, work in the evenings.  Senior Laboratory Instructors are expected to accomplish their duties by arranging their hours of work to allow them to be present during scheduled laboratory hours.  In particular, Senior Laboratory Instructors are responsible for closing each laboratory session.