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Laboratory Instructor/Coordinator

Date: March 2016
Reports to (Job Title): Lab Director, Teaching
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): Lab Instructor/Hardware Specialists
Lab Instructor/Software Specialists
Department: Electrical & Computer Engineering


Waterloo Campus


USG 12
37.5 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

The undergraduate laboratories delivered by the Electrical and Computer Engineering department are divided into theme areas, each of which is overseen by a “Laboratory Instructor/Coordinator” (Coordinator).  The Coordinator provides laboratory support and instruction in their specialty area.  Coordinators are involved in a range of courses, modify lab material for advanced courses requiring major rework, or develop lab materials for new courses independently and creatively.  They mentor one or more less experienced lab instructors.


The Coordinator is responsible for supervising the activities of a group of Lab Instructors to support the “Lab Director, Teaching” (Lab Director) in the management process.  As a Lab Coordinator, s/he has administrative functions within the department including laboratory (lab) staff supervision and assignments, lab room allocation, short‑term and long-term planning, budgeting and special projects as assigned by the Lab Director.

Key Accountabilities:


Undergraduate Lab Instruction:

  • Responsible for the operation of assigned undergraduate laboratories, including scheduling experiments,
  • Conducts tutorials and demonstrations relating to the lab, and presents information to students with regard to labs and workshop courses;
  • Collaborates with the course instructor for lab-lecture synchronization,
  • Oversees student matters (late enrollments, attendance, special situations), setting and managing due dates, report handling, communication with the Teaching Assistants for student submissions,
  • Manages/monitors marks and ensuring that the course instructors receives timely and accurate lab marks;
  • Ensures academic integrity is maintained in the lab;
  • Manages laboratory Teaching Assistants through the academic term cycle: interviewing, ranking, assigning duties, training, coordinating their lab activities, and rating their performance;
  • Mentors new or sessional staff in area of expertise;
  • Trains other Laboratory Instructors in the use of specialized hardware or software;
  • Maintains the technical and safe operation of the assigned labs;
  • Develops experiments and writing lab manuals in conjunction with faculty;
  • Marks student work‑term reports;
  • Evaluates student technical presentations and symposium poster marking;
  • Supervises/consults/advises/marks student fourth‑year design projects;
  • Keeps course content and resources current.


Staff Coordination for Lab Teaching:

  • Plans staff lab assignments and balancing workloads;
  • Assesses needs for full-time and/or sessional Laboratory Instructors;
  • Participates on course committees and hiring committees;
  • Assigns and monitors the development and implementation of new curriculum and/or lab renewal;
  • Trains new Lab Instructors and provides feedback;
  • Monitors work hours, vacation, or other absences of technical staff;
  • Provides input to the performance evaluations of Lab Instructors;
  • Plans staff lab training and staff advancement;
  • Implements department and university policies and guidelines in collaboration with the Lab Director.


Lab Resource Coordination: 

  • Coordinates the use of resources (equipment, lab space, funding) in jointly-run programs;
  • Establishes priorities and evaluating requests for equipment purchasing based on long-term planning;
  • Lab budgeting and reporting;
  • Establishes and monitors lab equipment renewal cycles;
  • Prepares proposals at the department level to obtain funding;
  • Monitors and manages ownership of lab resources between programs;
  • Plans and maintains optimal room usage;
  • Keeps labs current with emerging technology, developing physical lab layouts, developing equipment and software specifications, being responsible for the completion of assigned projects (purchasing, installation, integration and testing);
  • Designs, creates and tests special lab apparatus or software;
  • Organizes information like the lab manual repository, web pages, procedures, etc.;
  • Organizes events, e.g. staff meetings, open-house, etc.


Other Duties:

  • Resolves lab-related issues, which are not settled at the Lab Instructor and/or Course Instructor level;
  • Attends Class Prof/class representatives meetings;
  • Participates in special events for promoting the E&CE undergraduate programs;
  • Participates in ECE committees and special projects like curriculum development;
  • Acts as technical consultants for various university projects and committees as required;
  • Substitutes for the Lab Director when he/she is absent;
  • Assists with other duties which may be assigned from time to time by the Senior Associate Chair or Lab Director.

Position Requirements


Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Electrical or Computer Engineering, or equivalent combination of education and experience.  Licensed Professional Engineer preferred.
Area of specialization should encompass one of the following three theme areas (a) communication systems, power systems, control systems and robotics, (b) digital hardware and software, or (c) electronic devices/circuits, radio frequency circuits and optics



MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Intermediate Intermediate Proficient

Databases: Intermediate (SharePoint/FileMakerPro/Oracle or other)
Outlook: Intermediate

Other: Software knowledge in relevant areas of specialization

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Internally, the Coordinator will communicate regularly with other Lab Coordinators, Senior Associate Chair, Associate Chair Undergraduate Studies, faculty and sessional instructors teaching undergraduate classes/labs, lab teaching assistants, and undergraduate students.  Additionally the Administrative Officer, Finance Administrator and Electronic Service Technician/Stores keeper within ECE, Chemistry Stores, etc.

The Coordinator must have a proven ability to establish, maintain, and foster positive and harmonious working relationships with colleagues.  S/he uses persuasion to elicit the cooperation of others.  The Coordinator must possess clear communication skills and patience in cross-cultural interactions with an international clientele.

Level of Responsibility:

This position is responsible for the administrative operations of the undergraduate teaching labs and provides guidance to Lab Instructors, Lab Teaching Assistants, etc.  The position has specialized work with minimal supervision and has direct reports reporting to it.  The Coordinator must identify solutions ranging from lab exercises not working well to improving administrative efficiencies within their area.

Decision-Making Authority:

The Coordinator works independently with a high level of initiative and flexibility.  The position requires regular independent action within defined policy parameters to provide informed advice and instruction to all stakeholders.  Given the broad-based and in-depth technical expertise required to resolve ill-defined and highly unstructured problems that surface regularly, the Coordinator must have practical and theoretical knowledge acquired through a multi-disciplinary engineering background.  The impact and scope of these duties requires the use of discretion and judgement.  The Coordinator must be able to make thoughtful, informed and rational decisions to resolve issues or problems that arise.  S/he is responsible for staff supervision and direction, including assessing work performance.
The Coordinator makes independent decisions typical of those associated with an undergraduate lab instructor e.g. assignments.  S/he makes decisions about the best way to document and communicate policies and procedures

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Moderate demands typical of a technical position operating within a teaching lab environment that may involve some lifting of equipment, rearranging of furniture, and standing for extended periods of time.  The Lab Instructor must be able to project his/her voice to communicate with students in a relatively noisy lab setting.

Working Environment:

Some laboratories may require working with hazardous voltage levels, electro-mechanical equipment, soldering, or other hazards.  In certain cases safety procedures must be strictly enforced.

Most time is spent in teaching labs or in the office, working with teaching assistants and undergrad students, or preparing equipment and materials for the labs.

Hours of work: 37.5 hours per week.  Lab space and scheduling restrictions may necessitate after hours work.  Work outside of normal hours may be occasionally being required to deal with emergencies, maintenance, upgrades, or scheduling issues.