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Physical/Computational Chemistry Instructor

Department: Chemistry Effective Date: June 1, 2009

USG 11

35 hr/wk

Reports to: Undergraduate Laboratory Coordinator (laboratory courses);Associate Chair (lecture courses)

General Accountability

The Physical/Computational Chemistry Instructor is involved with three types of courses:


  1. The Physical/Computational Chemistry Instructor has sole responsibility for organizing and running laboratory-only courses;  
  2. The Physical/Computational Chemistry Instructor is responsible for lecturing one or more Chemistry lecture courses;
  3. For lectures that have courses directly associated with laboratories the Physical/Computational Chemistry Instructor is responsible for designing experiments that reflect the contents of the relevant course.

The Physical/Computational Chemistry Instructor is responsible for organizing and creating assignments, laboratory manuals, midterms and finals for the laboratory and lecture courses. The Organic Chemistry Instructor is responsible for the content of the assigned laboratory and lecture courses in consultation with the Associate Chair of the Chemistry Department and in accordance to the guidelines defined by the Chemistry Department. Due to the hazardous nature of chemistry laboratories the Organic Chemistry Instructor must be present during all laboratory periods and thus is responsible for the safety of the students and Teaching Assistants.

Nature and Scope

The courses for which the Physical/Computational Chemistry Instructor has responsibility for are assigned by the Associate Chair. The lecture to laboratory ratio is typically 1 or 2 lecture courses to 6 to 9 laboratory courses per year. The total teaching contact hours should not exceed 60% of a 35h work week, leaving a minimum of 40% for the administration and preparation of laboratories and lectures. The lecture to laboratory ratio and/or percentage of teaching contact hours can only be changed upon agreement of both the Associate Chair and the Physical/Computational Chemistry Instructor.   

Laboratory Component:

To ensure that a laboratory course provides an atmosphere conducive to an enjoyable learning experience by students, the following general duties and responsibilities are:


2.1      the maintenance of safe laboratory environments, specifically, (i) by ensuring that both the Teaching Assistants and the students in the laboratory sections understand all safety aspects associated both with the chemicals that may be employed in the experiments and with the equipment in use in the laboratories, and (ii) by the posting of relevant safety notices in the laboratories;


2.2         the training and supervision of Teaching Assistants (TAs), including such instruction as shall be necessary to ensure that the TAs are effective in the performance of their duties. TA duties include the supervision of undergraduate students, the grading of student laboratory reports and the recording of grades for individual experiments;


2.3         designing and organizing laboratory exams and quizzes and the set-up, supervision and grading of all laboratory examinations;


2.4         for signing students into laboratory/tutorial sections and keeping the sections appropriately filled;


2.5         creation, set-up, and management of web sites for all laboratory courses to which he/she is assigned, including all updating of information regarding TAs, quizzes, exams, tutorial content, and posting of grades;


2.6         preparation and update of laboratory manuals;


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


2.8       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;


2.9         assembling and testing of new experiments or modifications to existing experiments;


2.10       allocation of assigned Teaching Assistants to specific sections of multi-section laboratory courses;


2.11       setting up of appropriate marking schemes for individual experiments, and provision of these schemes to the Teaching Assistants;


2.12       demonstrations of the uses of equipment and experimental techniques employed in the laboratory courses for which the Physical/Computational Chemistry Instructor is responsible;


2.13       proper disposal of all chemicals and waste solvents associated with the operation of assigned undergraduate laboratories, in accordance with waste procedures for handling solid and liquid wastes specified by the Chemistry Environmental Safety Facility;


2.14       averaging of 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;


2.15       serving on the Undergraduate Chemistry Equipment Committee and others committees where appropriate;


2.16       other duties as assigned from time to time by the Associate Chair and/or the Undergraduate Laboratory Coordinator;     


Lecture Component:

The lecture component of this position entails independent preparation and delivery of lectures, the preparation and delivery, either in the classroom or online, of any tutorial materials required for the course, and the setting, administration, and grading of quizzes and/or examinations of the course material.  This task requires a level of technical knowledge typically associated with the individual holding a Ph.D. degree or minimally a M.Sc. degree with considerable practical experience.

3. Significant Relationships will be established with


3.1 Teaching Assistants


3.2 Undergraduate Students:


3.3 Faculty Members:


3.4 Technicians and ChemStores Personnel:


3.5 Chemistry Secretarial Staff:

Statistical Data

Range per term: 2 to 5 courses; 200 to 800 students; 7 to 30 TA 

Specific Accountabilities

The Physical/Computational Chemistry Instructor is solely responsible for the general nature of each laboratory course and lecture course in accordance with the guidelines defined by the Chemistry Department, 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 grade or lecture course grade. The Physical/Computational Chemistry Instructor is required to create a positive and enriched learning environment for all students, which will promote and cultivate an air of confidence and self-motivation.  The instructor is required to promote an environment of respect and consideration both inside and outside the laboratory and/or classroom. The Physical/Computational Chemistry Instructor’s responsibilities include:


Working Conditions

Due to the hazardous nature of chemistry laboratories the Physical/Computational Chemistry Instructor must be present during all laboratory periods. Space, scheduling and other factors may necessitate that Instructors work special schedules including for example, work in the evenings.  The Physical/ Computational Chemistry Instructor is expected to accomplish her/his duties by arranging hours of work to allow her/him to be present during scheduled laboratory hours.  In particular, Instructors are responsible for closing each laboratory session. This may mean that the Physical/Computational Chemistry Instructor will have to work more than 7 hours on a given day; should this be necessary the Physical/Computational Chemistry Instructor may reduce the hours worked on another day during the week or may recoup the overtime during a term with a lighter course load.