Skip to the content of the web site.

Senior Laboratory Instructor/Manager

Date: November 24, 2015
Reports to (Job Title): Director of Technical Operations
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles):

Laboratory Instructors

Teaching Assistans

Co-op Students

Department: Chemical Engineering


Douglas Wright Engineering


USG 11
35 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

The Senior Laboratory Instructor/Manager is directly accountable to the Director of Technical Operations for the effective delivery of all undergraduate teaching laboratories in the Chemical Engineering program.  The position is dual-role, to both ensure that all laboratory facilities, equipment and resources meet the needs of the program and all experiments are appropriate and conducted safely, as well as providing laboratory instruction as well.

Key Accountabilities:


Ensures the effective utilization, deployment, and development of people:

  • Supervises a team of two laboratory instructors and assigns their duties in the context of the undergraduate laboratory program
  • Conducts hiring, performance evaluations, and disciplining of staff
  • Supervises teaching assistants who work in the undergraduate laboratories
  • Conducts demonstrations when the teaching assistants are unavailable.
  • Supervises co-op students hired by the department to assist with undergraduate laboratories


Administers the undergraduate laboratories:

  • Maintains existing laboratory experiments and the apparatus associated with them
  • Advises the department on laboratory scheduling
  • Provides technical support for the purchase of new laboratory equipment and recommendations for replacement of laboratory equipment
  • Handles paperwork associated with the purchase and repair of laboratory equipment, supplies, and inventory
  • Writes and presents proposals to raise funds to upgrade and/or purchase equipment for existing and new experiments
  • Leads efforts to obtain funding from Waterloo Engineering Endowment Foundation and other bodies for new or improved laboratory experiments and activities
  • Maintains laboratory manual library by updating existing manuals and compiling new manuals
  • Supervises health and safety aspects of undergraduate laboratories


Teaches theoretical principles of experiments to undergraduate students:

  • Conducts class preparation and supervises experiments for assigned labs
  • Trains the teaching assistants who oversee students performing experiments
  • Provides technical support in the teaching process
  • Marks laboratory reports, especially unit operations project lab reports
  • Consults with student groups to provide guidance regarding project experiments
  • Presides over fourth-year lab presentations and conducts a computer-based lab test for second- and third-year lab courses
  • Where abilities, interests, and opportunities exist, delivers undergraduate lecture courses and/or tutorials in the chemical engineering program


Develops and constructs new chemical engineering undergraduate experiments, including experimental methods, instrumentation, and laboratory practice

  • May consult with other teaching staff to ensure that all experiments work when classes meet
  • Collaborates with faculty members to modify experiments to ensure seamless connection between lab exercises and lecture courses
  • Makes improvements to existing experiments and exercises so that they are more suitable for achieving educational goals in the context of a chemical engineering education
  • Provides up-to-date written handouts about each experiment, with specific emphasis on safety, equipment preparation, problems encountered during the experiment, and data analysis 
  • Prepares chemical solutions and other materials required in the laboratories
  • Assists in demonstration of experiments to undergraduate students
  • Upgrades, modifies, and modernizes experiments in consultation with faculty members
  • Initiates the development of new experiments or improved exercises on a continuous basis
  • Consults with faculty members in the development of new experiments


Takes full academic responsibility for assigned courses and lab exercises

  • Develops course syllabi, including the grading scheme, using web-based course material delivery where appropriate
  • Assigns lab groups and schedules for the experiments
  • Gives instruction to students regarding course expectations and requirements
  • Assists with grading, assessing, and submitting final course grades
  • Responds to inquiries and appeals regarding grades
  • Potential responsibilities include any undergraduate course involving experimental and/or computational laboratory exercises. Subject to changes in the curriculum, these are represented by the following courses: Ch.E. 101, Ch.E. 121, Ch.E. 290, Ch.E. 291, Ch.E. 390, Ch.E. 391, Ch.E. 490, Ch.E. 524


Maintains and develops professional training

  • Performs library searches, reading, and professional training to remain current with developments in chemical engineering and education 
  • Participates in Chemical Engineering Education conference activities, when opportunities arise, to assimilate best practices
  • Where feasible by virtue of education and experience, pursues and maintains professional engineering licensure in Ontario

Position Requirements


MASc or PhD in Chemical Engineering or equivalent education and experience. Professional engineer (P.Eng) status or eligibility is a requirement


The position requires familiarity with all core areas of chemical engineering, including experience in the design, operation, and control of pilot scale experiments; process control; and the LabVIEW data acquisition software. Competency in computational and simulation software, such as MATLAB and Aspen Plus chemical process optimization software. Excellent written and oral communications. Four years of experience in teaching undergrad students or equivalent industrial training is preferred. Excellent organizational, time management, interpersonal, and analytical skills. Demonstrated experience in lab course development and instruction. Experience with chemical engineering equipment and supplies. Familiarity with chemical engineering test and measurement instrumentation and/or software


MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Intermediate Intermediate Intermediate Software knowledge in relevant areas of specialization

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Internally – ability to communicate clearly and effectively with students, teaching assistants, and co-op students in laboratory settings, with course instructors in the area of specialization, and with the chemical engineering staff and faculty members. Externally – ability to communicate with contacts relevant to accomplishing the laboratory delivery objectives, as well as with equipment and/or software suppliers . 

Level of Responsibility:

Direct supervision of others.  The job has specialized work and direct reports reporting to it.  

Decision-Making Authority:

Responsible and accountable for the smooth operation of the laboratory and the assigned laboratory tasks that take place within it.

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Moderate demands, typical of a technical position operating within a teaching laboratory environment, that may involve some lifting of equipment, rearranging of furniture, and standing for extended periods of time. Person must be able to project his/her voice to communicate with students in a laboratory setting. Requires exertion of physical or sensory effort resulting in slight fatigue, strain, or risk of injury.

Working Environment:

Undergrad laboratories and office are located in Engineering building DWE. There will be some unavoidable exposure to dangerous situations or to hazardous substances and environments.

Other: The Senior Laboratory Instructor/Manager works with little supervision. Courses in chemical engineering, including the laboratory courses, enroll up to approximately 75 students per lab course per term. Laboratory courses occur in each of the three terms per year. There are approximately 500 chemical engineering undergraduate students enrolled in the program.