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Lab Instructor

Date: August, 2012
Reports to (Job Title): Chair, Systems Design Engineering
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): Teaching Assistants, Co-op Student
Location: Main Campus

USG 11/12

37.5 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

The “Lab Instructor” is a key resource for the undergraduate students in Systems Design Engineering and provides guidance, instruction and technical assistance for those enrolled in all departmental lab, design-project and workshop courses. The Lab Instructor is responsible for the operation of the undergraduate teaching laboratory and acts as the primary manager and mentor to the laboratory Teaching Assistants.


Key Accountabilities:

The undergraduate teaching laboratory is devoted to the three core undergraduate courses.  These courses currently span the areas of digital systems; circuits, instrumentation and measurements; and control systems. The teaching component of this position takes place in both formal as well as informal settings and incumbent will be expected to work independently with minimal supervision. Formal instruction includes presenting an introduction at the start of each lab session to highlight background information, relevancy of the lab exercise to course material, and problems students may encounter. As such, the lab instructor must be highly competent in the material for the three lab courses offered by the Department. Formal instruction can also include classroom lecturing in consultation with the department chair and/or associate undergraduate chair.  Informal instruction includes addressing student questions during lab sessions, during scheduled office hours, and through impromptu student interactions.


The lab instructor is responsible for the setup and maintenance of equipment in the lab to ensure that all is functioning as per manufacturers'/design specifications. This responsibility also includes the design and fabrication of lab apparatuses. Additionally, the lab instructor is responsible for planning and procurement of supplies and equipment for the undergraduate lab, and this often is accomplished via preparation of a WEEF (Waterloo Engineering Endowment Foundation) funding proposal with a maximum frequency of once per term. 


As a hardware/software/mechanical design consultant, the lab instructor will help students in workshop and project courses to both conceptualize and realize their engineering design goals, and direct them to appropriate resources both inside and outside the University. Therefore, the lab instructor must have comprehensive theoretical and practical knowledge of electronic components, circuit design, embedded software and control, software design, sensors, actuators, user interfaces, mechanical components, systems and fabrication, and other common technical areas found in the Systems Design Engineering curriculum. The incumbent will have a broad and in-depth knowledge base from which to generate solutions to highly unstructured problems at both theoretical and practical levels and will need to apply a sound analytical and interpretive level of critical thinking to achieve this goal.


In addition to the design consultant role, the lab instructor also manages a small budget which is allocated to fund the acquisition of equipment and materials required by students for workshop projects.  In this capacity, the individual will review proposals submitted by students, make purchase decisions according to the merit of the submissions and department needs, and then track the outcome of the acquisitions.




Provide instructional support and mentoring to students in all Systems Design Engineering laboratory courses:


2.Management of the Systems Design Engineering lab course staff and teaching assistants:


3.Management of the Systems Design Engineering undergraduate teaching lab and workshop studio



4.Provide mentoring and technical support to students in Systems Design Engineering design-project and workshop courses:


5.Other duties, but not limited to:


Position Requirements





MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
word excel powerpoint other

Nature and Scope

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, this position 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 some supervision and provides guidance to others.

Decision-Making Authority:

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Requires exertion of physical or sensory effort resulting in moderate fatigue, strain or risk of injury. Lab supervision requires long periods of standing. Some lifting and transporting of heavy and/or awkward equipment will be required.

Working Environment:

Involves moderate physical or psychological risk resulting from unavoidable exposure to hazardous, disagreeable or uncomfortable environmental conditions. In certain cases, the “lab instructor”, 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.