Skip to the content of the web site.

Design Instructor

Date: June 2014
Reports to (Job Title): Lab Director – Systems Design Engineering
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): Teaching Assistants, Co-op student (on occasion)
Location: Systems Design Engineering
Main Campus
Grade: USG 12

Primary Purpose

The “Design Instructor” is a key resource for the undergraduate students in Systems Design Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. The incumbent provides instruction, guidance, and technical assistance for those enrolled in all departmental workshops, design-projects, lab courses, and courses with lab components. The incumbent assists students with their design projects, identifies and fosters design projects with high viability, and provides guidance on entrepreneurial development. In addition, the Design Instructor initiates, designs and offers workshops on best design practices relating to hardware, software, and fabrication, and takes an active role in the teaching and administration of the undergraduate laboratory  courses.   


The Design Instructor has four principal areas of responsibility and the incumbent must have strong and demonstrable expertise in all of these domains:

Key Accountabilities:


Provide instructional support and mentoring to students in Systems Design Engineering and Biomedical Engineering workshop and design courses:

  • Conceptualize and present a series of best-practice design workshops to students
  • Actively participate in mentoring students taking SYDE/BME design courses
  • Advise students on design project viability and how to realize their designs
  • Provide expert guidance on mechanical, electrical, and software systems in student design projects
  • Participate as a hardware and software technical consultant for students enrolled in Systems Design Engineering and Biomedical Engineering workshop and project courses distributed throughout the entire undergraduate program
  • Participate as a supervisor/advisor for student design projects as time permits
  • Resolve complex and non-routine problems in the SYDE/BME teaching lab and in student design projects
  • Ensure that safe practices are followed in the SYDE/BME workshop and special project lab
  • Demonstrate the proper use of workshop equipment and tools
  • Manage and track departmental funds used to supplement student design project costs
  • Stay current in their subject matter through professional development, through involvement in professional organizations, and attending professional meetings, conference or workshops.
  • Works with the Lab Director as appropriate with program evaluations

Provide design and entrepreneurial instruction for student design groups:

  • Setup and manage an in-house incubator to assist students with outstanding design projects
  • Develop and administer a by-invitation entrepreneurial course
  • Maintain a comprehensive understanding of all departmental student design projects, identity those with significant potential, and partner with internal and external resources with a view towards further development and possible commercialization
  • Conceptualize and run design competitions for departmental workshop groups
  • Conceptualize and run design workshops relating to designing for manufacturing
  • Advise students with intellectual property aspects of their projects
  • Liaison with the UW Commercialisation Office on behalf of students
  • Liaison with external organizations such as the Accelerator Centre, the Canadian Digital Media Network, Communitech, Governmental, and others, for funding and mentoring for design groups

Provide instructional support and mentoring to students in the Systems Design Engineering and Biomedical Engineering laboratory courses as assigned by the Lab Director:

  • Present theory and concepts to students pertaining to laboratory experiments
  • Demonstrate laboratory experiments in Systems Design and Biomedical Engineering lab courses
  • Present and develop information for students concerning laboratory safety
  • Take the lead in the design, development and fabrication of complex laboratory experiments and equipment
  • Prepare and modify laboratory manuals and procedures as needed
  • Apply pedagogical expertise to continuously improve lab course structure and content; this may include independent and significant modification or redesign of lab material in addition to development of innovative material for new courses
  • Collaborate with academic counterparts of lab courses to effectively synchronize the learning experience
  • Enrich the student experience of the lab component through the development of multi-media instructional aids
  • Participate in the structuring, design and running of new lab/design courses for both Systems Design Engineering and Biomedical Engineering

Management of the Systems Design and Biomedical Engineering workshop and lab space:

  • Prepare and maintain lab and workshop equipment
  • Participate in keeping the labs and experiments current with new technology and theory
  • Maintain the workshop design space in accordance with University health and safety standards
  • Propose and implement improvements to the functionality and use of workshop design space

Other duties, but not limited to:

  • Acts as primary back up for the Lab Instructor in periods of absence and peak activity
  • Participate in special projects (e.g. curriculum development, faculty-wide initiatives, special reports, etc.) as assigned by the Lab Director, Departmental Chair or Associate Undergraduate Chair
  • The incumbent will occasionally be required to serve on committees pertaining to lab and workshop outcomes, departmental staffing, student experience reviews, safety committees and others as the need arises

Position Requirements




MS 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. Additionally, incumbent will liaise with various stakeholders including UW Waterloo Commercialization Office, UW VeloCity, The Accelerator Centre, appropriate government offices, other academic institutions and industrial partners.

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. Evening and weekend work will occasionally be required.