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Lab Instructor

Date: March 17, 2015
Reports to (Job Title): Lab Director, Systems Design Engineering
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): Teaching Assistants, Co-op Student (on occasion)
Department: Systems Design Enginering - Biomedical Engineering Program


Main Campus


USG 11/12
37.5 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

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

The undergraduate teaching laboratory is devoted to the three core Biomedical Engineering undergraduate lab courses in addition to the corresponding three lab courses in Systems Design Engineering.  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 the incumbent will be expected to work independently with minimal supervision.  Formal instruction includes presenting material during each lab session to highlight background and procedures, 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 Program.  Formal instruction can also include classroom lecturing in consultation with the program director, 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 as the need arises.  Additionally, the Lab Instructor is responsible for planning and procurement of supplies and equipment for the undergraduate lab which can include the preparation and presentation of WEEF (Waterloo Engineering Endowment Foundation) funding proposals.

As a biomedical/hardware/software 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 biomedical systems and equipment, 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 Biomedical and Systems Design Engineering curricula.  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.

The Biomedical Engineering Lab Instructor position is highly correlated in knowledge, duties and course offerings to the Systems Design Engineering Lab Instructor position and it is expected that both positions will work interchangeably to a certain extent.

Key Accountabilities:

1.  Provide instructional support and mentoring to students in all Biomedical Engineering laboratory courses:




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



3.  Management of the Biomedical engineering undergraduate teaching lab and workshop studio:



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



5Other duties, but not limited to:

Position Requirements


- Completion of a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Biomedical, Electrical, Computer, Mechatronics, Mechanical, or Systems Design Engineering including the successful completion of courses spanning “linear control systems”, “digital circuits”, and “analog circuits, instrumentation and measurement”, and having current knowledge in these areas
- The successful applicant will be a registered Professional Engineering in the Province of Ontario, or be eligible and licenced within two years of hire
- WHMIS training is necessary and a current First-Aid certificate would be an asset.


Must have fundamental knowledge of the core Biomedical Engineering lab course material including:
- Solid knowledge of linear control systems including electro-mechanical and biological system modelling, Laplace transforms, block diagram algebra, stability analysis, Bode and Nyquist plots, controller design techniques, state-space representations, sampling theorems, and other common linear system concepts
- Solid knowledge of first principle electric circuit analysis using KVL, KCL, Thevenin and Norton, RLC circuits, filters, op-amps, A/D and D/A converters, and measurement theory.
- Demonstrable knowledge of microcontrollers, digital circuits, gates, digital hardware, digital circuit simulation, digital circuit analysis
- Must have experience and competency using scientific and lab software applications such as LabVIEW, Matlab, circuit simulators, and CAD.
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office suite of programs.
- Must have practical experience with and sound knowledge of sensors, actuators, hardware design and fabrication, software design, embedded systems, analog and digital circuit design, mechanical systems, and mechanical system fabrication
- Must be able to work both with significant autonomy and as part of a team
- Must have excellent and demonstrable oral and written communication skills, including strong technical documentation and presentation/facilitation skills
- Must be experienced with, or have the demeanour and desire to interact with students in a professional manner to provide technical advice and instructional material
- Strong leadership and supervisory skills with the proven ability to mentor and develop staff.
- Excellent interpersonal, analytical, research, organizational, and creative problem solving skills
- Must have a strong sense of pedagogy and how it is applied to diverse and changing student group


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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 and 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 electro0mechanical apparatuses.  Consequently, safety procedures must be strictly enforced.  Incumbent will work within an open concept laboratory and work is subject to several interruptions.  Occasional after hours and weekend work will be required.