Skip to the content of the web site.

Laboratory Instructor/Software Specialist

Date: April, 2016
Reports to (Job Title): Lab Director, Teaching
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): Graduate Teaching Assistant(s)
Department: Electrical & Computer Engieering


Waterloo Campus


USG 8-12
37.5 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

The Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) undergraduate curriculum has two core programs and four interdisciplinary programs.  Reporting to the “Lab Director, Teaching” (Lab Director) and to the “theme area Laboratory Instructor/Coordinator” (Coordinator), the “Laboratory Instructor/Software Specialist” (Lab Instructor) enhances student success through a positive learning environment and teaches undergraduate (undergrad) laboratory (lab) portion of courses within the established scope and guidelines of the professional degree programme.


These positions are responsible for laboratory course delivery and other academic responsibilities, and the technical operation and maintenance of the ECE undergrad laboratory facilities in support of assigned labs.  The Lab Instructor collaborates with course instructor for lecture-lab synchronization and works in conjunction with faculty members on lab content, development and design of any new experiments to be introduced into the undergrad lab portion of the course.

Key Accountabilities:


Instruction of students and assessment of their academic performance:

  • Prepares and teaches assigned undergrad lab  portion of courses;
  • Collaborates with faculty course instructors for lecture-lab synchronization,
  • Monitors students’ lab progress by assessing reports and lab assignments in the technical and theoretical aspects of the subject matter;
  • Ensures academic integrity is maintained in the lab;
  • Marks student work‑term reports;
  • Assists students on an individual or group basis with lab and related assignments/problems;
  • Evaluates student technical presentations and symposium poster marking;
  • Supervises/consults/advises/marks student fourth‑year design projects;
  • Develops experiments and writes laboratory materials/manuals in conjunction with faculty;
  • Recommends and/or makes necessary changes in materials, techniques or procedures to optimize the value of the lab exercise;
  • Plans new labs, conducts and evaluates prototype labs;
  • Keeps lab content and resources current.


Supervises Teaching Assistants who oversee students performing the experiments and exercises:

  • Ensures the effective utilization and development of TAs who assist with undergrad lab from term-to-term on a changing basis;
  • Directs lab TAs through the academic term cycle: assigning duties, coordinating their lab activities, etc.;
  • Provides new teaching assistants with training in lab equipment procedures and/or theory, as well as, instruction on experiments and design exercises before each term’s lab sessions begin;
  • Participates in TA interviewing, ranking, and rating their performance;
  • Mentors new and sessional staff in area of expertise;
  • Trains other Lab Instructors in the use of specialized software as required.


Lab Maintenance:

  • Monitors and updates the lab equipment inventory;
  • Monitors performance to ensure adequate quality control and arranges maintenance of technical equipment/software;
  • Oversees teaching inventory, researches and recommends purchases;
  • Maintains the technical and safe operation of the assigned labs;
  • Recommends and implements approved upgrades and improvements to lab facilities and practices.


Other Duties:

  • Attend lab planning and review sessions;
  • Participate in class prof/student rep meetings;
  • Trains for other specializations as required by the department;
  • Assist with other duties or special projects which may be assigned by the Lab Director or Coordinator.

Position Requirements


Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Electrical or Computer Engineering, or equivalent combination of education and experience.  MASc degree or relevant industrial experience is an asset.



Broad knowledge of current computer software applications used in an undergrad computer or electrical engineering environment.


MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Intermediate Intermediate Proficient Databases: Intermediate (SharePoint/FileMakerPro/Oracle or other)
Other: Software

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Internally, the Lab Instructor communicates regularly with undergrad students, Lab Coordinators, faculty and sessional instructors teaching undergrad classes/labs, lab teaching assistants, Electronic Service Technician/Stores Keeper, technical and other staff within ECE.  The Lab Instructor works collaboratively with the other instructors on the team.

Externally, the Lab Instructor will have contacts relevant to accomplishing lab delivery objectives, as well as software suppliers.

Level of Responsibility:

The Lab Instructor is responsible for the administrative operations of undergrad teaching labs and works per the assigned lab instruction schedule, on his/her own initiative, with minimal daily supervision.  The Lab Instructor is responsible for lab exercises and other academic responsibilities within the program.  S/he supervises teaching assistants assigned to assist with the undergrad labs from term-to-term on a changing basis.  The Lab Instructor actions may have a direct impact on the success of the students.

Decision-Making Authority:

The Lab Instructor works independently in the operation of assigned labs.  The Lab Instructor makes independent decisions typical of those associated with an undergrad lab instructor e.g. assignments.  The Lab Instructor must identify solutions to lab exercises not working well.  Work is based on course objectives and performed in accordance within defined practices, procedures and policies.

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Moderate demands typical of a technical position operating within a teaching lab environment that may involve some lifting of equipment, rearranging of furniture, and standing for extended periods of time.  The Lab Instructor must be able to project his/her voice to communicate with students in a relatively noisy lab setting.

Working Environment:

Some laboratories may require working with hazardous voltage levels, electro-mechanical equipment, soldering, or other hazards.  In certain cases safety procedures must be strictly enforced.

Most time is spent in teaching labs or in the office, working with teaching assistants and undergrad students, or preparing equipment and materials for the labs.
Hours of work: 37.5 hours per week.  Lab space and scheduling restrictions may necessitate after hours work.  Work outside of normal hours may be occasionally being required to deal with emergencies, maintenance, upgrades, or scheduling issues.