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Analytical Chemistry Senior Laboratory Instructor

Department: Chemistry Effective Date: August 2005
Grade: USG 09 Reports to: Chair

General Accountability

A Senior Laboratory Instructor is responsible for the day to day operation of a suite of laboratories.  General responsibilites and duties are found in Section 2 of this document, while specific responsibilities, which vary from one laboratory to another

Nature and Scope

The major goal of a Senior Laboratory Instructor is the organization and management of laboratory sessions in a manner that encourages scientific inquiry and maximizes learning opportunities for students. 

To ensure that a laboratory course provides an atmosphere conducive to the above general goal, the following general duties and responsibilities are common to all Senior Laboratory Instructors.  Specifically, Senior Laboratory Instructors are charged with

 2.1.        the maintenance of safe laboratory environments, specifically, (i) by ensuring that both the Teaching Assistants and the students in the laboratory sections understand all safety aspects associated both with the chemicals that may be employed in the experiments and with the equipment in use in the laboratories, and (ii) by the posting of relevant safety notices in the laboratories; 

2.2.        the care and maintenance of the physical facilities, including permanent fixed equipment, scientific and teaching equipment, and apparatus, inventory control and the ordering of replacements when required;

 2.3.        the routine day-to-day operation of the laboratories during all three academic terms, including supply of materials and chemicals, safety precautions and housekeeping; this may include the testing of solutions and preparations to ensure that they function correctly in the specific experiments for which they are intended; cooperation with the Chemical Preparations Technician, and with chemistry storeroom staff members may be necessary in achieving these goals;

 2.4.        the assembling and testing of new experiments or modification of existing experiments; the physical verification of laboratory manual experiments as recommended by faculty members teaching associated lecture courses or who may have been assigned responsibility for the introduction and development of new experiments by the Department Chair; the compilation of laboratory manuals required for each laboratory operation for which the Senior Laboratory Instructor is responsible.

 Other general responsibilities are:

 2.5.        to obtain from appropriate Chemistry Department faculty members an understanding of the intent and general nature of each laboratory course, to select sets of appropriate experiments for each term of operation of the laboratories, and to determine the method of arriving at an overall laboratory course (or course component) grade; appropriate records must be maintained;

 2.6.        to allocate the assigned Teaching Assistants to specific sections of multi-section laboratory courses;

2.7.        to oversee the work of the Teaching Assistants, including such instruction as shall be necessary to ensure that the Teaching Assistants are effective in the performance of their duties, including the grading of student laboratory reports (see also Section 2.7) and the recording of grades for individual experiments.  Senior Laboratory Instructors are expected to set good examples in the performance of such duties;

 2.8.        to set up appropriate marking schemes for the individual experiments, and to provide these schemes to the Teaching Assistants;

 2.9.        to be responsible for the demonstration of the use of equipment and the experimental techniques employed in the laboratory courses for which the Senior Laboratory Instructor is responsible;

 2.10.      to be responsible for the proper disposal of all chemicals and waste solvents associated with the operation of their assigned undergraduate laboratories;

 2.11.      to be responsible for averaging the grades for each set of experiments done by each student and for the preparation and administration of any required laboratory examinations needed; course grades shall be submitted to the Registrar's Office via the Department Chair;

 2.12.      other duties as assigned from time to time by the Department Chair.

Statistical Data

Specific Accountabilities

TThe Analytical Senior Chemistry Laboratory Instructor is in charge of the supervision and management of the second year chemistry laboratory courses CHEM 220L, CHEM 224L, and CHEM 228L.


The Analytical Chemistry Senior Laboratory Instructor works in conjunction with the instructors associated with the corresponding lecture courses, so that the laboratory experiments are in harmony with the material taught in the lecture courses, but will otherwise work independently of the course instructors, except in the case that the Department Chair has assigned a particular faculty member the task either of introducing a number of new experiments into the laboratory course or of revising the entire course, as may happen from time to time.


The Analytical Chemistry Senior Laboratory Instructor is specifically responsible for the teaching of the concepts to be developed through carrying out laboratory experiments in analytical chemistry and, in particular, for the teaching of analytical chemistry laboratory techniques and procedures.


The Analytical Chemistry Senior Laboratory Instructor is responsible for continual updating and improvement of all experiments, the development of new experiments (normally in conjunction with a faculty member), and for the revision and or rewriting of the corresponding laboratory manuals.


The Analytical Chemistry Senior Laboratory Instructor directly supervises all graduate Teaching Assistants who have been assigned to the Analytical Chemistry laboratory courses and, in particular, has the responsibility for ensuring that all Teaching Assistants fully comprehend both the procedures to be used in and the concepts associated with the set of experiments for which they may have been made responsible.  In particular, the Analytical Chemistry Senior Laboratory Instructor must ensure that the graduate Teaching Assistants in the analytical undergraduate laboratories are able both to demonstrate the use of any instrumentation and equipment associated with the experiments to which they have been assigned and are knowledgable in the procedures to be employed in those experiments.


Administrative duties associated with this position include:

 •        the creation and updating of computer files for the students' laboratory reports and final grades;

•        the setting and administration of laboratory examinations;

 •        the submission of final laboratory grades, via the Department Chair, to the Registrar's Office;

•        any ordering of new equipment and chemicals for all analytical chemistry laboratory courses;

•        sending equipment to the appropriate vendors for repairs;

•        the setting up of marking schemes for the Teaching Assistants to follow.

The Analytical Chemistry Senior Laboratory Instructor also has a number of daily responsibilities that can be summarized as follows:

 •        setting up equipment and ensuring that it is functional;

•        setting out chemicals in appropriate containers and at appropriate locations in the laboratories;

•        maintaining the laboratory equipment, including the fixing of minor equipment problems where feasible;

 •        replacing chemicals that run out during the weekly experiments;

 •        ensuring that equipment and chemicals have been put away at the conclusion of each experiment;

•        ensuring that the laboratory is kept clean and maintaining a safe laboratory environment;

•        closing each laboratory section upon completion of the laboratory period.

Working Conditions

Space, scheduling and other factors may necessitate that Senior Laboratory Instructors work special schedules including, for example, work in the evenings.  Senior Laboratory Instructors are expected to accomplish their duties by arranging their hours of work to allow them to be present during scheduled laboratory hours.  In particular, Senior Laboratory Instructors are responsible for closing each laboratory session.