Educational Specialist I - Undergraduate Laboratory Assistant (43-week position)

Apply now Job no: 522819
Work type: Staff Full Time
Campus: UMass Amherst
Department: Chemistry
Pay Grade: 25
Categories: Laboratory & Research, Professional Staff Union (PSU), College of Natural Sciences

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.


Job Summary

The Education Specialist I/Undergraduate Laboratory Assistant supervises the department of Chemistry undergraduate laboratories during the academic year. Provides technical/preparative support and ensures compliance with laboratory safety standards.


Essential Functions

  • Supervises undergraduate laboratories: Directs and assists in carrying out established laboratory procedures and protocols for the Department of Chemistry laboratory sections. Reads and prepares for each weekly laboratory experiment. Prepares and presents a 10 - 15 minute pre-laboratory lecture at the beginning of the laboratory. Demonstrates new laboratory techniques and equipment. Informs students and stresses laboratory safety and proper chemical waste disposal rules. Monitors and interacts with students during the entire laboratory section. Circulates throughout the laboratory section and visually monitor student performances. Grades laboratory reports weekly. Trains and supervises graduate teaching assistants assigned to laboratory sections.
  • Provides technical/preparative support: Works with technical staff in the preparation, arrangement, and clean-up of student laboratory experiments, prepares and maintains reagents as prescribed by experiment, prepare materials, supplies, and instruments for use, ensure proper chemical waste disposal, clean bench tops and hoods, and transition between laboratory experiments. Maintains files and manuals describing the reagent preparation in sufficient detail to facilitate repeated preparation. Prepares, assembles, calibrates, operates, demonstrates, and maintains technical equipment and computers for instructional purposes. Records preparative notes to supplement the instrument manuals as deemed useful to facilitate future set-up and use. Maintains an inventory of chemicals, reagents, equipment, and hand-outs.
  • Ensures compliance with safety standards: Manages and maintains the organization and safety of laboratories, preparation areas, and instrument rooms. Works closely with University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Environmental Health and Safety to ensure that the facility standards are in accordance with regulations and applicable State and Federal standards.
  • Develops new laboratory experiments: develops new, complementary laboratory experiments at the undergraduate level. Troubleshoots the new laboratory experiments to ensure that they run properly. Independently produces or edits technical, procedural, and educational laboratory documentation.


Other Functions

  • Works collaboratively and effectively to promote teamwork, diversity, equality and inclusiveness. 
  • Works in partnership with colleagues within the CNS community and across the campus to support the Dean’s strategic priorities.
  • Performs other duties as assigned in support of the mission and goals of the Department of Chemistry and the College of Natural Sciences.
  • Understands responsibilities with respect to Title IX, Clery and other compliance requirements.
  • Understands responsibilities with respect to conflicts of interest and behaves in ways consistent both with law and with University policy.
  • Contributes toward creating a positive and respectful workplace defined by personal and professional competence, integrity, and collaboration.
  • Understands and contributes to implementation of departmental and institutional goals for achieving non-discrimination and creating a respectful, inclusive environment that is supportive of diversity.
  • Uses access to sensitive and/or not yet public university related information only in the performance of the responsibilities of position and exercises care to prevent unnecessary disclosure to others.


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Bachelor’s degree (preferably in Chemistry or a related field).
  • At least one (1) year of relevant lab work experience.
  • Functional knowledge of the fundamental principles of Organic Chemistry; experience with standard operating procedures in Chemistry.
  • Experience in sample preparation and in the calibration, maintenance and operation of advanced instrumentation used in chemical analyses, experience in training individuals in chemical protocols and procedures.
  • Experience in the use of standard computer software used in managing a laboratory environment, including word processors, spreadsheets, and web browsers.
  • Ability to collaborate with a range of faculty, staff, and students in the development of standard and custom protocols and procedures; strong communication skills; must interact well with faculty, staff, and students.
  • Must have ability and willingness to maintain the high standard of neatness and organization appropriate to laboratories that teach professional quality analysis and instrumental measurement; knowledge of safety regulations, practices, and procedures followed in a chemistry laboratory.
  • Ability to assess and act on work priorities.


Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Experience supervising undergraduate laboratory students.
  • Knowledge of the theory and practice of chemical analysis using optical and electromechanical instrumentation.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

  • Ability to pick up and safely move a 20L carboy of aqueous solution (45 lbs).


Work Schedule

  • Typically Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 5:00pm.
  • May require the occasional schedule outside of normal working hours, e.g. start work at 7:00 AM or stay as late as 8:00 PM, not to exceed 7.5 total hours in one day.
  • This is a 43-week appointment. The nine (9) non-responsible weeks are restricted to summer.


Salary Information

PSU 25

PSU Hiring Ranges


Special Instructions to Applicants

Along with the application, please submit a resume and a cover letter. References will be checked at the finalist stage. Please be prepared to provide contact information for three (3) professional references. Applications will be reviewed on a continuous basis until the position is filled. Early submissions are encouraged.

As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, CNS seeks an individual with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations. (


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, caste, creed, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, political belief or affiliation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related condition(s), veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, natural and protective hairstyle and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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The University of Massachusetts is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action, Title IX employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, sex, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age over 40, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, marital status, or other protected class.