Physics and Astronomy Demonstrations Lab Manager

California, United States
Salary Not specified
Jan 13, 2021
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

The Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA seeks a full-time Demonstrations Lab Manager.

The primary purpose of this position is to ensure our instructors are provided with high quality lecture demonstrations that optimally support their instruction. Lecture demonstrations are a critical part of our instruction and are heavily used in most physics and astronomy undergraduate courses. This position involves frequent interaction with instructors, setup and delivery of demonstrations, being on call during class, removing demonstrations after class and properly storing the apparatus. Occasionally this position performs complicated and or sophisticated demonstrations in the classroom. Given the critical role demonstrations play in our instruction, it is imperative that the facility, including its website, be well maintained and consistently organized. Development of new demonstrations and making improvements to existing demonstrations. This position will supervise 3-4 student assistants per semester. This position reports to department chair and is part of a 5-member team of instructional staff.

Job Accountabilities:

  • Manage the operation, maintenance, allocation of physics and astronomy demonstrations/experiments for instructional purposes. Prepare demonstrations and provide technical expertise and guidance to faculty, in the design and execution of experiments. Maintains laboratory equipment and makes repairs as needed. Assist in planning and ordering demonstrations. Oversees operations which includes planning and scheduling, lab evaluation, and policy implementation.
  • Oversees the operation and maintenance of the Physics and Astronomy Lecture Support Lab and the Physics Senior Lab. Provides advice on laboratory setup or design, equipment acquisition, laboratory operation and monitoring, and maintenance. 
  • Researches and identifies trends and needs and establishes program directions accordingly. Modifies/updates existing demonstration or designs/creates new demonstration. Maintains analysis of experiment/equipment and allocates usage based on departmental request.
  • Purchase, negotiates prices, and orders equipment and supplies undergraduate physics and astronomy student labs. Maintain supplies and equipment to support physics instruction. Maintains vendor contacts and backup purchase documentation files for reference or reporting, as needed.
  • Acts as main coordinator and liaison for yearly educational outreach program targeting middle school students from various schools in Los Angeles County. Establishes and maintains an active network of professional in academia. Maintain effective communication with faculty by updates to website and quarterly online newsletter. Stays informed of developments in field. Attends meetings and participates in professional associations as appropriate

Education and Experience:

  • The minimum education is a B.S. in Physics or related field; the preferred education is M.S. in Physics or related field.
  • At least 1-2 years of experience working in a physics instructional lab/lecture demonstration environment or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience with Windows and Apple computers and typical Microsoft applications.
  • Proficient with common hand and machine tools.
  • Experience with technical electronics and basic household wiring.
  • Demonstrated ability to support a community of diverse perspectives and cultures in an inclusive environment.
  • Able to work well with a diverse population of faculty, staff and students
  • Strong consistent and accurate communications skills – written and verbal
  • Strong interpersonal skills.
  • Effective technical writing skills.
  • Able to diplomatically set limits and boundaries when appropriate.
  • High mechanical aptitude with a good sense for efficient design.
  • Very strong organizational and time management skills.
  • Very dependable and reliable.
  • Demonstrates good judgement in unexpected situations.