Job Opportunities: Work Learn Applied Biology Program Support Assistant – Part Time

The Applied Biology (APBI) department of the Land and Food Systems Faculty at UBC is seeking a part time work earn Applied Biology Program Support Assistant. The assistant will work closely with the APBI Education and Research Support Technician to create interesting and informative science displays, design and develop educational outreach boxes to teach all levels of students (kindergarden to university), and develop standard operating protocols for equipment used in the APBI teaching lab.

Deadline: March 23, 2020

For more details and to apply click here and see below.

Job Description

The student will have several responsibilities throughout the work term that are grouped into two main categories:


The student will assist in updating and/or developing new informational signage used in various displays within the building.  These displays are related to various components of the Applied Animal Biology (AAB) and Sustainable Agriculture and Environment (SAGE) program areas within APBI.  The work learn student will have an opportunity to use their creativity to develop engaging displays with approved messaging.  The student may develop graphics, compile photos / videos, display relevant materials, or use other unique methods to create these engaging displays.

The student will also work with the APBI group to develop “outreach boxes” that can be used to by faculty, staff or students to engage with community groups about the APBI program areas.  Several of these boxes have been made to date and utilized by individuals presenting at schools, workshops and shows.  The student will have the opportunity to work with staff and faculty to identify the type of outreach boxes that would be useful, assemble the required contents, create supporting documentation such as lesson plans and instructions for use, and test the contents. Some topic areas to be explored are insect biodiversity, soil quality, and soil biology.


The APBI Teaching Lab supports the instruction of over 450 students annually through a variety of courses.  As part of their responsibilities in this role, the student will work with the APBI Technician responsible for this lab to draft standard operating procedures (SOPs) for commonly used equipment within the laboratory.  This includes reviewing equipment manuals in detail and summarizing the procedures that must be undertaken when equipment is in operation, including all safety procedures.  Once the documentation is finalized, the student will be responsible for uploading it to an electronic file system as well as making available in paper copy within the lab.

Similarly, the student will also work on a developing SOPs for commonly used lab procedures including; soil pH, soil texture through the hydrometer method and Fourier transformed infrared spectrometer, active carbon, polysaccharides and possibly more. Additional related duties may be undertaken, such as minor upkeep or maintenance on the equipment.

What is the level of supervision provided to the student?

The student will work directly with the APBI Teaching and Research Technician on a regular basis (typically daily) and the APBI Program Coordinator when required.  The student will be required to work independently at times.

What is the level of complexity of the tasks expected from the student?

The student’s responsibilities range from routine (i.e. inventory) to moderately complex (i.e. developing new content for display cases). The student will be expected to use creativity in taking an idea from the concept level to the development and implementation level.  The student will also be expected to read and understand technical manuals and be able to discern the most pertinent information to create SOPs.  These SOPs will be used by future lab users and must be technically accurate.

How does this role relate to the goals of the unit/program?

This position relates directly to the LFS 2016/20 Action Plan.  The communications component of this role will “increase understanding and awareness of the Faculty of Land and Food Systems” while the teaching support component of this role will “strengthen efforts to promote and support student success”.  The successful candidate will have a direct impact on: 1) improving communication with currently enrolled students through updates to display boards; 2) improving engagement with the community through the creation of outreach kits; and 3) improving student experience through updates to lab SOPs and inventories.

The ideal candidate will:
• Display a keen interest in the disciplines of the Applied Biology Program, such as animal science, soil science, plant science, agroecology and/or the environment.
• Be an excellent communicator, especially with respect to writing and graphics. Experience in copywriting is considered an asset. Creativity is encouraged.
• Be familiar with technical writing.
• Have knowledge of basic laboratory equipment and supplies.
• Experience with design software (Photoshop, Adobe) and video editing software would be considered an asset.
• Have a good understanding of safe laboratory practices. Students must understand the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and be willing to follow safety protocols.
• The student must be able to lift moderately heavy items (i.e. up to 40 lbs.).What is the education level required of the student (e.g. undergraduate, graduate, year level)?
The position is suitable for an undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in a relevant program.

What are the elements needed for a student to be a great fit for this position?
The student will be an excellent communicator who can transform an idea into engaging content. The student will have experience with technical writing and be able to translate complex content into easy to follow and understand SOPs. Other qualities required include attentive to details, highly organized, able to work in a dynamic environment, and able to work independently at times. The successful candidate will be willing to establish a regular work schedule with the supervisor and will be expected to work in the MacMillan building.

Faculty of Land & Food Systems
UBC Department
Applied Biology
Student Learning Components (UBC Vancouver Work Study/Work Learn program)
What kinds of orientation and training will the student receive?
The student will receive an orientation and training from their supervisor, other designated individuals and from online resources such as risk management. If not already completed, the student worker will complete mandatory online training through UBC’s RMS (i.e. New Worker Safety Orientation, Prevention of Workplace Bullying and Harassment, and Workplace Violence Prevention). In addition, the student worker will receive lab specific online training from RMS (i.e. Chemical Safety Training) as well as in-lab orientations by relevant faculty or staff if required. The student will have access to technology in the LFS Learning Centre and will receive training where required.What kinds of feedback and on-going support will the student receive? What kinds of encouragement and support for reflection will the student receive?
The student will work closely with a supervisor who will provide guidance and monitor project progress on an ongoing basis. They will meet regularly (typically daily) and will review project successes, challenges and other work issues that may arise. At these meetings, the student will also receive constructive feedback on their performance and will be able to provide feedback on their experiences. The use of Slack will be encouraged as a mechanism for ongoing communication.

What mentorship opportunities will be available for the student? What opportunities are available for the student to expand their network?
In addition to the supervisor, the student will have access to the APBI Program Coordinator and a network of APBI faculty. In the development of content for display boxes and outreach kits, the student will engage with faculty in a variety of program areas. This is an excellent position for those who would like to learn more about APBI and have an opportunity to meet its diverse faculty. The student may also interact with IT staff from the Learning Centre with respect to establishing shared electronic resources. There are likely to be other Work Learn students in the faculty; past students have indicated that they have built strong professional network with other Work Learn students. These broad interactions will allow the student to greatly increase their professional network.

How does this position develop and enhance the student’s personal and professional development? What opportunities does this position offer for the student to develop workplace skills or graduate competencies? How does this position compliment classroom learning?
The student will gain valuable professional skills that are transferable and desirable to employers such as the ability to project plan, the ability to communicate information in innovative ways, and the ability to communicate succinctly. The successful candidate will be exposed to all disciplines across APBI, increasing their knowledge of the program and deepen their professional interests. The student will also gain specific skills and training, such as technical writing, which can enhance the skills developed in coursework. There will be additional “hard” skills developed such as the use of specific software and lab equipment.
Hours Per Week
Salary / Wage
Preferred Degrees/Disciplines
Additional Documents (preferred)
Cover Letter
Anticipated Start Date
May 4, 2020
Experience Level
Current Students in an Undergraduate Program, Current Students in a Masters Program