Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2007 13:43:13 -0400
Reply-To: Dawn Lee <dlee**At_Symbol_Here**BROCKPORT.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Dawn Lee <dlee**At_Symbol_Here**BROCKPORT.EDU>
Subject: lab assistants/supervision in undergrad labs

I am sure many of you have gone through similar struggles, so hopefully, someone has some advice...

We are trying to get more $$ from the dean for our lab assistant costs.  Traditionally for general and organic chemistry, for example, we run out of 2 adjoining rooms - one with a max capacity of 24 and the other 18.  We have had one lab assistant to each teaching lab and an instructor that "floats" between teaching labs and sometimes instrument rooms (especially in organic for use of NMR, IR, etc.).  Courses like analytical and physical chemistry often have students in a "wet" lab preparing samples, as well as spread out in many instrument rooms as the students must rotate through experiments due to limited instrumentation.  We have tried to maintain one lab assistant in the "wet lab" and the instructor floating between instrument rooms in these cases.  We have done ok with this system, but our budget has not changed with changes in minimum wage and we are adding sections next year.  The obvious problem - we have overspent the budget.

In order to justify a request for increasing the budget, we would like to cite one or more professional recommendations (apparently a department full of professional chemists isn't enough) or regulations that say that inexperienced students (or untrained personnel) should not work in labs unsupervised.  Does anyone know of any?  What I have so far is a quote from the ACS "Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories" stating that undergraduate students in the laboratory should be supervised at all times and the Lab Standard's Appendix A recommendation against working in laboratories alone.  I suppose I can throw in some liability associated with RCRA and proper waste disposal as well.  

Any help is appreciated.  You can email me direct at dlee**At_Symbol_Here** or through the list.  Thanks.

Dawn Lee
Chemical Hygiene Coordinator for the Sciences &
Instructor of Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
SUNY College at Brockport

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