Faculty Advisors

All Engineering Design Teams are required to have at least one faculty advisor from within APSC. The advisor will typically be a faculty member of the team’s Host Department. In the case of dual-hosting, there will be an advisor from each Host Department. Faculty advisors provide primary oversight to design teams. This includes, but is not limited to project goals, timelines, budget and safety risks/concerns. Faculty advisors are responsible for signing off on team renewal forms and forwarding any agreements or contracts to APSC Professional Development.

Faculty Advisor Change Form Template

Responsibilities of the Faculty Advisor


✔️ Provide primary oversight: On key technical and administrative matters like project goals and viability, project budgets and timelines. Most of this is done through the team’s renewal application (Super Application) before submission. This ensures the advisor understands and approves of what each party is committing to for the next cycle and sets clear boundaries. Do review and sign off on projects, on the team's renewal forms (SuperApp) and forward any agreements or contracts to APSC PD.

✔️ Communicate: The advisor is expected to meet with the team’s captains at least twice per year - optimally at the start of every term after new members/projects have been determined. It is recommended that the faculty advisor meets and/or communicates with the team regularly, especially for new design teams that are starting from scratch.

✔️ Review space access: The advisor is expected to be aware of space and resource issues and be available to relay requests to the department and/or APSC. This may relate to workspace, storage, transportation, fabrication, testing labs and external resources.

✔️ Advise on funding: The advisor is expected to advise the team (if asked) on funding opportunities such as PAF, review proposals as well as sponsorship strategies. The Advisor will also be required to approve and sign the acceptance of gift-in-kind sponsorships received by team to ensure its value to both the team and the University.

✔️ Review team finances: The advisor will need to sign off on any expense claims submitted by the team members. We have recommended to the teams to submit expense claims once a month.

✔️ Mentor: If the team requests design reviews related to the team’s prototype, or to competition preparations, the Advisor is expected to meet on an ad-hoc basis at the request of the team captain.

✔️ Contact: The advisor is expected to inform the team for any opportunities or other reasons that they may find compelling, e.g., lecturers coming to campus, upcoming conferences, new vendors of relevant technologies, etc.


❌ Permit manufacturing or servicing products that go beyond the prototyping stage (i.e. for use or consumption): this includes apps, physical products, structures, etc. This means that the design teams should not engage in the production or provision of products or services intended for actual use or consumption by end-users. Their primary focus should be on creating prototypes or design concepts rather than full-scale production or service delivery.

❌ Permit external bank accounts: Design teams should not establish or maintain external bank accounts separate from the university's financial system. All financial transactions and accounts should be managed through university channels to ensure transparency and compliance with financial regulations.

❌ Permit revenue-generating activities, including selling off old equipment.

❌ Sign NDAs: absolutely zero NDAs can be signed for a design team, and UBC will not sign an NDA on behalf of a design team.

❌ Invite high school students or other members of the public (including alumni) to participate in design team activities or visit design team space: Students who graduate in May are considered current students and can participate until August 31 of that year. Alumni may act as consultants, but cannot enter restricted UBC spaces or conduct any prototyping work.

❌ Sign any agreement with an external party: this essentially promises that UBC, and not the design team, is beholden to the agreement.

If you find a team practicing any of the above, please contact Minoli Navaratnam immediately.

Responsibilities of the Team

The captain of the Team is expected to be the primary contact to the Advisor.

  • Communication: Requests to the Advisor should be given with ample lead time and be sensitive to the advisor’s research and teaching schedules. Routine matters that can be handled at the administrative level should first be made through the EDTC or the APSC Faculty Coordinator. Teams must inform their Faculty Advisor when transitioning Captains or important executive members.
  • Initiative: For all the categories listed in “Responsibilities of the Faculty Advisor”, the team is expected to initiate contact. Contact with the Advisor should be restricted to high-level matters.
  • Invitations: The team shall invite the Advisor to periodic meetings, competitions, field trips, tests, etc., that may improve the connection and awareness with the advisor. Even though the Advisor may not always be able to attend, it is important to provide an awareness of ongoing team activities.

How to Approach a Faculty Member

It may be daunting to approach a faculty member and ask them to be an Advisor to your team. It is important to ensure that you have a faculty advisor belonging to each of your hosting departments.

  • Relevance: Consider a faculty member’s area of research. They will likely be able to provide more support to your team if their expertise aligns with your design challenge.
  • Make a plan: Approach the faculty member with a clear plan of your Team’s objective and deliverables. Set up an appointment via email.
  • Make them aware of their role: the preceding section on this page is a good guideline for the role of a faculty advisor. Consider their time commitments and be respectful of them. Clarify expectations regarding support, communication and technical involvement at the start. If you require additional help in contacting a faculty member to be your team’s advisor, please contact the Engineering Teams Coordinator at team.engineering@ubc.
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