Which of the Following Benefits Is Provided at Full Compensation to All Postdocs, Regardless of Adviser or Funding Source?

At academic organizations, the only benefits offered by more than half the respondents were e-mail accounts, library access, and vacation time. Smaller numbers offered on-campus parking or the equivalent (45 percent), sick leave (45 percent), parental leave (31 percent), dental insurance (28 percent), and disability insurance (28 percent). Only 7 percent offered child care, and 10 percent paid travel expenses to conferences where the postdoc would be presenting.

Benefits at nonacademic institutions were relatively generous. Nearly 90 percent offered dental insurance, disability insurance, e-mail accounts, vacation time, sick leave, and life insurance. More than half offered parental leave, parking, retirement funds, and library access. One-third offered child care and cost-of-living salary adjustments.

How Is the Postdoc Made Aware of Benefits that Are and Are Not Available?

From academic organizations, the three largest categories with similar numbers of responses were as follows: 1) the adviser bore the responsibility of discussing benefits with the postdoc, 2) an orientation meeting where benefits were discussed was offered to all entering postdocs, and 3) each postdoc received a letter before arrival that outlined the organization's policies. Three organizations explicitly stated that no information on benefits was formally provided, and additional comments indicated that some institutions report this information informally or have initiated a process of including benefits information in an acceptance letter.

COSEUP Survey Results

can also include mentoring in its guidelines for faculty review and offer to provide training for advisers in effective communication and evaluation techniques.4 Finally, institutions can encourage postdocs to acquire teaching and other professional skills by recognizing the development of those skills as a worthwhile use of research funds. (See also box on mentoring in previous chapter.)

Mentoring committees.

Some institutions are experimenting with the use of formal and informal mentoring committees, selected by the postdoc, that meet every six or twelve months. The purpose of such a committee is not to alter the primary role of the adviser, but to provide additional perspective and guidance, as well as help in building a professional network. A committee can also help to

4  

For further details and examples, see the National Academies' Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On Being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering, 1997, available via the web (www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/mentor).



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