SUMMARY POINTS

  • In many institutions, the administration may have only an approximate picture of the postdoctoral population and no policy to standardize institutional status or benefits.

  • An important step is to establish postdoctoral policies on such matters as titles, expected terms, and institutional status. This status may strongly affect benefits and other financial issues.

  • Some institutions have established a postdoctoral office or officer to serve as an information resource for postdocs and to organize programs for postdoc orientation, professional development, and career services. Such an office can also encourage good mentoring, act as liaison between postdocs, advisers, and administrators, and track the postdoctoral population.

  • Many institutions offer financial and logistical support for postdoctoral associations, which constitute a vehicle for discussing issues of concern to postdocs, building a social network, and communicating with the administration.

  • Some institutions are experimenting with the use of “mentoring committees” to provide additional perspective and guidance to the postdoc.

  • Institutions can help resolve grievances by establishing mechanisms, including an ombudsperson, to work toward conflict resolution.

  • Each institution should ensure that foreign postdocs have a resource person or office to advise them on such issues as acculturation, visa compliance, income taxes, and language skills.



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