2011 National Postdoctoral Association Conference

Join us at the NPA annual conference occurring March 25 to 27 in Bethesda, Maryland on the NIH campus. Online registration deadline is March 11. Visit here for registration instructions.

Panel: Policies Impacting Postdoctoral Hiring & Diversity

Postdocs are the invisible university that drives scholarly innovation. Postdocs are also the talent pool from which many professional positions are recruited. However, entry into the postdoc stage is fraught with pitfalls as there are no strict standards for recruiting. The postdoc-institution relationship can range from a temporary student status to that of a stable employee. In particular, the most competitive and lucrative postdoctoral training experiences are created by an informal, mutual agreement between the prospective candidate and the advisor in an apprenticeship arrangement. This can circumvent the typical employee recruitment process. The panel presents different models of postdoc recruiting within the context of institution type and policies. For example, can affirmative action ideals and practices be applied to non-advertised postdoc positions to achieve diversity goals? Can lessons be drawn from methods used in other countries as well as from different models for recruiting academic talent?
Sunday March 27, 9 to 10:30 am
We gratefully acknowledge each speaker’s home institution for sponsoring panelist’s travel expenses; and, in the case of Ms. Keith, that gratitude is extended to AAAS.

Alberto Roca, Ph.D., MinorityPostdoc.org; Moderator
Welcome and Introductions

Elba Serrano, Ph.D., Professor, New Mexico State University
Transparency in Academic Postdoctoral Hiring Practices: Do You Know Where the Jobs Are?

Carl Jackson, Ph.D., Associate Director of Academic Programs, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude’s Postdoctoral Recruitment Program including a National Graduate Student Symposium

Edward Krug, Ph.D., Assistant Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs, Medical University of South Carolina
An Outsider’s Perspective on Unionization

Jamie Lewis Keith, J.D., Vice President and General Counsel, University of Florida
The Legal Climate

Judith Berman, Ph.D., Associate Director, Research Development, University of Western Australia
Examples from Other Nations: Australia

Roland Owens, Ph.D., Assistant Director, NIH Office of Intramural Research
Alternative Hiring Models: NIH Earl Stadtman Investigators


Uncovering the Invisible Minority Postdoc Talent Pool

Alberto Roca, Founder, MinorityPostdoc.org
Ethnic minorities are underrepresented among STEM faculty. This situation has motivated interventions to encourage minority undergraduates to pursue doctoral degrees. However, the actual talent pool for a STEM faculty search is the postdoctoral population. Diversity efforts have often overlooked underrepresented minority (URM) postdocs. This poster will describe four objectives for uncovering this invisible talent pool. First, a fundamental question is whether there is an adequate supply of URM postdocs. Demographic data were taken from national and institutional surveys resulting in these average percentages of URM postdocs in the domestic population: 3% African American, 4% Hispanic, and 0.5% Native American. Therefore, estimates of the total number of minority postdocs is 1600 ± 500 individuals (assumptions affecting these figures to be discussed). Second, policy issues specific to the minority postdoctoral experience can impact the training pipeline. For example, can affirmative action be applied to non-advertised postdoc positions? The most competitive postdoctoral training experiences are created by an informal agreement between the prospective candidate and the advisor thereby circumventing the typical employee recruitment process. Third, the MinorityPostdoc.org website is a highly visible portal featuring resources, events, and articles about career advice, jobs, funding, mentoring, and diversity issues. In particular, the site promotes the activities of both national and regional diversity-related postdoc groups. Fourth, our outreach efforts have led to the creation of a database of over 900 postdocs of which many are from underrepresented ethnicities. Stakeholders and recruiters could utilize this community for engaging URM postdocs especially for faculty diversity interventions.

last updated 28-Apr-2011