Office of Postdoctoral Affairs 2011-12

Summary of activities for 2011-12

This table summarizes the main programs and initiatives being worked on by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) and their current status:




Creation of office

Creation of Postdoctoral Affairs Advisory Committee

Creation of listserv for direct communication

Creation of website with full content

Affiliate with National Postdoctoral Association

Hold regular (monthly) Postdoc Development Workshops

Hold socials and networking activities (Facebook, LinkedIn)

Record workshops on video (YouTube channel) to make available to postdocs who cannot attend or are off-site

Hold annual New Postdoc Orientation

Run surveys for direct feedback from postdocs

Creation of Postdoc Mentoring Award

Distribution of a Postdoc Newsletter (26 issues this year), currently published once a week.

Preparation of Postdoc Research Symposium - Spring 2013


Assist Postdocs with Access to Grants Workshops in Spring 2013


Provide resources and information on service opportunities on campus and in the community.


Office Staffing:

  • Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs
  • Volunteer Staff:  Postdoctoral Affairs Advisory Committee

Creation of Postdoc Advisory Committee:

  • 9 members comprised of UF faculty, administrators and postdocs
  • 7 full committee meetings held in 2012, with first meeting held in February, 2012


  • Creation of OPA Web site:
  • Creation of Postdoc Listserv:    
    • Postdoc Associates: 684 subscribers
    • Listserv sublists:
      • Postdoc Readers: 100 subscribers  Readers include those who do not hold the title of Postdoctoral Associate but are interested in receiving information sent on the postdoc listserv. Includes faculty, staff and administrators.
      • Postdoc Fellows: 43 subscribers
  • Creation of Postdoctoral Update Newsletter:
    • 25 issues were published in 2011-12.  Delivered via the listserv and provided online.
    • Newsletter is currently published weekly (every Tuesday). 

  • Creation of Postdoc Life Section of Web site for New and Prospective Postdocs:

    Developed by Advisory Committee Postdoc and OPA director to assist postdocs new to the university, Gainesville, and the United States with information and resources, as well as provide information for prospective postdocs who have not yet moved to Gainesville.

    • Welcome E-mail Sent to each new Postdoc from the Office
      E-mail sent to new postdocs informing them of the office, Web site, listserv, newsletter, membership in the National Postdoc Association, and communication venues such as the postdoc Facebook group and LinkedIn group.

  • First New Postdoc Orientation:  Sept. 19, 2012, Emerson Alumni Hall

    • 88 registered attendees and presenters
    • Held during National Postdoc Appreciation Week
    • Survey Feedback Quick Takes:
      • 33 responses
      • Overall, 88% of respondents found the Orientation sessions Somewhat to Very Helpful.  84% found the Human Resource Services segment Very Helpful.
  • Workshops:
    • Creation of Postdoc Development Workshop Series, coordinated by Postdoc Workshop Chair on Postdoctoral Advisory Committee:  Average number of attendees at each workshop:  25. In addition, the workshops are video recorded and made available online on the Postdoc YouTube site so postdocs who cannot attend due to scheduling conflicts or because they are off-site can still access some of the information covered.  Presentation materials are also made available on the Web site. The Office plans to hold a workshop every month to address career development issues postdocs have expressed interest in.
      • December 2012 (planned): Academic careers for postdocs with panel speakers
      • November 2012 (planned): Non-academic careers for postdocs with panel speakers
      • October 2012 (planned): Funding opportunities for Postdocs with panel speakers
      • September 26, 2012: How to Get Published in a Highly Rated Journal with Dr. Simon Phillpot and Ashley Seifert
      • August 22, 2012:  Professional Networking with Teri Balser and Heather White
      • July 25, 2012:  Developing a Teaching and Research Statement with Jon Schlesinger
      • June 6, 2012:  Branding Workshop for UF Postdocs with Lee May, Seniha Yuksel, and Ashley Seifert
  • UF Career Resource Center

The UF Career Resource Center Graduate Student Services provides opportunities, services and assistance to UF postdocs.  The CRC provides regular workshops that postdocs are encouraged to attend.  The Fall series covers topics related to working in academia. The Spring series of workshops covers opportunities for working outside of academia.

  • Grant writing workshop
    • Workshop provided through IFAS for faculty and postdocs.  Advisory Committee postdocs attended in 2012.  Postdocs offered workshop attendance at no cost, with Provost’s Office and Colleges paying for postdoc workshop fees.
  • HR Benefits Workshop Provided for Postdocs:  October 12, 2012, 10am-3pm

UF’s Human Resource Services provides benefits workshops and information sessions to the general UF community, which postdocs are informed of. This year, they were willing to provide specific postdoc benefits workshops in a central UF location for any postdocs to attend and receive counseling about their benefits from a benefits expert.  Postdoc Attendees:  12

  • Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) in STEM Workshops Provided for Postdocs by the UF Libraries: 
    RCR Workshops are regularly provided by the UF Libraries and postdocs are invited to attend.  This summer, the libraries provided 2 workshops specifically for UF postdocs on July 18, 2012 at 10am (14 postdoc attendees) and 5:30pm (8 postdoc attendees)

Creation of Outstanding Postdoc Mentoring Award Program: Rewarding faculty who are doing an outstanding job of mentoring postdocs was determined to be a key way to foster excellent postdoc mentoring experiences.

  • Award announced and currently in process. 
  • 3 to be awarded in Spring 2013.
  • Cost:  $6,000
  • Committee awardees will form mentoring advisory committee to Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and assist with programming to support and promote outstanding mentoring of postdocs.
  • First year’s mentor selection committee chaired by member of Postdoc Advisory Committee.

Creation of Postdoc Peer Mentoring Program

Currently in the process of forming mentoring groups of senior postdocs willing to mentor junior/new postdocs.  Senior postdocs will be paired with postdocs new to UF and provided opportunities to meet and mentor.

Postdoc Needs Survey Conducted in February, 2012.

  • Number of Respondents:  94
  • Survey Quick Takes: 
    • 74.2% reported Academic/Faculty as their long-term career goal.
    • 43% reported working more than 50 hours/week.
    • 69.3% reported being Satisfied to Very Satisfied (38.5%) with their research mentorship.  6.6% reported being very dissatisfied.  28.1% indicated their mentoring experience at UF to be “Excellent.” (67.5% reported Good, Very Good or Excellent mentoring at UF)
    • Only 46.7% reported being Satisfied to Very Satisfied (23.9%) with their career development mentorship.
    • Only 31.5% expressed being Satisfied to Very Satisfied with their current salary. 34.8% reported neutral.
    • 60.2% expressed they would like more opportunities to participate in professional meetings, 58% would like more opportunities to prepare grant proposals, and 62.4% expressed they would like more teaching opportunities.

Creation of Postdoc YouTube Channel for recorded workshop and orientation presentations:  The OPA works to provide as much access as possible to postdocs whose schedules may not provide them attendance at the development workshops and orientation.

Establishment of National Postdoctoral Association Affiliate Membership for University of Florida:

  • Annual Cost: $1,250
  • UF Membership Subscribers:  207
  • Note from NPA Membership Manager on July 5, 2012 re: UF Membership:

We wanted to let you know that your postdocs have been taking full advantage of the free affiliate membership offered through your new sustaining membership for the University of Florida.  To date you have 152 postdocs register as affiliate members.  That is the largest initial registration we have ever seen.  Congratulations on this great achievement.  We are thrilled to see so many postdocs take advantage of the affiliate membership. 

Kryste L. Ferguson, M.Ed.
Manager, Membership
National Postdoctoral Association

Creation of Gainesville Postdoc Facebook and LinkedIn Sites by Postdocs on Advisory Committee

Based on postings and discussions, the OPA is able to gather information and ideas as to how best to address issues postdocs find important.  Most of the discussions center around career development, so we know the Postdoc Development Workshop series and other resources the OPA provides for career development an important provision of the office.

Development of Postdoc Social Activities through Advisory Committee Social Chair:

Pursuant to postdoc survey responses, the OPA Postdoc Social Chair organizes regular social events for postdocs in a variety of settings.  Postdoc social events are planned after every monthly postdoc development workshop.  Postdocs are also provided social opportunities in conjunction with National Postdoc Appreciation Week, including a postdoc social and a campus tour offered just for postdocs.

Outreach and Information Sessions provided by the OPA to the UF Community:

  • Deans Breakfast after establishment of Office: November 8, 2011
  • IFAS HR Representatives Presentation: January 30, 2012
  • Human Resource Services Forum Presentation: April 4, 2012
  • Experimental Pathology Postdocs Meeting: September 17, 2012
  • Meeting with Whitney Lab Postdocs (planned):  November 14, 2012
  • Sid Martin incubator Visit: TBD

New Programs Planned for the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs:

  • Assist with funding of postdocs to attend at no cost to the postdoc UF Grants Writing Workshop in March 2013.  Postdocs have expressed strong desire to develop grant writing skills, and providing access to high quality grants workshops will assist in this skill development.
  • Postdoc Research Symposium with Posters and Presentations in Spring 2013

Presentation opportunities would foster practice and development of presentation skills.  Publicizing of the event and attendance by the UF community would enhance positive awareness of the role of postdocs at the university and would showcase their important research and discoveries. Opportunity to bring together postdocs from all over campus with others involved in the postdoc community, including faculty, staff, students and administrators, will foster collaborations and a sense of appreciation and community.

  • Future Postdoc Development Workshops:
    • Funding Opportunities for Postdocs
    • Careers for Postdocs Outside of Academia with Patti Breedlove
    • Postdoc Work-Life Balance
    • Postdoc Visit to Sid Martin Biotech Incubator in 2013
    • Information for Principal Investigator with recruiting and hiring of postdocs
      • HR information
      • General information about UF and Gainesville
      • Specific information for recruiting best possible and most diverse postdocs