Postdocs continue to work on office reassignment

The staffing level could change, but those changes are currently unknown.

Post Doctoral Association President Sara Lagalwar said she hopes that the post doctoral program will retain the informational seminars and workshops they have had in the past. The office of post doctoral affairs has recently moved into the office of the vice president of research.

Paul Bangasser

Post Doctoral Association President Sara Lagalwar said she hopes that the post doctoral program will retain the informational seminars and workshops they have had in the past. The office of post doctoral affairs has recently moved into the office of the vice president of research.

With University of Minnesota President Bob BruininksâÄô decision on Graduate School restructuring came the reassignment of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs , despite recommendations from the Committee on Graduate Education. The office âÄî which oversees about 1,200 postdoctoral associates, fellows and research associates âÄî will still exist, but is currently going through a transition, moving from the Graduate School to the Office of the Vice President for Research. The Committee on Graduate Education was charged with making recommendations for restructuring, one of which was to keep the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs centrally administered in the Graduate School. The office will continue to be centralized, but Bruininks stated in his report that his reason for the reassignment is to strengthen alignment with research and educational functions of the University. âÄúWhatâÄôs most important is not so much where it reports as to the quality of the service it provides,âÄù Vice President for Research Tim Mulcahy said . Director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs Noro Andriamanalina , who previously worked under the vice provost and dean of the Graduate School, said she hopes a variety of programming continues to be offered and that the connection between graduate students and postdoctoral associates is not lost. âÄúGrad students and postdocs have very shared concerns,âÄù she said. âÄúWe just donâÄôt want to have duplication of services when they can all benefit from shared services.âÄù Some postdoctorals were also worried the reassignment would change the way they work in conjunction with graduate students. Sara Lagalwar , president of the Postdoctoral Association at the University, said she hopes postdoctorals are still able to use the various services, such as seminars and workshops, that are available to graduate students. âÄúPostdocs are so diverse. We come from so many different types of disciplines, and we also have completely different career goals,âÄù she said. âÄúThat was one of the benefits of having a joint office with the Graduate School.âÄù She said the Postdoctoral Association will meet with Mulcahy later this month to discuss the support they want and ways theyâÄôll continue to be represented in the Graduate School. Mulcahy said the functions that the Graduate School offered to postdoctorals are still being aligned, but many of the services are relevant to both groups. âÄúI think we will definitely be working very closely with the Graduate School and the graduate programs that may reside outside of the Graduate School,âÄù he said. He doesnâÄôt anticipate any change in the function of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs but said it will provide even more services. âÄúWhat itâÄôll allow us to do is emphasize the unique needs [of postdocs],âÄù he said. âÄúTheir needs will be addressed by an office that focuses on unique research and professional development opportunities.âÄù He said the idea that the Office of Vice President for Research focuses on the sciences is a misconception and that postdoctorals across the spectrum of disciplines, including arts and humanities, will be supported. âÄúWe provide quite a bit of support to the arts and humanities,âÄù Mulcahy said. âÄúWe plan on making sure that we understand the unique concerns that postdocs in particular [have] in those disciplines.âÄù The way the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is staffed will be examined and reviewed, Mulcahy said. He doesnâÄôt yet know if the staffing level will remain the same, but he doesnâÄôt anticipate it will go down. Mulcahy is currently serving as interim vice provost and dean of graduate education. When the permanent dean is appointed, Mulcahy said he will work with him or her to ensure collaboration between postdoctoral researchers and graduate students. Carrie Ketel , former president of the Postdoctoral Association, hopes her colleagues will continue to receive the same support they have in the past. âÄúI feel like weâÄôre still in the building phase and continuing to make this climb to make life better for the postdocs, so I really hope this is viewed as an opportunity for improvement and growth,âÄù she said. âÄúI feel like we can hit the ground running and continue with our programming.âÄù