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Assistant Director of Postdoctoral Initiatives

The University of Minnesota Graduate School seeks an Assistant Director of Postdoctoral Initiatives to join engaged and dedicated colleagues who are committed to improving the educational experience of graduate students and to enhancing the training of postdoctoral fellows (9560) and postdoctoral associates (9546). The Assistant Director will work and interact with 140 departments and with approximately 750 postdoctoral scholars annually to fully and effectively implement policies; advise on complex matters, from communicating with faculty to the job search process; and support excellence in postdoctoral training at the University of Minnesota.

The Assistant Director of Postdoctoral Initiatives researches, develops, implements, assesses, and maintains programming to support the professional development of postdoctoral scholars to gain competencies to pursue diverse career paths and to prepare for a competitive employment market. The Assistant Director will collaborate with the Postdoctoral Association (PDA), university administration, external organizations, and faculty/staff to implement programs that will increase retention of postdocs by conducting research and data analysis to expand training and networking opportunities for postdocs to progress towards independent professional careers. The Assistant Director will also provide consultation to prospective and current postdocs as well as departments on policies and resources to help postdocs effectively navigate their training. The Assistant Director will also collaborate closely with the Executive Director of Technology Commercialization within the Office for the Vice President for Research to create training/programming and experiential learning opportunities with corporate partners and startup companies for postdocs pursuing careers in industry.

This is a 100%, 12-month, annually renewable academic professional appointment (classification 9761AC, Student Services Pro 5-Advocacy and Support). JOB DUTIES:

Management and Service:

· Manage daily operations of OPI and serve as the first point of contact for postdoctoral scholars, faculty and staff.

· Supervise graduate assistant by outlining work assignments, monitoring progress, and conducting performance evaluation.

· Serve on University/national committees and attend conferences to advance the mission of OPI and postdoctoral education at the University of Minnesota.

Professional Development and Career Support:

· Identify in-demand transferable skills based on market trends and corporate feedback to design and implement professional development opportunities to prepare postdocs for diverse careers in academia, industry, government, and nonprofits.

· Partner with the Technology Commercialization office to develop training on skills specific to business and industry.

· Collaborate with the Postdoctoral Association (PDA) to identify and develop resources to enhance postdoctoral training and to build community.

· Collaborate with the PDA to provide regular seminars – including guest speakers from corporations (R&D leadership and HR), recent postdocs now working in industry, and members from the Technology Commercialization team.

· Consult with International Student and Scholar Services to develop programs and resources specific to international postdocs.

· Maintain The Post, the University’s newsletter for postdoctoral scholars.

· Offer training to faculty on effective strategies for postdoctoral mentoring.

· Offer consultation on career discernment, review job search application materials (e.g. CV/resume, cover letter, teaching philosophy, diversity statement), and assist with interview preparation and job offer negotiation.

Policy and Advocacy:

· Advocate for new policies, and policy review changes and implementation that help to create and maintain a robust learning and wage competitive work environment for postdoctoral scholars.

           o Advance and maintain competitive compensation and benefits for postdoctoral classifications system-wide.

           o Advocate for new/renewed postdoc appointments to align with minimum and maximum time requirements.

           o Advocate for resources and services to support postdoctoral scholars to include ensuring that mentoring commitments made in federal and privately-funded grant awards are met.

· Maintain the Postdoctoral Handbook and collaborate with Human Resources to coordinate orientation specifically for newly-hired postdocs.

· Provide consultation services for prospective and current postdocs and their mentors and collaborate with the Office for Conflict Resolution to help postdocs better navigate their postdoctoral experiences.

· Plan and lead events for Postdoctoral Appreciation Week to recognize contributions of postdocs.

· Manage announcement and selection process for faculty award in postdoctoral mentoring.

Evaluation and Research:

· Design and conduct assessments to evaluate program effectiveness, and recommend and implement changes to advance program goals and outcomes.

· Administer postdocSERU and communicate results to various stakeholders.

· Conduct research on postdoctoral experiences and analyze data to develop effective resources to enhance training.

SALARY: The salary for this position will be commensurate with the individual's qualifications and experience.

WORK MODE: Graduate School staff are currently working in a hybrid mode (some time remote and some time on campus) and are currently required to be on campus on Wednesdays (this arrangement is subject to change).


· Bachelor's degree in STEM or Social Sciences field plus at least 6 years of full-time professional experience with program development or master’s degree in STEM or Social Sciences field and four years of full-time professional experience with program development

· Familiarity with assessment and evaluation strategies/techniques with the ability to collect, analyze, and utilize qualitative and quantitative data to assess program effectiveness.

· Knowledge of postdoctoral training requirements, expectations, and culture.

· Knowledge of assets and challenges of postdoctoral scholars from diverse cultural backgrounds in higher education.

· Exceptional writing, communication, presentation and facilitation skills, demonstrated by presenting, facilitation and/or teaching experience.

· Demonstrated ability to work under minimal supervision, and as part of a collaborative team.

· Experience supervising work assignments and conducting performance evaluations with student or professional staff.

· Expert analytical / problem-solving skills.

· Experience conducting research and analyzing data to enhance program effectiveness.


· PhD/PhD candidate in STEM field or higher education administration.

· Postdoctoral experience in higher education

· Experience working with postdoctoral programming at the multi-collegiate level.

· Proven track record of working collaboratively within a higher education context.

· Industry experience to compliment academic experience.

· Familiarity with UMN units and resources.

About the Department

Postdoctoral scholars play a critical role in research universities and make significant contributions to the institution’s mission - education, research and outreach. Located within the Graduate School, the Office of Postdoctoral Initiatives functions as the central hub for postdocs, system-wide, by developing resources and providing opportunities for professional development and advocating for compensation and access to professional development.

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