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Assistant Director of Postdoctoral Initiatives

University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
The salary for a maximally qualified hire is $85,000.

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 (AD) of Postdoctoral Initiatives is a mid-level administrative position. The AD 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 AD 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 AD 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 AD 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-months, annually renewable academic professional appointment (classification 9704AC, Student Services Pro 4-Advocacy and Support).

Professional Development and Career Support (50%):

  • Envision and lead all programming to advance the professional development of postdoctoral researchers to include, but not limited to the following responsibilities:
    • Research, create and as appropriate, deliver resources to help postdoctoral researchers navigate their training, such as in-person and online workshops, Postdoctoral Handbook, Individual Development Plan, and The Post Newsletter.
    • Research and design professional development opportunities on in-demand transferable skills, based on market trends and corporate feedback, to prepare postdocs for diverse careers in academia, industry, government, and nonprofits. 
    • Design and lead programs to support career development to include providing consultations on career discernment, reviewing job search application materials (e.g. CV/resume, cover letter, teaching philosophy, diversity statement), and preparing postdocs for job interviews and job offer negotiations.
    • Develop and implement training, in partnership with the Technology Commercialization office, on skills specific to business and industry.
  • Oversee collaboration and communication with multiple UMN units and external organizations to support postdoctoral training.
    • Work closely with the Postdoctoral Association (PDA) to identify needs and to develop resources to enhance postdoctoral training and to build community. 
    • Develop seminars – including guest speakers from corporations (R&D leadership and HR), recent postdocs now working in industry, and members from the Technology Commercialization team.
    • Design workshops, in consultation with International Student and Scholar Services to develop programs and resources specific to international postdocs.

Policy and Advocacy (30%):

  • 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.
  • Envision, plan and lead signature events that recognize contributions of postdoctoral scholars, including Postdoctoral Appreciation Week.
  • Design and facilitate training for faculty on effective strategies for postdoctoral mentoring.
  • Provide consultation services for prospective and current postdocs and their mentors and collaborate with the Office of Conflict Resolution to help postdocs better navigate their postdoctoral experiences.
  • Manage announcement and selection process for faculty award in postdoctoral mentoring.

Management and Service (10%):

  • Manage daily operations of Office for Postdoctoral Initiatives (OPI) and serve as the first point of contact for postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and staff.
  • Supervise graduate assistant(s) by developing work assignments, managing progress, and conducting performance evaluations.
  • Serve on University/national committees and attend conferences to advance the mission of OPI and postdoctoral training at the University of Minnesota.
  • Perform other duties as requested or necessary to advance the mission of the OPI and postdoctoral training and the Graduate School at the University of Minnesota.

Evaluation and Research (10%):

  • Design and conduct assessments to evaluate program effectiveness, and recommend and implement changes to advance program goals and outcomes.
  • Administer surveys such as the postdocSERU and communicate results to various stakeholders.
  • Conduct research on postdoctoral experiences and analyze data to develop effective resources to enhance training.

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).

SALARY: The salary for a maximally qualified hire is $85,000



  • Bachelor's degree plus at least 5 years of full-time professional experience OR a Master's degree plus at least 3 years of full-time professional experience
  • Exceptional writing, communication, presentation and facilitation skills, as may be demonstrated by presenting, facilitation and/or teaching experience.
  • Experience with elements of program management, or in another managerial/administrative position.


  • PhD/PhD candidate in STEM field, public health, psychology, education or public policy is strongly preferred.
  • Knowledge of postdoctoral training requirements, expectations, and culture, including knowledge of assets and challenges of postdoctoral scholars from diverse cultural backgrounds in higher education.
  • Experience working with postdoctoral programming at the multi-collegiate level.
  • 2 years of experience as a postdoctoral scholar or 2 years of experience supporting postdoctoral scholars/programming.
  • Experience implementing and monitoring the success of new programs as well as organizing program activities using team work and goal setting.
  • Proven track record of working collaboratively within a higher education context.
  • Experience developing programming to support academic initiatives related to postdoctoral scholars experience in the academy
  • Industry or non-academic experience to compliment academic experience.
  • Familiarity with assessment and evaluation strategies/techniques with the ability to collect, analyze, and utilize qualitative and quantitative data to assess program effectiveness.
  • 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.
  • Familiarity with University of Minnesota 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 (OPI) 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.

APPLY NOW:  Enter job ID 358551.

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