Stanford University
Postdoctoral Scholars

September 2011

Visiting Student Researchers - And Funding Entry

Sent to supdssworkgroup on Monday, September 26.

Please see the following guidelines on entering Visiting Student Researcher funding support in GFS.

As a refresher, Stanford requires individuals to hold a doctoral degree in order to appoint them postdocs. Individuals who are yet to complete their degree requirements as documented by a letter from their home institutions may still join our labs and research centers as VSRs. This is a month-by-month status. VSRs can be switched to postdocs upon the candidate’s ability to provide a letter from the institution showing that a dissertation has been accepted and the degree is conferred. There is no disruption in this process for individuals on J1 visas.


Rania Sanford, Ed.D.
Assistant Dean
Postdoctoral Affairs
Stanford University
Tel.: 650-725-5075
From: [] On Behalf Of Ann George
Sent: Monday, September 26, 2011 10:50 AM
Cc: Susan Maher; Judith Haccou; Chris Golde
Subject: Entering financial support for Visiting Student Researchers

to: GFS Administrators

Departments who wish to provide financial support for Visiting Student Researchers (VSR) may now do so in GFS.

VSR is a category of nonmatriculated graduate student who is visiting Stanford for a period of time to participate in research here under the mentorship of a Stanford faculty member. Information about this classification is on the web at Departments who wish to provide financial support for these students may do any of the following, using the "Stipend" tab in GFS:
- pay the monthly VSR fees
- pay the quarterly Cardinal Care premium or the Campus Health Service Fee
- provide a monthly stipend to the student.

None of the payments listed above are allowable on research grants or contracts, and must be paid from appropriate departmental or faculty sources.

There is a Job Aid attached to this message which provides instructions for entering any of these payments. In order to use GFS to support a VSR:

1. the student must have been activated by Graduate Admissions (Office of the Registrar) with a VSR Program/Plan in PS Student Records. See for information about appointment procedures

2. the student must be Aid-Year Activated in GFS with a TAL Category of NM-VSR

3. the necessary item types must be set up for the PTA to make the specific type of payment.

The attached Job Aid will walk the GFS user through the second and third steps above, and also through the specific "Aid Entry" process for the type of payment being made. Once these payments have been entered and saved, they will be routed for the normal GFS approvals.

Please note that, if you wish to support a continuing student who was appointed as a Visiting Researcher last year, and will be continuing in this VSR role into the current year, you will need to Aid Year Activate the student with the new TAL Category of NM-VSR. You will then be able to provide financial support for the student as described on the attached Job Aid.

Thanks very much for your patience as these processes have been tested. If you have any questions about the VSR classification, please let me know.

Ann George

PD Web Forms Open Labs and Tips and Updates Session


A reminder about this week’s two options for getting up-to-date information and/or help with the PD Web Forms system.
1.) PD Web Forms Tips & Updates Session with Tammy Jo Wilson and Al Murray
DATE & TIME: Tomorrow (Sept. 29th) at 9:30 AM
LOCATION: 1215 Welch Road, Modular A, Room 62. (MAP)
 Confidential Information
 Reviewing Information in PD Web Forms
 Tips for Recommendation Form
 Searching for Records in PD Web Forms
 Oct. 1st Salary Changes
 LOA Forms
 Departmental Transfers

2.) Open Labs with Al Murray & GFS staff
Want to bring your actual work and have OPA and/or GFS staff help you in real time at a computer? Please attend the upcoming Open Labs (note: GFS open labs are every Friday at the times and locations listed below):
• Friday, September 30th, 9:00 am – noon, 427 Arguello Way (MAP)
• Friday, October 7th, 9:00 am – noon, 427 Arguello Way (MAP)
• Friday, November 4th, 9:00 am – noon, 427 Arguello Way (MAP)
• Friday, December 2nd, 9:00 am – noon, 427 Arguello Way (MAP)

Friendly Reminder: Please submit questions or requests to OPA via HelpSU.
(Tickets submitted to OPA via the following routing within HelpSU go directly to OPA staff.) : Request Category = Student Services; Request Type = Postdoctoral Affairs

To request to join or leave this email list please visit:


Annelies Ransome
Associate Director for Administration
Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Process for Handling Liberty Mutual Claims for Postdocs

Sent to Human Resource Administrators through the Office of Human Resources on September 7, 2011---


(Please forward this message to others on your team who deal with Liberty Mutual claims.)

I hoped to be able to discuss this change in processing Liberty Mutual claims for postdocs with you at our meeting this morning but the time got away from me. Sandra DeGaine, Patti Smilovitz, Agnes Miller and I have been discussing this and it appears that claim data reporting from Liberty Mutual is currently being sent to the designated contact for each department or school as set-up in the Liberty Mutual system. This means that regardless of the type of claimant (i.e. faculty, staff, postdoc, student), the designated contact person receives the report even if they have no contact with that person. In the case of postdocs, very often that report never makes it into the right hands and these individuals don’t always receive the support and service they need.

What’s New
We are putting a very simple process change in place. Starting immediately, the Postdoc Benefits Manager, Sandra DeGaine, will be your contact for all postdoc VDI claims with Liberty Mutual.
• The contact person listed in the Liberty Mutual system will continue to receive claim information about postdocs.
• We ask that you forward any reports or correspondence from Liberty Mutual for postdoc claims to Sandra.
• She will work directly with the individual and Liberty Mutual to manage the claim.
• Sandra will also be your point of contact for any questions you have regarding medical leaves of absence and maternity/paternity leaves for all postdocs.

What you need to do
• If you have a postdoc on an open VDI claim, please forward any correspondence to Sandra directly.
• If you have been holding on to Liberty Mutual material for a postdoc on a closed VDI claim occurring during the previous 90 days please forward that to Sandra as well.

If you have questions please contact Sandra directly at 650-723-6013 or email her at If you would like to save this message in a memo form, I have attached the same information outlined in memo form. Sandra works in the benefits office at 320 Panama Street, Bambi Modular, mail code 4160.

Thanks for your assistance with this slight change in process.


Suzanne Ferris, SPHR
Associate Vice President for Human Resources
Stanford University

Assistant; Tia Johnson (
(650) 721-5008

Office address: 215 Panama St., Stanford, CA (Birch Modular)
Mailing address: 320 Panama St., Stanford, CA 94305-4160

[OPA] PeopleSoft PD Web Form System Go-Live Announcement


The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) is thrilled to announce that the PeopleSoft “PD Web Forms” Module for Postdocs is fully live today.

What does the system being “fully live” mean?
• Change Transaction Form = ready for use as of Sept. 6
• Termination Form = ready for use as of Sept. 6
• Leave of Absence Request Form (form is initiated by the postdoc through AXESS)= ready for use as of Sept. 6
• Postdoc Invite & Recommendation Form = ready since mid-August

OPA asks all areas to login to check your access to the system and that you are seeing all the records for your group’s postdocs.

An easy search would be through logging in to AXESS, click on PeopleSoft tab, click on “I agree to the above” in order to login to PeopleSoft, then follow these steps:
1. Click on “Campus Community” -> “STF Postdoc” -> “Postdoc Transactions” -> “STF PostDoc Recommendation”
2. Under “Find an Existing Value” tab, leave all fields blank and click “Search”
3. You should see “Search Results” showing the Recommendation Forms created for postdocs affiliated with your department

Some Very Important Notes About the Migrated Data that Populates These Forms:

1. What to do if data appears to be incorrect on the migrated Recommendation Sheet:

a. If an appointment Start Date, an appointment End Date, Faculty Sponsor or Research Mentor, or a Salary is/are incorrect, please create and submit a new Change Transaction Form immediately correcting the information.
b. If it is any of the following types of information, please submit a HelpSU no later than September 20, 2011, in order to have it corrected in a one-time fix upload. Do not make any other changes to the postdoc’s record until you have been notified by OPA that correction was made:
i. DeptID
ii. Other Stanford Associations
iii. Research Experience, noted by Department

2. The data in the Information Sheets and Recommendation Sheets does not include information that already exists in PeopleSoft Student Records. That does not apply to the Change or Termination forms where data from Student Records appear in those Forms. For new appointments that are initiated in the Web Forms, both the Information Sheet and Recommendation Sheet will be complete.

3. No attachments (i.e., supporting documents) were included in the data migration. Please retain these postdocs’ paper files.

4. On the Information Sheet:

a. The ethnicity information on the Information Sheet was not loaded, so the default entry for the first question “ 1) Are you Hispanic or Latino? ” was selected. Please ignore this—it was not loaded into PeopleSoft.

b. For the “Outside Funding” question, all sheets were defaulted to “No” whether the postdoc came with outside funding or not. This is because outside funding is a new field in the Web Form that was not tracked by OPA before this implementation, there was no corresponding field in OPA available to migrate.

Need information on upcoming PS trainings, open labs, authority/access issues, or known system issues?
Please visit

Friendly Reminder: Please submit questions or requests to OPA via HelpSU. : Request Category = Student Services; Request Type = Postdoctoral Affairs


Annelies Ransome
Associate Director for Administration
Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Announcing PeopleSoft Postdoc Web Forms

Sent by Rania Sanford, Assistant Dean, to all faculty sponsors of postdoctoral appointments on August 10, 2011.

Dear Faculty,

I am writing to share with you that Stanford has moved the transactional work for postdoctoral scholar appointment actions (new hires, extensions, terminations and leave of absence requests) to an online interface using web forms and workflow. With the rapid increases in the number of postdocs in the last two years, and the large volume of transactions, paper forms and submission by email could not keep up with the need for efficiency, fast review and processing time, and the required security in handling personal confidential information. So, thanks to support from Randy Livingston, the University’s CFO, and Sameer Marella, Senior Director of PeopleSoft at Stanford Administrative Systems, a custom-built Postdoc Web Forms were developed as a new module in the University’s records system: PeopleSoft. The Web Forms are now in use in two schools, five academic departments in H&S, Engineering and Medicine, and one independent research center under the Dean of Research. This group of 15 administrators is helping us make the final tweaks. The system goes live campus-wide on August 25. All administrative staff handling postdoc paperwork are required to go through training in order to use the system on that date.

Why Do You Need to Know?
Prospective postdocs will enter their information directly online and upload their documents rather than complete a form by hand and fax it or email it. Your staff will continue to obtain the offer information from you and will enter it in the system. The new system will then generate the offer letter, with designated space to include any additional terms and conditions besides the standard language required by Stanford. When your staff complete their step in the process, you will receive an email notification that includes the complete language of the offer letter that the postdoc will receive electronically, with the additional terms and conditions included. The following step, final Department approval, then sends the letter to the candidate for acceptance online.

In addition to the electronic version of the offer letter, if you prefer to sign the letter in person and send it to the candidate as a hard copy, your administrator can printout the PDF version on your letterhead and send it simultaneously with the electronic version.

Department Chair Signature
The paper form to Recommend a Postdoctoral Scholar for Appointment at Stanford requires a departmental signoff by the Chair. In the online system, departmental signoff is still required, and most departments have identified the senior administrator, known as Department Manager, Division Manager, Director of Finance and Administration, Administrative Services Manager or Associate Director, to fulfill this role. This role indicates departmental approval that stipulations or commitments can be met. It is meant to be an overarching role that is distinct from the originator of the transaction and one that has a global view of potential issues such as funding, space or teaching/other commitments that may be part of the offer.

I met with Department Managers across all schools over the course of this project. In addition, your administrative staff were regularly updated with the progress of this project and have already started taking Stanford’s training requirements to use the system. We hope that this change will translate to tangible efficiencies in the services that the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs provides administratively.

Please do not hesitate to reach me by email at or by phone at 5-5075 if you have any questions about this transition.

Best Regards,

OPA Update - Authority/Access for PD Web Forms in PeopleSoft


The following is an update from OPA as of August 31, 2011:


• Authority that was requested by the Aug. 17th deadline has been set-up.

• Authority requests or changes that came in between Aug. 18th-31st are either already set-up or will be ready Sept. 1st.

• PeopleSoft PD Web Forms Module Go-Live Dates:
o New Appointments (“STF Postdoc Invite” & “Administrative Forms/Recommendation Form”) = now for entire campus community
o Change Transactions and Termination Forms = Week of August 29th (we will send out an announcement of the exact date soon; this unexpected delay from our original target date of 8/25/11 is due to the lead programmer in Administrative Systems having to leave to tend to a personal emergency.)

• If you have any of the following issues (after receiving notice from the system that you have been given authority), please submit a detailed HelpSU to OPA:
o No PeopleSoft tab in Axess (after completing PS Concepts & Compliance certificate process) – PeopleSoft access set-up incomplete
o No STF PostDocs under Campus Community in PeopleSoft (Known “bug” with University’s Authority Manger program; any new authority granted to you wipes out PD Web Forms. Administrative Systems is working to fix this bug.)
o No Dept ID on look-up in STF Postdoc Invite (Known “bug” with University’s Authority Manger program; any new authority granted to you wipes out PD Web Forms. Administrative Systems is working to fix this bug.)
o No Academic Program in STF Postdoc Recommendation Form (Known “bug” with University’s Authority Manger program; any new authority granted to you wipes out PD Web Forms. Administrative Systems is working to fix this bug.)
o No Authority notice from the system – please confirm with your manager that access was requested for you. Please submit a HelpSU ticket to either fix your authority or your manager must submit HelpSU to request new authority for you.

* What is “authority”? To be given authority to work in the new module you must be granted access to the new PD Web Forms module and its related systems. There are three roles in the PD Web Forms system, and the definitions of those roles are listed below.

Please visit OPA’s main PS Project Page for helpful training materials, a list of known issues with the new module, and reviewing tips for admins.

Role #1: Department Admin Entry - Required
• Point of contact for the postdoc and the faculty member regarding paperwork: new appointments, leaves, extension of appointments and termination of appointments.
• Coordinates with other department staff, such as finance or faculty affairs, on funding questions.
• Submits the DS-2019 and makes the funding attestation required for international scholars.
• Provides a departmental and/or lab orientation for the new scholar
• Must be familiar with Stanford’s policy and procedures related to postdoctoral scholars.
• Typically the same person who enters the GFS lines for the scholar.

Role #2: Department Coordinator - Optional
Useful for large departments (50+ postdocs) or departments with highly decentralized operations or affiliated research centers.
In such areas, administrative associates may be have the Department Admin Entry role while the Coordinator role is the one staff member with a deeper knowledge of postdoctoral policy and procedures can oversee the process for the whole Department or large unit. The Coordinator reviews the administrative associates work before an offer is extended to the postdoc.
• Is first point of contact for the Administrative Associates for policy and procedure questions.
• Reviews the Administrative Associates’ work for completeness and adherence to university policy, including the funding level and the duration of appointment.
• Ensures that the proposed start date allows sufficient processing time for department and University approvals, including time required for international scholar visas.
• Reviews any special additions made to the offer letter, to ensure they do not conflict with university policy.
• For actions that fall outside of university policy: reviews the sponsoring faculty’s request for policy exception and advises the faculty member on alternatives.
• May assist the Chair/Designee, and review each postdoctoral appointment in respect to department-specific policies and context.
• May not report to the appointing faculty member(s).

Role #3: Department Chair/Manager/DFA - Required Approver: Reviews and Approves Transactions in Workflow.
A postdoctoral appointment at Stanford is a contract between the University, the faculty sponsor and research mentor, and the postdoc. For the University to approve a recommendation to appoint a postdoc, departmental approval must be received. This authority rests with the Department Chair (or Division Chief in the School of Medicine), and is delegated to the Department Manager/DFA (or Division Manager is the School of Medicine).
• Represents the department.
• Understands and act upon concerns regarding equity in funding level among all postdocs in the department have been examined.
• Confirms that the faculty member has the funds, space, etc necessary to make the appointment commitment for the duration of the proposed offer, and is in a position to bring the candidate to Stanford-- for example, there is no conflict of interest or pending departure of the faculty member to another institution.
• Confirms departmental approval of any special arrangement, such as concurrent postdoc/instructor appointments, or agreements regarding pursuing a degree while at Stanford.
• Does not report to the appointing faculty member.

Friendly Reminder: Please submit questions or requests to OPA via HelpSU. : Request Category = Student Services; Request Type = Postdoctoral Affairs

Stanford Medicine Resources:

Footer Links: