Stanford University
Postdoctoral Scholars

Offices and People to Support You

Faculty play a key role in the quality of training and the educational experiences of their postdoctoral researchers.  Postdocs at Stanford are often appointed by one faculty member, but often develop relationships with others in the course of their term at Stanford. Faculty are instrumental in guiding the postdoc towards professional development and personal growth.  The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs provides guidance and assistance to Stanford faculty in all matters related to postdoctoral affairs, ranging from administration and policies to well-being and conflict resolution.

The following are some of the resources available to Stanford faculty regarding common questions related to their postdocs.  Further inquiries or questions may be directed to the Assistant Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs.

University policy:  Stanford policy regarding postdoctoral scholars is recommended by an Advisory Committee to the Provost.  The committee is comprised of faculty members, deans and senior staff from all seven schools and meets periodically (at least once/quarter).  University policy on postdoctoral scholars is found in the Research Policy Handbook. Procedural matters and further policy guidelines are found in the Postdoctoral Scholar Handbook.

The postdoc experience:  A wide range of educational opportunities are available to postdocs in the form of courses, short courses, workshops, talks that are specifically aimed to postdocs. Your postdocs may apply for fellowships or participate in postdoc groups and organizations.  The University supports the faculty’s encouragement of their postdocs to pursue the opportunities available to them while at Stanford via various offices and people throughout the campus.

Mentoring: Effective mentoring by faculty is critical to the success of postdocs and to the career development of the faculty.  Annual Career Progress Mentorship Meeting is a strongly recommended activity that postdocs and faculty are encouraged to do in order to evaluate research progress, articulate goals for the coming year, and discuss personal career interests and aspirations.  While not a requirement, this process ensures that a dialogue in those key areas between the postdoc and his or her faculty mentor takes place, and serves as an opportunity to discuss deficiencies in performance or adjustments in future plans or expectations. 

For those in the medical fields, the American Association of Medical Colleges’s Compact Between Postdoctoral Appointees and Their Mentors highlights the commitments by both the postdoctoral appointees and their mentors when entering into a mentoring relationship.

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs with support from the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education support two postdoctoral mentoring awards to outstanding faculty mentors. 

Problems?  Postdoc may sometimes experience difficulties or challenges related to academic progress, adjustment to the US culture or to Stanford’s culture, the expectations and nature of relationships with colleagues, or personal or professional circumstances.  Faculty are first to notice signs and are in a position to counsel their postdocs and guide towards resources on campus that can be of help.  In the case of a dangerous situation or a threat, or if you are concerned about a situation that involves a postdoc, a comprehensive page of Stanford resources is available at

The Stanford Help Center is available to postdocs where professional counselors and therapists provide confidential support.  Stanford’s Ombuds is also available to postdocs as a confidential resource to postdocs and would be able to facilitate conflict resolution in an impartial and confidential manner.  The Assistant Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs may also serve as a resource to faculty as well as to postdocs regarding concerns related to performance, well-being or similar issues

Policy and procedural information: Recent policy memoranda, announcement, the monthly email Postdoc Administrator Updates, and presentations made in campus-wide meetings are searchable in the Postdoc Administrator Blog, going back to October 2009.

Stanford Medicine Resources:

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