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Offices and People to Support You

Postdoctoral training is a time of developing independence under the guidance of a faculty mentor. The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs supports faculty in this endeavor through its administrative, educational, and consulting activities. Stanford postdocs are appointed to one faculty member who has primary responsibility for their support, their research direction, and their developing independence. Postdocs are encouraged to develop collaborations and seek additional mentoring from across the Stanford community.  

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 Associate 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 quarterly. University policy on postdoctoral scholars is found in the Research Policy Handbook. Procedural matters and further policy guidelines are found on our Policy page.

Mentoring: Effective mentoring by faculty is critical to the success of postdocs and to the career development of the faculty. Stanford University has adopted a policy requiring all postdoctoral scholars to complete and discuss an Individual Development Plan (IDP) with their faculty sponsor on an annual basis. An annual meeting is essential in order to evaluate research progress, articulate goals for the coming year, and discuss personal career interests and aspirations. 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 recommended Compact Between Postdoctoral Appointees and Their Mentors highlights the commitments by both the postdoctoral appointees and their mentors when entering into a mentoring relationship.

Problems? Postdoc may experience difficulties 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 often first to notice signs and are in a position to counsel their postdocs and guide them towards appropriate campus resources. In the case of a dangerous situation or a threat, or if you are concerned about a situation that involves a postdoc, a list of Stanford resources is available on this page Threat and Violence Prevention.

The Stanford Faculty Staff 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 Associate 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, announcements, and presentations are postedin the Postdoc Administrator Blog.