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New Postdoc On-boarding Checklist

Welcome to Stanford!

Here is a checklist of items to ensure that your postdoc gets off to a great start!

Prior to Arrival at Stanford:

  • Review the Cost of Living in Silicon Valley (Palo Alto/San Jose) and San Francisco Bay Area.
  • If possible, set aside at least one month of living expenses for the Bay Area to support yourself until your first salary or stipend payment is disbursed:
    • Salary is paid twice a month: on the 22nd for the first half of the month and on the 7th for the last half.
    • Stipend payments are disbursed at the end of the current month.
  • Look for Housing.
  • Review Postdoc Benfits policies and options. 
  • Review list of Helpful Stanford and Palo Alto Area Websites, including information about getting started at Stanford, postdoc groups, discounts on personal mobile device plans and food on campus, local attractions, and much more.
  • Print out or download a Stanford campus map.
  • Plan your commute to campus:
  • Be Aware of Postdoctoral Scholar Policies

Before Your First Day:

  • You will need a SUNetID for email and other services. Once you have your University ID number from your departmental postdoctoral administrator, you can work with your departmental postdoctoral administrator to create your SUNetID.
  • Complete your required Patent and Copyright Agreement (SU‐18) form online:
    • Once you have your SUNet ID, log-in to Axess; click the link to “Patent and Copyright Agreement (SU‐18)” to review and submit your electronic signature. The link to the SU-18 form is in the lower right corner of the main AXESS page under the heading "LEGAL".
    • You can sign and can view the status of your agreement in the Academics tab of the Student Services Center.
  • For School of Medicine Postdocs Only - Complete the Data Security Form under the "New to Stanford" heading.
  • Update your contact information on AXESS (REQUIRED)
    • After getting your SUNet ID, logon to AXESS, the student information system, and go to your Student Services Center.
    • Select Personal Information to add or edit your Mailing, Stanford Directory (local), Permanent Home, Campus Work, email addresses and phone numbers.
    • Registering your contact information ensures that you will receive timely communications from central university offices (Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, University Payroll, Student Financial Services, etc.).
    • IMPORTANT: Update your Mailing address to ensure receipt of tax documents.
    • IMPORTANT: Update your Local address for Go Pass eligibility.
    • IMPORTANT: International Scholars - update your Local and Permanent Home addresses to ensure SEVIS compliance.
    • Contact information entered in StanfordYou will be used by the AlertSU emergency notification system to contact you in case of an emergency affecting Stanford.
    • When entering phone numbers, be sure to include the full phone number with area code (e.g., (555) 123-4567).
      • Do not use 5-digit campus extensions.
    • Enter your emergency contact information, so that a trusted relative or friend can be contacted in the event of an emergency.
      • You can specify one primary contact, plus as many alternate contacts as you wish.

During Your First Week:

  • Attend the Required Postdoctoral Scholar Benefits Session
    • Your departmental administrator will register you for a Benefits Session that will provide important information about your benefits. Please contact them if you have not received a Benefits Session registration confirmation email. Postdoctoral Scholars are required to have medical insurance while at Stanford. Information about plans and enrollment.  (Be sure to enroll in Health Benefits Within 31 days.)
    • Important Note: If you have a medical emergency after your start date and prior to attending a Benefits Orientation, please follow these instructions New Sick Postdoc Instructions and contact Postdoc Benefits with any questions.
  • International Scholars Only: Confirm your arrival on the Bechtel International Center Mandatory Confirmation of Arrival at Stanford web page no later than the 15th day after the "From" date on the DS-2019 form. Please read the "Limited Validity of the DS-2019" for more details.
  • Obtain your Stanford Postdoc ID Card from the Campus Card Services. Bring a picture ID (driver's license, passport, etc.) with you to confirm your identity. Courtesy cards for spouses or domestic partners are also available at Campus Card Services for a fee.
    • School of Medicine Postdocs Only: a second Photo ID card is needed for access to buildings located in the School of Medicine. Email photoid@stanfordhealthcare.orgfor further information
  • Register to attend the next Quarterly New Postdoc Welcome Luncheon and Postdoc Social Events.
  • Setup a bank account if needed.  Stanford has several banks on-campus.
  • Check STARS for any required courses on HIPAA, animal, and Environmental Health & Safety, and others.
  • Meet with your Departmental Postdoctoral Administrator/Lab Manager to:
    • Obtain Department/Lab "How To" information:
    • Get information and instructions about obtaining and using equipment and supplies such as telephone, cell phone, pager as required (also PacBell and Stanford telephone books, service package, voice mail codes, international codes)
      • Computer (how to use calendars, e-mail)
      • Printer (codes if required)
      • Photocopier (codes, maintenance, supplies)
      • Fax machine (codes)
      • General office supplies (stapler, tape dispenser, ID mail envelopes)
      • First aid and emergency kits
      • How to request equipment, repairs, and supplies
    • Get department facilities information, including rules and how to schedule rooms and equipment
    • Obtain safety information and how to report hazards
    • Complete payroll forms (I-9, LA-6, W4...) and provide copies of your documents as required
    • Inquire with your department/lab about email lists and any required training
    • Sign-up for your lab, department and other groups or organizations' mailing lists for announcement of events/talks
  • Verify and add your information to your Community Academic Profiles (CAP)
    • Basic information on each scholar, such as academic appointments, faculty advisor and professional education, are imported into CAP from the university records system.
    • Once in CAP, postdocs are able to access their profile and add additional information such as research interests, honors and awards, a photo and much more.
    • CAP provides a tremendous opportunity to publicize your research, publications and academic work to the outside world.
    • School of Medicine:
    • All other Schools:
  • SCHOOL OF MEDICINE POSTDOCS: Complete Health Screening, Safety and Compliance Training for Clinical Research Staff & Postdocs
    • Health Stream Training Instructions and Checklist
      • This applies if you are a SoM (non-faculty) employee or postdoc who:
        • 1) may be assigned duties with potential for occupational health exposures related to clinical research participants and
        • 2) performs job duties (including Epic access) within SHC, LPCH, and/or other Stanford affiliated research patient care locations.
      • For more information about this training or to view a training checklist, please visit the Spectrum Website.
      • Questions should be directed to hssc-support@lists.stanford.edu.
  • Sign-up for Emergency Alerts:
  • Review Earthquake Preparedness Information

Your First Two to Four Weeks:

  • Schedule the required initial Individual Development Plan (IDP) meeting with your appointing faculty member
    • Must be completed within three months of your start date.
  • Sign-up for direct deposit (pay) in AXESS
  • Receive your first paycheck - Salary, Stipend or Outside Support
    • Salary – paid 2 x monthly, 7th and 22nd. View online pay statements in Axess.  See salary paydays here.
    • Stipend – paid 1 x month, on last day. Pay statement is sent to Campus Work address in Axess – no online statement. See stipend paydays here.
    • Outside Support - paid at discretion of outside institution.
  • Familiarize yourself with Postdoctoral Scholar Policies:
  • INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS: Apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)
    • Postdoctoral scholars are required to have a social security number (SSN) or tax identification number (TIN).
    • If you do not have a number, apply for one by getting the forms online at https://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/
    • When you receive your SSN/TIN number, please legibly complete this Social Security Number Reporting Form and give it to your departmental postdoctoral administrator and the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.
      • ** Special Reminder about Protecting Your Social Security Number (SSN) **
        • PRACTICES TO AVOID (From http://www.ssa.gov/phila/ProtectingSSNs.htm):
          • Never list an SSN when posting a paper record on a public bulletin board
          • Never send SSNs via an electronic format (i.e., email, text, etc.)
          • Never have a computer log-in system where a person has to use their SSN
          • Never use SSNs on ID cards
          • Never send SSNs on postcards
          • Never store SSNs on unprotected computer systems
          • Never carry a Social Security Number (SSN) card on your person

Your First Three Months to One Year: