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Orientation Toolkit for Administrators

Postdoc Admins help to provide a successful transition to Stanford for all incoming postdocs. OPA works in tandem with Admins to ensure that both entities can provide postdocs with necessary and effective support.

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs provides a lot of general information about Postdoc Benefits Plans, Ongoing Campus Events, and Postdoc Community-Building; whereas, Postdoc Admins handle much of the onboarding process related to their actual department and/or their PI's lab environment. Admins also assist incoming postdocs in a more 1:1 format by providing reminders about Stanford requirements for training(s), ensuring there is access to the necessarry equipment and facilities, and troubleshooting through any initial arrival/adjustment issues.

Best Practices & Recommendations from Fellow Admins:

  • Does your postdoc need a SUNet ID sponsored prior to the start date of the appointment? If so, do you know how to sponsor one?
    • Sponsorship requires special attention to avoid creating a duplicate ID -- a messy process to fix! Be sure to conduct a proper search to determine there is no existing SUNet ID!
  • Does your postdoc need assistance with arrival logistics, like which airport to fly into, where to look for housing, where to stay the first few days, banking info, DMV locations, or transportation to/from campus?
  • Review and share the Incoming Postdocs page.
  • Review the orientation materials/checklists for new staff.
  • Review and share the Stanford New Postdoc Pre-Onboarding Checklist/Guide.
  • The Stanford Moving Services Site is a valuable resource. It is full of guidance and tips that can help with postdocs relocation needs to and from Stanford.
  • Review and share as much information as you can about the OPA webpage before postdocs come to Stanford. 
  • Develop your own comprehensive checklist for new postdocs. This checklist should include additional information on:
  1. Postdoc Benefits Package: Summary of the Stanford Benefits Package and Health Care Network.
  2. Documentation Requirements: Payroll forms, SU-18, any missing appointment info, and/or funding-related documents.
  3. Helpful Resources: Direct your postdoc to the Incoming Postdocs and the Upcoming Events sections on the OPA website.
  4. Administrative Set-Up: Keys, key cards, laptops, and/or codes. Orientation and access to the office space, lab space, department or building facilities, use of department/lab office, supplies, etc...
  5. Organizational Structure: Share important email distribution lists, organizational charts, info on who’s who in the research group or the department, information regarding regular seminars, talks and how to receive announcements.
  6. Department/Lab Contacts: Who to go to for help within your Department/Division/Lab*. (Please ensure that this information stays up to date for your team)
  7. Travel Policies: The Stanford travel program for has clear boundaries for postdocs. To be reimbursed for university-sponsored travel, faculty, staff, and postdoctoral scholars must use the Stanford Travel Booking Channels and comply with all instructions when booking relocation services, airfare, hotels, and/or car rentals (with limited exceptions). Complete policy details are available in the Business and Travel Expense Policies overview. Best practices include talking with the departmental finance managers and your PI before traveling.


Additional Suggestions for Postdoc Onboarding & Orientation Success:

  • Prepare a new postdoc folder that includes the essential information—including a campus map, building/facility map, emergency contacts, etc.
  • Encourage your new postdoc(s) to get involved with SURPAS (Stanford University Postdoctoral Association). All Stanford postdocs are welcome to participate in SURPAS events, committees, and council meetings.
  • In addition to the various SURPAS programs, OPA also has partnerships to support postdoc affinity groups on campus.
  • What are the particular needs you have seen your international postdocs have upon arrival? Include information such as shopping, credit cards, and consult the Bechtel website for resources and events for new students and scholars.
  • Have a 30-minute appointment with your new postdoc and schedule it prior to their arrival. Go through your checklist and the contents of your folder. Give your postdoc their Stanford ID number and direct them to get their Stanford ID Card right away.
  • Recommend that your postdocs register at the Respectful Workplace Training (via AXESS)—offered quarterly by HR at the SoM.
  • Be sure to ask if they have any pertinent questions.
  • Explain when they could come to you for assistance and tell them about the people and offices that support postdocs.
  • Share the:  Stanford New Postdoc Pre-Onboarding Checklist Guide.