Postdoc Survival Guide
New and newly accepted postdoctoral applicants may have questions about OSU, and the orientation process. To have these questions answered and more, please download our Postdoc Survival Guide
Postdocs should visit with their mentors and others in their workplace to learn about relevant professional organizations. Professional organizations, often organized around academic disciplines or research interests, sponsor journals of special interest to scientists and hold meetings that provide opportunities for scientists to present talks and poster sessions. The networking opportunities enrich the research experience, enhance research skills, and provide information about jobs that are available upon the completion of the postdoc training period.
Oregon State University's Resources
Your mentor can help you identify research resources that support your work. In addition, several resources on the OSU campus are available to support faculty, postdocs, and students. Three examples are:
- The Valley Library provides a wide variety of resources. Visit its web site, stop by the library, and ask your mentor which of the resources best support your training acativities. For example, you may find some of the workshops offered to enrich your research activities.
- The Center for Writing and Learning offers free help with any writing task at any stage of the writing process and is open to all OSU students, as well as to staff, faculty, and members of the Corvallis community. Writing assistants can help with all aspects of the writing process from brainstorming and organization, to questions of grammar and usage. Postdocs should visit with their mentors to deterrmine whether assistance in writing skills might enhance their research training experience.
- The Center for Teaching and Learning supports Oregon State University faculty, graduate teaching assistants, departments and colleges achieve professional excellence in teaching and learning by encouraging and facilitating the scholarship of teaching and learning. Although most postdoc training focuses on research activity, some postdocs may participate in instruction. Ask your mentor whether your training plan is expected to include any instruction.
Online Mentoring Resources
Many online resources are now available relating to mentoring. Below are a few examples:
- National Academy of Sciences Report, "Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers: A Guide for Postdoctoral Scholars, Advisers, Institutions, Funding Organizations, and Disciplinary Societies," 2000. (available to read free online )
- "Learning to Mentor," by Virginia Gewin, on naturejobs.com
- The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Individual Development Plan for Postdoctoral Fellows and Policy Statement (pdfs).
- HHMI Lab Management which includes a pdf entitled Entering Mentoring.
- Guidelines for Mentoring Postdocs by the University of California, San Francisco.
- Mentoring Standards prepared by the Gladstone Institutes, based largely on guidelines set by the NIH.
- Resources for the Development of Early-Career Scientists.
- Mentoring and PI Productivity, which is a Science magazine article that explains why mentoring isn't just for the benefit of the postdoc: "Excellent mentoring attracts excellent postdocs, and postdoc alumni in good careers...make a lab look good."
- A Pinch of This, a Dash of That--Ingredients for Good Mentoring, which is another Science article on the qualities of a good mentor.
- Advisor, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On Being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering: A report by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.
The National Postdoctoral Association (NPA)
The National Postdoctoral Association was formed to assist postdocs, postdoc mentors, and administrators. The NPA provides useful information on a wide variety of topics. Because Oregon State University is a sustaining member of the NPA, OSU faculty, staff, and postdocs at Oregon State University may apply for free affiliate membership. Information on membership is available on their web page. Once you navigate to the web page, choose the membership link.
The NPA web site is divided into sections for faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and supporters. The NPA has a diversity officer who develops special programs to address diversity issues. An explanation and a link to the diversity officer can be found by choosing the diversity tab on the NPA web page. The NPA also has international officers. Learn more about them by choosing the international issues tab. International postdocs may be especially interested in the International Postdoc Survival Guide.
Although some content can be viewed by anyone, OSU faculty, staff, and postdocs are encouraged to apply for affiliate membership. To further support the organization, you should consider obtaining a full membership for yourself.