The postdoctoral experience marks the pivotal transition for postdocs from that of trainee to becoming an independent researcher. Faculty advisors play critical roles at this stage in the professional development of postdoctoral scholars. Your goal as faculty advisor is to enable your scholars to leave your research programs as productive, independent researchers. Success for new independent investigators requires many different skills that extend well beyond the lab bench.
It is important for faculty to develop strong mentoring skills, yet today's academic environment places increasing demands on faculty time. The Office of Postdoctoral Scholars will strive to provide faculty with information and resources to promote best practices in mentoring their postdoctoral scholars.
The "Compact Between Postdoctoral Appointees & Their Mentors" was published by the Group on Graduate Research, Education, and Training (GREAT) of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in 2006 and is broadly relevant to postdoctoral training across disciplines beyond the biomedical life sciences. This short document provides a thoughtful description of the mutual responsibilities for both postdoctoral scholars and postdoctoral advisors.
The National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) began in 2002 with a steering committee that grew out of Science's NextWave Postdoc Network. The University of Iowa is a Sustaining Member of the NPA. This organization forged strong collaborations with research institutions, postdoctoral affairs offices, postdoctoral associations (PDAs), professional organizations, and scientific funding agencies. Through these partnerships, the NPA strives to "advance the U.S. research enterprise by maximizing the effectiveness of the research community and enhancing the quality of the postdoctoral experience for all participants."
Shaping Your Postdocs (The Scientist - v.24, issue 9, p. 72)