A good mentoring relationship is crucial to the success of postdoctoral scholars as they develop original research ideas and move toward greater independence and maturity. Mentoring the next generation of researchers is a shared professional responsibility of all scientists.
Postdocs are Represented Employees
The Postdoc Office strongly suggests that all faculty members familiarize themselves with the bargaining agreement between UC and UAW, the union representing postdocs, to make sure that they comply with all the requirements of the contract.
Especially important requirements to bear in mind:
• The terms of the union contract—including mandatory annual salary increases and eligibility for postdoc benefits—apply to ALL postdocs, not only postdoc employees, but also those who are paid through fellowships or organizations outside of UCSF.
• Faculty mentors must make clear the goals, objectives, and expectations of the training program and the responsibilities of their postdoc mentees.
• Written annual progress assessments are required by contract. The Postdoc Office has developed a "Postdoctoral Scholar Annual Review" form with guidelines.
• Postdocs may only be dismissed for certain reasons, and specific procedures must be followed. In almost all cases, postdocs must be given time to correct any shortcomings. Work closely with your HR administrator and/or contact the Postdoc Office for guidance.
• Remember that the union contract carries the weight of law. If the University does not comply with all of the terms of the contract, there may be very expensive legal ramifications.
• Encourage all postdocs to use an Individual Development Plan! Research by Sigma Xi has shown that postdocs who complete an Individual Development Plan to set research and career goals and to mark progress are more productive, have less conflict with their mentors, and are more satisfied with their postdoc experience. Do yourself and your postdocs a favor—join the Postdoc Office in encouraging them to complete an IDP with you early in their postdoc appointment.
• Review further UCSF Guidelines for Mentoring Postdocs.