Memorandum: Postdoctoral scholar access to Career Services (11-08-2007)

TO: University of California (UC) Career Services and Center Directors; and
Valery Oehler, Associate Director, Campus Life, UCOP.
FROM: UC Council of Postdoctoral Scholars (CPS);
DATE: November 8, 2007
SUBJECT: Postdoctoral scholar access to Career Services

The CPS is expressing the desire of UC postdoctoral scholars to access services and resources of campus Career Centers. Currently, such access varies considerably from campus to campus. Our motivation is reflected in recent national reports recommending that postdoctoral scientists should receive improved career advising, mentoring, and skills training (1, 2). We note that some UC peer institutions offer postdoctoral scholars full access to career services (3). Each UC campus should also strive to remain competitive in recruiting and retaining postdoctoral scholars since they are an integral part of an institution’s research success (1). Finally, we surmise that if the UC system establishes a standard for Career Center openness, then the national affect may have a profound impact on the careers of UC Ph.D. graduates who pursue postdoctoral training elsewhere.

Therefore, the CPS would like to work collaboratively with UC Career Center Directors toward the following goals for postdoc access to:

  • programming events such as career workshops, panels, and job fairs;

  • individual counseling sessions; and
  • resources such as employer and alumni contact networks.

Initial objectives requiring minimal resources could include the following:

  • the development of an action plan for delivering career services to postdocs,

  • opening job notice databases to postdocs,
  • making available career networking databases to postdocs, and
  • allowing, on a trail basis, access to programming events to a limited number of postdocs who are active as campus Postdoctoral Scholar Association leaders.

We recognize that a lack of funds and personnel currently limit the ability of Career Centers to provide full services to all postdocs. Thus, CPS suggests opening a dialog with the Career Center Directors and the UC President's Office to identify budgetary, personnel, and administrative needs in order to achieve the aforementioned goals. We anticipate that the last objective described above would motivate postdoc leaders to champion these issues with the appropriate stakeholders to bring career services to all UC postdocs.

Follow up communications should be directed to the current CPS Chair, Jason Triplett (UC-Santa Cruz postdoc) at jwtriple[AT]ucsc[DOT]edu.

Note that the next CPS meeting is scheduled for January 2008 at UCLA.

1. Sigma Xi postdoc survey, 2005;
2. Bridges to Independence: Fostering the Independence of New Investigators in Biomedical Research, National Academies Press, 2005
3. Caltech, Rice Univ., Stanford Univ., UC-Davis, UCSF, Univ. of Alberta, Univ. of Chicago, Univ. of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, and Washington Univ. in St. Louis. Responses to informal survey at:

Prepared by Alberto Roca (UCI), Ajaykumar Gopal (UCLA), Markus Kaufmann (UCLA), and Jason Triplett (UCSC).