The University of Colorado Denver recently ranked seventh in The Scientist’s eighth annual Best Places to Work for Postdocs survey. CU Denver ranked 62nd in 2009.
The Scientist noted that this year’s top institutions were recognized for supporting family values, encouraging a personal life outside of the lab, and offering a benefit package whereas in 2009, high ranking institutions were recognized mostly for funding.
The rankings were based on 11 individual criteria. CU Denver ranked in the top three in Quality of Communication, Networking Opportunities, and Family and Personal Life.
“The advancement of the University into the top 10 places to be a postdoc in the United States corresponds almost exactly to the first year of operation of the Postdoctoral Office at CU Denver,” said John Freed, PhD, Dean of the Graduate School.
The Postdoctoral Office has played a significance role in the University’s survey results.
“Valerie Saltou, postdoctoral coordinator, began by working with Human Resources to standardize hiring and evaluation processes for Postdocs,” said Freed. “This resulted in an increase of about $4,800 in median postdoc salary.” Freed added that he looks forward to the continued collaboration between the Postdoctoral Office and the newly chartered Postdoctoral Association to improve the broader learning opportunities for Postdocs at CU Denver.
“The new campus with its new state-of-the-art facilities, the institution of and implementation of new policies regarding postdoctoral employment and the ‘community building’ that has occurred within the past year has had a lot to do with the responses to the survey,” said Saltou.
In just one year the Postdoctoral Office has had many accomplishments including:
• Creating the means to communicate and regularly send the latest information to all postdocs, mentors, and administrative units employing postdocs about employment policy, funding opportunities, job postings, training offerings, and a host of miscellaneous items pertinent to the research community.
• Establishing routine annual evaluation criteria and procedures for postdocs accompanied by opportunity for salary increases.
• Publishing a “from scratch” website (as none existed before), and one that already gives evidence of out-of-state hits – good for recruitment.
• Encouraging and facilitating the organization of a Postdoctoral Association, which succeeded within this first year to produce a Charter for structure, gained campus recognition, provided half a dozen training and social events, created a web forum for postdocs to interact, and established fund-raising for the Association’s future.
More recently, the Postdoctoral Office in collaboration with the Postdoctoral Association has been sponsoring career development opportunities on campus. The highlight of this year is the planned, first-ever Postdoc Research Day on May 14. It will showcase what the research postdocs are doing to foster discussion and the exchange of ideas between departments that may allow for program enhancements and collaboration.