This year's top institutions were recognized for supporting family values, encouraging a personal life outside of the lab, and offering a benefit package, noted The Scientist. In 2009, high ranking institutions were recognized mostly for funding.
The rankings were based on 11 individual criteria. UC 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 UC Denver," said John Freed, dean of the graduate school.
"Valerie Saltou, postdoctoral coordinator, began by working with human resources to standardize hiring and evaluation processes for postdocs," Freed said. "This resulted in an increase of about $4,800 in median postdoc salary." Freed said he looks forward to the continued collaboration between the Postdoctoral Office and the newly chartered Postdoctoral Association to improve learning opportunities for postdocs at UC 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," Saltou said.
In just one year the Postdoctoral Office has recorded 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 one "from scratch" Web site and another that provides evidence of out-of-state hits, which is 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 fundraising for the association's future.
More recently, the Postdoctoral Office in collaboration with the Postdoctoral Association sponsored career development opportunities on campus. The first Postdoc Research Day on May 14 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.