What we do

About UArizona Postdoctoral Affairs

The University of Arizona (UArizona) office of Postdoctoral Affairs was established in 2017. It is housed under Research, Innovation, and Impact (RII), receives additional support from the Graduate College, and serves the approximately 500 postdoctoral scholars on the Tucson and Phoenix campuses. Its mission is to (1) advance postdoctoral scholars by providing career and professional development resources, fostering an inclusive academic community, and promoting excellence in research, discovery, and innovation across campus, and (2) support faculty in their role as postdoctoral mentors.

UArizona Postdoctoral Affairs offers postdoctoral scholars (postdocs) with a broad range of resources to support their professional development and career advancement. Some of these resources are provided exclusively by Postdoctoral Affairs, some are provided in collaboration with other units on campus (e.g., Graduate Center, Office of Instruction & Assessment, Research Development Services, Libraries, Think Tank, Writing Skills Improvement Program, etc.), and some are provided exclusively by other units and made available through Postdoctoral Affairs. These resources are described below.

A wide variety of professional development workshops are routinely available to postdocs. These are specifically designed or selected for postdocs and are posted on the Postdoctoral Affairs website calendar and announced at the beginning of each week in an email that goes out to the postdoc listserv. Postdocs can earn a professional development certificate by attending a required number of workshops. Examples of topics covered in workshops are:

  • How to write a postdoctoral Individual Development Plan
  • How to construct an effective curriculum vitae or resume
  • How to write a successful grant proposal (general, NIH, NSF)
  • Research ethics education
  • Data management and data science workshops and individual sessions
  • Effective teaching and mentoring strategies and how to create a teaching portfolio
  • How to prepare application materials for faculty positions, including research statements, teaching statements, diversity statements, and cover letters
  • How to prepare for careers outside of academia (industry, government, nonprofit, etc.), including etc.), including professional image and network building, job searching strategies, and targeted application materials
  • Effective interviewing and negotiating for academic positions and jobs outside academia
  • Maintaining a healthy work-life balance and other wellness-related topics

Postdocs have access to one-on-one consultation and counseling from the Director of Postdoctoral Affairs on professional and personal issues related to the postdoctoral experience, advice and feedback on grant proposals and job application materials, and referral to other experts who can support their professional and career aspirations. In addition, postdocs have access to one-on-one guidance from the PhD Career Counselor regarding job search strategies, preparation of application materials, interviewing, and negotiation. Other resources include regular postdoc orientations (for newcomers), weekly sponsored writing sessions that include the services of a writing specialist, and peer and faculty CV/resume editing sessions.

Postdoctoral Affairs offers intramural funding and award opportunities for postdocs. Each year, several Postdoctoral Research Development Grants (to support independent research projects and specialized research training) and Small Events Grants (to support postdoc-created events that serve the UArizona postdoc community) are conferred. Two awards are offered each year: the Outstanding Postdoctoral Scholar Award (to recognize a postdoc who has made significant contributions while at UArizona in research, teaching/mentoring, and/or service) and the Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring (to recognize a faculty member who provides exemplary mentoring to postdocs).

Finally, personnel in Postdoctoral Affairs serve as advocates for the postdoc community. They communicate with upper administration about postdoc concerns, facilitate interaction among postdocs across departments and campuses, and highlight the accomplishments of UArizona postdocs through stories published on the website and through social media.