Faculty Mentors

This page contains some suggestions and resources that may be helpful to faculty mentors. The Director of Postdoctoral Affairs, Jenny Hoit, is also available to provide additional information and individual consultations (hoit@email.arizona.edu).

Before Your Postdoc Arrives

If your postdoc is international, point out the International Faculty and Scholars section of the Global Initiatives website.

Keep in touch after hiring your incoming postdoc and before his/her arrival to UA.

Introduce your postdoc to other postdocs in the department and university. Also inform the new postdoc about the UA Postdoctoral Association, which represents the UA postdoc community.

Point out the Postdoctoral Affairs website to be sure the new postdoc is aware of university-wide resources and support.

Send a digital version of the Postdoctoral Affairs flyer to your incoming postdoc. Find the flyer here.

After Your Postdoc Arrives

Establish open and regular communication. It is often a good idea to set a regular meeting schedule to be sure the postdoc gets off to a good start and stays on track throughout the postdoc years. 

Be sure your postdoc understands university, departmental, and/or laboratory rules, policies, and benefits. Different laboratories are overseen by different agencies and have different compliance regulations (see RDI compliance policies), some may require responsible conduct in research (RCR) training (learn more about the RCR certificate), and some may have their own rules and policies in place. Because postdocs can be hired into different types of job positions, these positions may carry different university benefits (see our human resources page). 

Consider creating an Individual Development Plan (IDP). Although the UA does not require postdocs to create and submit an IDP as some other universities do, we recognize that this can be an effective strategy for establishing mutually agreed-upon goals and communicating expectations clearly in writing. You can find resources for creating an IDP here.

Discuss authorship criteria. Authorship can be a sticky issue, in part because different mentors have different criteria for what types of contributions deserve authorship. An effective way to avoid future disagreements and misunderstandings is to discuss authorship criteria before the research begins.

Discuss career goals and help your postdoc obtain the experience necessary to attain those goals. For those who have aspirations to pursue a career in teaching, you may be able to offer them some mentored teaching experiences; also, there are campus resources that may be useful (See Teaching Resources). For those postdocs who are more interested in a nonacademic career, you may be able to offer them advice and networking opportunities; there are also campus workshops and resources that may prove helpful (Career Preparation and Events).

Provide professional development opportunities that are applicable to your discipline and your postdoc’s career goals. Examples include opportunities to write grants, give oral presentations, teach, mentor students, develop an effective CV/resume, and refine interviewing and networking skills. You may be able to provide these opportunities; you may also direct the postdoc to the Postdoctoral Professional Development Certificate.

Additional Resources

NPA Core Competencies for Postdoctoral Scholars

NPA Mentoring Plans for Postdoctoral Scholars

Shaping Your Postdocs (The Scientist, Sept 2010)