Strategies for Increasing the Visibility of the Office for Postdoctoral Fellows

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Information about Strategies for Increasing the Visibility of the Office for Postdoctoral...

Published on February 18, 2014

Author: JamesGouldPhD



At the 10th Annual National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) meeting (San Francisco, 2012) we won the best poster award.

Strategies  for  Increasing  the  Visibility  of  the  Office  for  Postdoctoral  Fellows   Leigh  Melanson  and  James  Gould,  PhD    Harvard  Medical  School,  Boston,  MA   Web:;  Email:;  TwiIer:  @HMSpostdoc   2.  Branding   4.  Outreach   Local   Introduc;on     •  Postdoc  Office  Consor0um  in  the   Longwood  Medical  Area   •  Service  in  the  Community   Building   a   strong   reputa0on   and   gaining   visibility   in   the   community   is   a   challenge   faced   by   most   postdoc   offices.   The   HMS/HSDM   Office   for   Postdoctoral   Fellows   was   established   a   number   of   years   ago   and   has   built   a   strong   founda0on   of   programming.   Despite   major   advances,   our   office   was   s0ll   under-­‐recognized   and   we   sought   to   address   this   by   reexamining   and   strengthening  our  approaches  to  branding,  community  building,  and  outreach.   While  these  strategies  are  rather  obvious,  their  implementa0on  is  not  always   straighJorward.   We   have   con0nued   to   evolve   while   building   credibility   with   postdocs   and   the   academic   community.   By   concentra0ng   our   marke0ng   efforts   on   reaching   postdocs,   departments,   and   faculty,   we   have   begun   to   realize  the  full  poten0al  of  the  Office  for  Postdoctoral  Fellows.   Digital   Print   •   Listserv   •   Website   •   NewsleZer   •   Flyers   •   Posters   •   Handouts   Social   Media   Alumni   •   TwiZer   •   LinkedIn   Na4onal   Consistent  Mission  and  Message   •   HMS/HSDM  Postdoc  Associa0on     •   Career  Discussion  Hour  speakers   •   LinkedIn  Postdoc  Networking   Group   •   Na0onal  Postdoctoral  Associa0on   •   Associa0on  for  Women  is  Science   •   AAAS  and  Scien0fic  Socie0es     Ensure  that  the  office  is  connected  to  the  greater  training  community.   Raising  Visibility  &  Awareness   •  Create  quality   programs  that   add  value  to  the   postdoc   experience.   •  Broadcast  a   consistent   message  across   diverse  mediums.      Developing   Programs   Outreach   Effec0ve  branding  and  public  rela0ons  requires  delivering  a  coherent   and  focused  message  without  flooding  the  target  audience.   5.  Tools  for  Evalua;on  &  Feedback   •  SurveyMonkey   evalua;ons   •  Tracking                 event   registra;on   Branding   Developing   Programs   •  Build  partnerships   and  collaborate   within  the   ins;tu;on.   Branding   Outreach   Community   Building   •  Become  involved   with  the   community,   locally  and   na;onally.   •  Google         Analy;cs  of   website  traffic   Community   Building     •  LinkedIn            Group           Sta;s;cs   •  Exit  Survey   Establish  a  strong  founda0on,  build  incrementally,  set  feasible  goals,  compliment   exis0ng  programming  and  focus  on  impact.     •   Faculty       Advisory   CommiVee   •  Postdoc   Associa;on   Rou0nely  assess  progress  while  responding  quickly  to  feedback  and  sugges0ons.     1.  Developing  Programs   Skills  Development   •   Publishing,  grantsmanship,  &  collabora0on   •   Orienta0on,  mentoring,  &  management   Career  Development   •   Academic  Job  Search  Series   •   Career  Discussion  Hour   •   Applica0on  material  cri0que   Social  &  Networking   •   Postdoc  Movie  Night   •   Summer  Fun  Series   Offer  0mely  and  prac0cal  programming  that  adds  value  to  the  postdoc   experience  while  evolving  with  the  ever-­‐changing  training  landscape.   Our  strategy  has  been  to  build  programs  in  the  three  key  areas   outlined  above.   3.  Community  Building   Iden0fy  and   connect  with   postdocs   Human  Resources:  How   are  postdocs  hired  and   tracked?  What  is  their   employee  classifica0on?   Are  they  benefits  eligible?   Informa;on  Technology:   Work  together  to  develop   a  listserv.  Create  a  postdoc   database  you  can  access.   Communica;ons:  How  do   they  reach  out  to  the   community?  Do  they   communicate  with   postdocs?   Assess  and  build   resources  for   postdocs   Develop   partnerships  and   collabora0ons   Department  Admin:   Assess  the  level  of  postdoc   support  at  the   departmental  level.     Career  Services:  Establish   rela0onships  with   counterpart  offices  to   enhance  programming  and   support.   Principal  Inves;gators:   Determine  the  resources   available  in  the  lab.   Encourage  PI’s  to   administer  IDP’s.   Departmental  &   Ins;tu;onal  Research   Offices:  Foster   collabora0ons  that  provide   opportuni0es  for  growth   and  skills  development.   Postdocs:  Iden0fy  and   address  gaps  in  training   and  career  development.     Faculty  and  Staff:  Invite   faculty  and  staff  to   par0cipate  in  seminars,   workshops,  and  program   development.   Forge  an  ins0tu0onal  network  that  enhances  and  highlights  the   ac0vi0es  of  the  Office  for  Postdoctoral  Fellows.     •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  Summary   Establish  a  strong  founda0on  of  programming  that  adds  value.   Set  feasible  goals  and  focus  on  impact.     Deliver  a  coherent  and  focused  message.   Forge  an  ins0tu0onal  network  that  enhances  and  highlights  the   ac0vi0es  of  the  office.   Seek  to  strengthen  rela0onships  with  the  basic  science  departments   and  their  administrators.   Ensure  that  the  office  is  connected  to  the  greater  training  community.   Create  forums  that  recognize  the  value  and  promote  the  work  of  the   postdoc  community.   Emphasize  faculty  and  principal  inves0gator  inclusion.     Implement  assessment  tools  to  evaluate  progress  and  respond  to   needs.    

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