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Comments from Post-Docs on Representation

Post-Docs were asked about alignment with either  the Faculty Senate or the GPSA.


Last Updated: August 21, 2018 at 5:19 am


  1. In my department, post-docs are called faculty and have most of the rights and responsibilities, including teaching, accorded to nontenure track lecturers. I would agree an academic-discipline group would best represent. On the other hand, it would be a pleasure to see all employees (tenure track, non TT, physical plant) coming together to understand common concerns, which are probably more present than we tend to talk about

  2. It would be a good idea to form the postdoc assembly since postdoc is similar to graduate students and faculties, but they are also different. An assembly specifically consisting of postdocs will be able to better address the needs of postdocs.

  3. I think we should belong to the Faulty Senate. It may be easier, however, to place us with the graduate students (GPSA).

    That would be my second choice.

  4. I would like to see post-docs represented through the faculty senate. This would go a long way towards bolstering the self-consciousness of post-docs as academics, and make a move away from the idea of post-docs as employees that simply fill necessary institutional functions.

    1. I agree with this!

    2. Second that

    3. Also in agreement with this!

    4. Being represented through the faculty senate could cause many problems for postdocs, mainly because our employers would be representing us and would likely vote in they’re best interests and now ours.

  5. I also would like to see post-docs represented through the faculty senate. Postdocs are NOT graduate students, nor are we departmental staff. As mentioned above, have many of the same responsibilities as faculty, including teaching. Most postdocs also should be considered Visiting Assistant Professorships; as such, we should be placed with faculty.

  6. I do not fully agree with any of the choices put forward in this consultation.

    In fact, all of the 1020 academic professionals, who are all people with similar interests and who share some duties with faculties, should be represented together in a brand new body. Postdocs would be well-represented in such a body, which would have much more weight than if it represented postdocs alone.

    Postdocs’ interests are most closely aligned with that of the GPSA, but their duties are most closely aligned with that of faculty. Therefore, representation in any of these two bodies, although more appropriate than the current representation in the employee assembly, would be inadequate.

    1. I agree with this and also want to point out that having faculty represent us could do us harm as we are often employed by them they would probably vote in their own interests and not ours.

  7. Postdocs’ interests are aligned with those of the 1,020 academic professionals, most of whom (like postdocs) carry out some of the same responsibilities as faculty. There should be a new assembly representing postdocs + academic professionals.

    Being in the same assembly as faculty ignores the fact that faculty members’ interests may not always be aligned with postdocs’. Being in the same assembly as graduate and professional students would drown out our voices and ensure that issues specific to postdocs remain unaddressed.

  8. A separate postdoc assembly is unlikely to have long-term efficacy or consistency, and it is too small to have bargaining power. Despite the fact that our career trajectory (hopefully) points toward tenure-track faculty, and that many of us would like to think of ourselves as faculty, our interests as postdocs do not currently align with those of the faculty. I agree that they instead align most closely with the 1,020 academic professionals. A joint assembly of academic professionals and postdocs would be roughly the same size as the faculty senate and should have considerable bargaining clout.

  9. EA should be divided into two: nonacademic and academic (1020+550) staff. Responsibilities and interests of postdocs align perfectly with instructional and/or research staff. I think the real question is, should academic staff be a separate assembly or should it go under the faculty senate?

  10. I agree with the previously voiced suggestion of a joint assembly of academic professionals and postdocs. It makes sense to represent non-tenure-track academic staff separately from both tenure-track faculty and non-academic staff as there are differences in the interests and situations of those three groups. I understand the logic of including postdocs in the faculty senate, especially in those cases where postdocs have teaching responsibilities. However, I worry that being vastly outnumbered by tenure-track and tenured faculty would mean our voices were not heard and our unique situation not addressed.

    I strongly disagree with folding postdocs in with the graduate and professional students. Th0ugh we are meant to receive training as postdocs, I think it is important to make it clear we are not students. We are staff!

  11. Postdocs are basically cheap labor for high quality research without getting any financial or research recognition. Since, increasing postdocs’ salary seems to be the most impossible task in any university, I suggest that if they contribute in writing grants, their effort get recognized by being an official co-PI on those grants. This will at least help them for the academic carrier.

  12. There is an identity issues for most of the post-docs. They’re neither a faculty or a graduate students creating a communication gap. I think more collaboration possibilities might be helpful to incorporate post-docs into the fold.

  13. In my opinion, having a separate postdoc assembly will definitely represent our own interests, but I do agree that such an assembly will have close to zero bargaining power. I am STRONGLY against having postdocs represented by the faculty because in many cases a faculty is literally like an employer to postdocs. Therefore, the interests of faculty and postdocs usually do not align. I also do not feel that we should be represented through student assemblies simply because we are not students and they are not employees of the school. I favor a joint assembly of academic professionals and postdocs because I do feel this is the best and most practical way to make our voice heard. If that is unlikely to happen, my second choice would be the employee assembly.

  14. I think postdocs are in a unique position to all others on campus and their job responsibilities and security vary widely compared to many other positions. I feel like being represented by the employee assembly is not ideal because there are few postdocs to many other types of staff who’s interests are nowhere near aligned with our own. Some of our interests may align more with grad students or faculty depending on the situation, making it difficult to judge if getting representation from either of these groups would be effective. And conflicts could definitely arise if we were represented by faculty who employ us and often times pay our salary. I’m in favor of either having our own representation and voice on campus or aligning with other academic non-tenure track staff. I’m not in favor of being represented by the employee assembly as a whole, by the faculty assembly or the grad student assembly.

  15. I don’t think you should restrict this discussion to post-docs. As indicated above, there are a lot of academic staff, particularly at my college, who feel disenfranchised and that they do not have a voice through the senate, which is restricted to tenured faculty.

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