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Postdoctoral Researcher Employment

Policy
Purpose: 

As a member of the American Association of Universities, the University of Kansas furthers its research and instructional mission by engaging the services of Postdoctoral Researchers (Post Docs). This policy governs the nature of that employment as unclassified professional staff. The policy also provides related considerations about non-employee Postdoctoral Fellows (see Definitions below).

Applies to: 

Any paid employment as a Postdoctoral Researcher (Post Doc)

Campus: 
Lawrence
Edwards
Parsons
Juniper Gardens
Yoder
Topeka
Policy Statement: 

Nature of Job Duties: The job responsibilities include the pursuit of an individualized program of advanced training in research, in teaching on a limited basis, or other important aspects of academic work, or in any combination of these activities. A Postdoctoral Researcher (Post Doc) is considered to be serving in an “apprentice” role to more senior research mentors. A job title summary for Post Docs is available on the Human Resource Management (HRM) website at: http://humanresources.drupal.ku.edu/job-title-table.

Eligibility and Qualifications Required upon Hire: A Post Doc requires a doctoral degree as documented by a diploma or by certified transcript indicating doctorate earned by the time of hire or not to exceed 6 months from the date of hire. Appointments made without a diploma or certified transcript indicating an earned doctorate are conditional hires that will be identified as “Acting” and terminated at the end of 6 months if the required documentation of an earned doctorate is not provided.

An individual who has previously served as a postdoctoral fellow or researcher for a total of 5 years at this University is not eligible. In addition, an individual is not eligible for this position who previously has served as a postdoctoral fellow or postdoctoral researcher for a combination of 5 years total at this institution and at other institutions in programs of postdoctoral training in the same field as his/her proposed additional program of training. Such individuals are presumed to have advanced beyond the apprentice role appropriate to the postdoctoral researcher job title.

A one-time extension of one additional year may be granted under extenuating circumstances when properly justified in a written request. Units that wish to hire Post Docs who may have served in postdoctoral appointments in other fields for more than 5 years must also provide a written request with justification as to why an additional mentorship as a Post Doc at KU is warranted.  In both circumstances the written requests with the endorsement of the Chair/Director of the unit should be submitted to the Vice Chancellor for Research and copied to HRM. The Vice Chancellor for Research or his/her designee will have the final approval decision on these requests and will inform the HRM when extensions or additional postdoctoral appointments have been approved.

Conditions of Employment: This position is a limited term appointment with duration of 1 to 5 years. An extension or an exception to this appointment limitation may be requested for one year only and submitted via administrative channels for review and possible approval by the Vice Chancellor for Research as appropriate, and HRM. The individual circumstances of the request will be taken into consideration on a case-by-case basis to make the decision regarding the one year maximum extension.

Role of Faculty Mentor: Mentor responsibilities include not only research related training, but also in all aspects of professional development. Such responsibilities may include, but are not limited to: teaching, grant writing, team building, handling of intellectual property, giving advice on publications, making sure that the Post Doc can appropriately present his/her research, supervising students and/or staff, advising on alternative career paths, and in particular ensuring that the postdoc receives appropriate credit for his/her research. Mentors not only should be available to give advice to Post Docs, but should actively support their development as future colleagues.

Employment Policies, Processes and Programs: As unclassified professional staff, Post Docs are subject to all applicable State of Kansas, Kansas Board of Regents, and University policies and processes related to their employment. A few of those include: recruitment and selection, work eligibility, salary ranges and salary increases, performance evaluations, leaves, benefits, promotion, notice of non-reappointment, dismissal, intellectual property agreements, etc. Please see the “Related Policies” section below to access other pertinent policies.

Eligibility for Other KU Employment: Individuals holding Post Doc appointments are eligible to compete for unclassified professional or academic staff research job vacancies, or for faculty vacancies. A search is required for the individuals who have served KU as a Post Doc in order to continue their employment with the University in another capacity.

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

Other Postdoctoral, Teaching Appointments: This policy shall not apply to individuals who are appointed as Visiting Assistant Professors or another non-tenure track faculty positions which are subject to policies applicable to non-tenure track faculty.

Visiting Assistant Professor (including those with a working title of Teaching Post Docs or Teaching Fellows) – (employee): This is a non-tenure track faculty position which is not eligible for sabbatical. Performs instruction and may also perform some research in an institution of higher education. Job title may also be utilized for Post-Docs whose primary role is teaching or who have certain appointments that specify substantial amount of teaching and research comparable to that of regular faculty. Position is limited term for no more than 3 years and is not eligible for reappointment. Ph.D. is required or equivalent terminal degree.

Postdoctoral Fellow (non-employee):  The University encourages both employees and departments to seek postdoctoral fellowships.  At the University of Kansas, a Postdoctoral Fellow (fellow) is the recipient of a fellowship or training award provided specifically for a particular field of study or training. Support is provided in the form of a stipend, and the fellowship is processed through the University’s financial system rather than through the payroll system. While the individual awarded such fellowships is not considered an employee, the provisions of the specific fellowship, the nature of other employment relationships, and the association with the University may provide services and benefits comparable to those of an employee.

The following provisions apply to Postdoctoral Fellows:

  • General KU Eligibility Criteria: While eligibility criteria are established by the specific fellowship received, the University has some additional eligibility requirements. No service to the University is required as a condition of receiving the stipend; although services or collaborative research may be rendered incidentally as part of the training or fellowship program. A postdoctoral fellowship is awarded to an individual who has a doctoral degree as documented by a diploma or by certified transcript indicating doctorate earned. Postdoctoral Fellows are required to complete non-disclosure and intellectual property agreements upon confirmation of their association with the University with the completion of their affiliate data sheet.
  • International Postdoctoral Fellows and Researchers: International Post Docs should always consult an advisor in International Scholar Services prior to making any transition from postdoctoral fellow to post-doctoral researcher status (or vice versa). Such changes may substantially impact visa status eligibility, insurance coverage, and salary requirements. For example, international Post Docs (employees) in H-1B status are not eligible to convert their status to that of a Postdoctoral Fellow (non-employee) without a requisite change in the scholar’s visa status. To do so would be a violation of immigration status and would require departure from the United States.
  • Access to Campus Services: Postdoctoral fellows will be designated as an “affiliate” adjunct researcher. Upon obtaining a KU ID, affiliates receive University services comparable to that of an employee (e.g. online services, email, libraries services, KU ID, recreation center access, parking permits, access to Watkins Health Services). Information about services provided to affiliates and the affiliate data sheet to obtain those services are provided on the HRM website at: http://humanresources.drupal.ku.edu/affiliates-and-volunteers-overview
    Campus departments with Post Doc Fellows must submit an affiliate data sheet to Vice Chancellor for Research for approval. Affiliates are designated on a one year basis so that designation must be annually renewed with an affiliate data sheet. The Fellow’s affiliate status with KU will be terminated when the fellowship ends.
  • Other Services/Benefits: The specific provisions of the fellowship and/or employment arrangements with agencies/sponsors providing the fellowship may offer additional benefits to Postdoctoral Fellows. Such agreements may include provisions for leave, reimbursement to pay health insurance expenses, etc. Postdoctoral fellows are not eligible for coverage by the University’s student health insurance program. Although fellows are not eligible for other University-sponsored benefits provided to employees, (e.g. faculty/staff health insurance, retirement programs, sick and vacation leave, etc.) the University has established mechanisms to obtain health insurance coverage in particular cases. In addition, Postdoctoral Fellows who were University of Kansas employees at the time of accepting a fellowship can apply for official Leave-Without-Pay status through the University. If granted, the employee will be eligible to continue health insurance coverage on a direct-bill option, paying both the employee and employer costs. The University will provide an additional payment directly to the Fellow on a monthly basis from unrestricted funds to cover the employer costs of the health insurance during the fellowship period. For full details see the Policy on Post Doctoral Fellowship Payment Benefit Considerations: http://policy.ku.edu/research/postdoctoral-fellowship-payment-benefit-consideration.
    Fellows and departments are encouraged to contact the Vice Chancellor for Research well ahead of the fellowship starting date for information about health insurance programs and to discuss any possibility of special arrangements.
Contact: 

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
Youngberg Hall
2385 Irving Hill Rd.
Lawrence, KS 66045
785-864-3441
KURES@ku.edu 

Human Resource Management
103 Carruth-O’Leary Hall
1246 W. Campus Road
Lawrence, KS 66045
785-864-4946
hrdept@ku.edu

Approved by: 
Vice Chancellor for Research
Approved on: 
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Effective on: 
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Definitions: 

Postdoctoral Researcher (Post Doc) - employee: A Postdoctoral Researcher (Post Doc) serves in an “apprentice” role to more senior research mentors to pursue an individualized program of advanced training in research, in limited teaching, or other important aspects of academic work, or in any combination of these activities.

Postdoctoral fellow (Fellow) – non-employee:  The recipient of a fellowship or training award provided specifically for a particular field of study or training. Support is provided in the form of a stipend and the fellowship is processed through the University’s financial system rather than through the payroll system.

Visiting Assistant Professor (including those with a working title of Teaching Post Docs or Teaching Fellows) – (employee): This is a non-tenure track faculty position which is not eligible for sabbatical. Performs instruction and may also perform some research in an institution of higher education. Job title may also be utilized for Post-Docs whose primary role is teaching or who have certain appointments that specify substantial amount of teaching and research comparable to that of regular faculty. Position is limited term for no more than 3 years and is not eligible for reappointment. Ph.D. is required or equivalent terminal degree.

Doctoral degree:  The highest level of academic degree in most disciplines. Examples of doctoral degrees include the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.), the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) or equivalent terminal degrees.

Keywords: 
Post Docs; Fellows; Fellowships; Postdoctoral Researcher; Postdoctoral Fellowships
Review, Approval & Change History: 

05/30/2017: Fixed broken link. 

05/27/2016: Updated DLR to 9/1/2015.

09/22/2015: This policy updates the procedures in the Post Doc Manual and in particular changes the restriction on postdocs employment at KU after the end of their limited term appointment. Postdocs can now seek KU faculty or staff employment through the normal search processes. This policy supersedes that manual.

In March 2006 and at the behest of Provost David Shulenburger, a Postdoctoral Task Force was formed, facilitated by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies and the Department of Human Resources and Equal Opportunity. The task force developed a Post Doc Manual during the 2006-2007 academic year which was formally submitted on September 4, 2007, to the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies and approved.

Operational Categories: 
Facilities
Personnel: Affiliates/Volunteers Categories: 
Workplace Rules & Guidelines
Personnel: Staff Categories: 
Workplace Rules & Guidelines

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