Mary E. Graham, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Sport Management, has been named Falk College associate dean of faculty affairs effective Jan. 2, 2024. This newly created leadership position reports to Falk College Dean Jeremy Jordan and is dedicated…
New Office of Postdoctoral Affairs Focuses on the Needs of Postdoctoral Scholars
Syracuse University has established an Office of Postdoctoral Affairs to provide centralized resources and dedicated staff to serve the interests and well-being of postdoctoral scholars.
Part of the Office of Research and developed in partnership with the Graduate School, the new office is an expansion of the University’s commitment to a quality campus experience and positive career outcomes for postdoctoral associates, says Duncan Brown, vice president for research.
“Postdoctoral scholars are essential to the University’s research and creative activities,” Brown says. “They contribute to the research program of their faculty advisors through their own research accomplishments and their interactions with our students. Their work enriches the environment of their research groups while they build their own skills through mentoring and collaboration.”
New Support Services
Located at 227 Lyman Hall, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs will provide professional development, peer groups and skillset development opportunities, which will help the University recruit and support outstanding postdocs who advance the research and creative mission, Brown says. Office staff members expect to facilitate opportunities for practice research presentations, writing groups and mentoring resources for faculty members who supervise postdocs.
A comprehensive orientation and onboarding program for incoming postdoctoral scholars, aimed at helping them quickly acclimate to the University, is currently being developed. Additionally, Postdoc Communal Lunches are held every Wednesday from noon to 1:30 p.m. Postdoctoral scholars are welcome to bring their own lunch and enjoy coffee, tea and snacks with fellow postdocs.
Colleen Burton joined the Office of Research in February as associate director of postdoctoral affairs and research services and led the establishment of the new office. Burton provides management and financial oversight for all postdoctoral program functions, facilitates hiring and onboarding for postdoctoral researchers and collaborates with campus partners to develop resources and programming to enhance the postdoctoral experience.
“Postdocs serve an important role in academic research,” says Burton, who earned a Ph.D. in political science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. “I’m looking forward to enhancing the supports that help them thrive here and as they prepare for their next steps. This has been a great opportunity to collaborate with many different departments across campus. We have a lot more to do, but I feel that we are off to a good start.”
Joining Burton in the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is Claire Perrott, professional development postdoctoral fellow. She leads development of postdoctoral and mentor-facing resources, connects postdoctoral scholars to existing campus resources, creates onboarding and orientation programming and develops events promoting networking, community-building and professional development opportunities.
Perrott holds a Ph.D. in Latin American history from the University of Arizona. She was an instructor and assistant professor at several institutions before deciding to pursue a career in higher education administration. Her background provides a unique perspective on various pathways that postdoctoral scholars can pursue to develop professional resources, she says. “I believe we are filling an important gap by providing resources specifically for postdocs and I hope our efforts not only increase the research being done on campus but also help our postdocs land great jobs. I hope that postdocs feel comfortable approaching our office with questions. We want to hear from them so that we can set them up for success.”
The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs will continue to collaborate closely with the Career and Professional Development team in the Graduate School to assess postdoctoral scholar needs and tailor programming toward them, Burton says.