RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE ASSISTANT DEAN FOR POSTDOCTORAL SCHOLARS
Reporting to the associate dean of graduate programs, the assistant dean for postdoctoral scholars (assistant dean) serves as University of California, San Francisco’s (UCSF) organizational expert for postdoctoral scholars (postdocs) and directly advises campus leadership, department chairs, deans, and individual faculty members on postdoctoral education and policy. Employing a deeply collaborative leadership style, the assistant dean serves on the leadership team for the graduate division with the other divisional deans to set priorities and strategic vision for the division’s work. The assistant dean advocates for and collaborates with campus leadership, university development, and alumni relations to identify funders and opportunities for philanthropic support of postdocs.
As UCSF’s first point of contact for postdoctoral scholars, this senior leader will provide knowledge, strategy, and advice in complex matters related to postdoc success and well-being, including, but not limited to, the issues associated with a postdoc’s research, legal, mental health, or financial status, to faculty advisors and a complex array of staff. The assistant dean will be the principal champion and architect of a vibrant and engaged community of postdoctoral scholars at UCSF. To this end, they will organize, direct, and deliver programming for the support, success, retention, and progression of postdocs, including programming and support specifically for those who are marginalized and historically underrepresented in the academy. As such, the assistant dean will apply the frameworks and principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion to serve and advocate for postdocs.
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS
A bachelor’s degree and an appropriate combination of experience and training are required; an advanced degree is preferred. The successful candidate will be expected to demonstrate excellent written and verbal communication and interpersonal skills; a nuanced appreciation for academic postdoctoral training requirements, expectations, and culture; highly refined project management skills; and a record of success in workshop and program design and evaluation of outcomes.
The search committee particularly seeks candidates whose work experience or community service has prepared them to contribute to UCSF’s commitment to professionalism, respect, integrity, diversity, and excellence—also known as the university’s PRIDE values.
HISTORY OF THE POSITION
Following the creation of UCSF’s postdoctoral student association in 1995, the office for postdoctoral scholars at UCSF was established in February 2001, making it one of the oldest offices dedicated to serving postdocs in the nation. It has been led by two assistant deans during its history—the inaugural assistant dean led the office from 2001-2019, and the most recent assistant dean served in the role from 2019-2022.
Bill Lindstaedt is serving as the interim assistant dean for postdoctoral scholars while UCSF conducts this national search.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
UCSF’s next assistant dean for postdoctoral scholars will need to conduct an initial period of assessment focused on building relationships with internal and external partners and gaining a thorough understanding of the current operations and capacity of the office for postdoctoral scholars through consultations with stakeholders. It will be critical for the assistant dean to immediately model a leadership and communication style that exemplifies transparency and an unwavering commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. Additionally, the assistant dean will demonstrate leadership, vision, and influence in addressing the following opportunities and challenges that await at UCSF:
Understand and advocate for the postdoctoral scholar experience
This new leader will have a creative and entrepreneurial perspective to take advantage of the strong culture of collaboration and innovation at UCSF. The successful candidate will generate ideas and initiatives for assessing, understanding, and improving the experience of postdoctoral scholars, with a particular focus on creating a vibrant and cohesive sense of community among postdocs. To this end, they will develop or use tools and surveys to gauge the university climate and the effectiveness of initiatives to create a more inclusive community of postdoctoral scholars. The assistant dean will quickly establish trust and rapport with the postdoc community and partner with divisional and university colleagues to strengthen the connections and sense of belonging among postdocs, both socially and scientifically.
Serve as a well-connected and collaborative campus partner
Much of the work of the assistant dean will be accomplished through influence and the strength of relationships, as well as the formal authorities of the role. To succeed in this environment, the assistant dean must be a superb communicator and relationship-builder who generates support for the work of the office of postdoctoral scholars by developing strong partnerships across the division and university with postdocs, faculty, staff, and administrators. Earning the confidence and respect of postdocs and their faculty principal investigators, the assistant dean will serve as a visible and accessible presence at UCSF.
Strengthen the operational capacity of UCSF’s office for postdoctoral scholars
The assistant dean will lead and elevate an office for postdoctoral scholars to serve as an organizational hub for postdocs and as a place to consolidate, support, communicate, and guide UCSF’s postdoctoral activities. The assistant dean will articulate a forward-looking vision and accompanying strategic goals for the office. Another key priority for the assistant dean will be to work with divisional colleagues on creating a central database that will serve as the system of record for postdoctoral scholars during their time at UCSF and beyond. In order to strengthen and expand the office’s capacity, the assistant dean will be able to hire an additional staff member after conducting a thorough assessment of the office’s operational needs.
Serve as a trusted colleague and partner
UCSF currently has a distributed model for supporting and serving postdoctoral scholars. Several offices provide essential services for postdocs, including the office of career and professional development, the international students and scholars office, the postdoctoral student association, and human resources. As a senior leader within the graduate division, the assistant dean will be a trusted thought partner and offer creative solutions on complex topics to stimulate the best thinking and experience for UCSF postdoctoral scholars.
Become familiar with the collective bargaining agreement
Postdoctoral scholars at UCSF became only the second postdoc population in the nation to unionize in February 2009. Postdoctoral scholars at UCSF are represented by United Auto Workers Local 5810 and were part of a University of California system-wide strike in November 2022. A tentative collective bargaining agreement was ratified in December 2022, including new benefits that will be rolled incrementally over the next four years. The new assistant dean will need to quickly familiarize themselves with the contract and establish mutually beneficial relationships with the union representatives and colleagues in human resources.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
The assistant dean will work with the associate dean of graduate programs and the graduate division dean to determine specific success measures and their respective timetables. Campus stakeholders offered the following general metrics for initial success in the position:
- The assistant dean has made the connections necessary to have a thorough appreciation and understanding of UCSF’s postdoctoral scholars ecosystem, the mission and work of the graduate division, and UCSF’s complex organizational structure.
- A compelling vision for the office has been communicated, and the assistant dean has crafted an outline of strategic priorities accompanied by an operational and implementation plan.
- The assistant dean has become familiar with all policies, procedures, and contracts that govern and impact the postdoc experience at UCSF.
- The office for postdoctoral scholars is well-regarded by postdocs and provides a robust, comprehensive set of programs and services addressing the needs of postdoctoral scholars at UCSF.
- The assistant dean has created or taken advantage of multiple opportunities to collaborate with a broad set of key partners on initiatives that have strengthened the sense of community among postdocs.
OVERVIEW OF THE OFFICE FOR POSTDOCTORAL SCHOLARS
The office for postdoctoral scholars serves as a central resource and information conduit for all postdocs and faculty and staff who work with postdocs at UCSF.
By collaborating with other academic and administrative partners at the university, the office supports UCSF’s postdoctoral scholar community through the following activities and services:
- Creating and leading the strategic vision for postdoctoral training at UCSF
- Collaborating with faculty and staff on postdoctoral recruitment, inclusion, retention, and training
- Developing new initiatives to build a more engaged and inclusive community for UCSF postdocs
- Collaborating with university partners to deliver the quarterly Path to Postdoc program
- Advising the Postdoctoral Scholars Association
- Directing the Responsible Conduct of Research course for postdoctoral scholars
- Liaising with various regional, national, and international organizations on behalf of UCSF postdocs
OVERVIEW OF THE GRADUATE DIVISION
The graduate division is the home of graduate education and postdoctoral training at UCSF. It offers 20 PhD programs in basic, translational, and social/population sciences; 12 master’s degree programs; two professional doctorates; and four professional certificate programs.
The division’s key activities and priorities include the following:
- Institute and guide the development of new academic degree programs and oversee the review of existing programs
- Nurture cross-program collaboration and interdisciplinary learning
- Lead efforts that establish and promote an inclusive learning and training environment for historically underrepresented and marginalized undergraduates, master’s, and PhD students, and postdoctoral scholars in science
- Facilitate outreach and recruitment to draw the best and brightest students and postdocs from diverse backgrounds
- Coordinate and process graduate student applications and allocate student financial support
- Support a vibrant learner community through social and co-curricular programming
- Provide a service hub for postdoctoral scholars
- Oversee and monitor student academic progression
- Ensure trainee success beyond graduation
- Encourage two-way communication with the student and postdoc community and provide transparency
The graduate division at UCSF strives to foster the highest quality of graduate education and postdoctoral training, help graduate programs grow and evolve to meet the changing demands of science and the needs of society, nurture an inclusive and supportive learning environment, and ensure that every graduate student and postdoc at UCSF can look forward to a meaningful and personally satisfying career.
LEADERSHIP OF THE GRADUATE DIVISION
Dr. Nicquet Blake – Dean of the Graduate Division and Vice Provost of Student Academic Affairs
Nicquet Blake, PhD, one of the nation’s leading voices on issues of equity and diversity in higher education, joined University of California, San Francisco as vice provost of student academic affairs and dean of the graduate division in December 2021.
In leading the graduate division and student academic affairs at UCSF, Blake hopes to amplify her advocacy for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion among students and trainees across the university and sees an opportunity to help ensure that decisions are consistently made with students’ and trainees’ best interests as the top priority.
Before joining UCSF, Blake served as senior associate dean for admissions and student affairs in the graduate school of biomedical sciences at UT Health San Antonio, part of the University of Texas system, where she was the chief student affairs officer of the graduate school and oversaw the admissions process for all 20 programs.
Blake received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from UT San Antonio. She earned her doctorate in neuroscience and completed postdoctoral training at Washington University in St. Louis.
DIVERSITY AND LEARNER SUCCESS
A fundamental component of the graduate division’s mission is to foster an inclusive and supportive learning environment. The division is committed to the following in its courses, programs, and initiatives:
- Create opportunities to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts as a core feature of the curriculum and training environment.
- Improve the learning and research environment to remove barriers to inclusion that uplift the educational and training experience for all learners.
- Increase educational access and community engagement
- Align personal and scientific identities that foster a sense of community and belonging
- Cultivate a culture that values and celebrates all graduate career outcomes
Learn more about the graduate division’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts
University of California, San Francisco is part of the 10-campus University of California, the world’s premier public research university system, and the only one of its campuses dedicated exclusively to graduate and professional education. From genomics and immunology to specialty care for women and children, UCSF brings together the world’s leading experts in nearly every area of health. Among its 3,400 distinguished faculty are five Nobel laureates who have advanced the understanding of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, aging, and stem cells. Its educational programs and hospitals consistently rank among the best in the country, according to the latest surveys by U.S. News & World Report.
Driven by its public mission, UCSF is a collection of dedicated scientists, clinicians, students, and staff who strive to make the world a better place through a singular focus on health. The university enrolls 3,200 professional and graduate students through its schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy and the 12 master’s and 20 doctoral degree programs in the graduate division. In addition to students in its degree programs, UCSF also trains 1,180 postdoctoral scholars and 1,650 clinical residents/fellows. It is San Francisco’s second-largest employer, attracting talented faculty and staff who mirror the energy and dynamism of the Bay Area.
Sam Hawgood – Chancellor
Sam Hawgood, MBBS, a renowned researcher, professor, academic leader, and pediatrician, has been chancellor of UCSF since 2014.
Recognized for his strong leadership as dean of UCSF’s school of medicine from 2009 to 2014 and brief tenure as interim chancellor, Hawgood was selected after a national search as UCSF’s 10th chancellor. He reports to the University of California (UC) President Michael V. Drake and the UC board of regents.
Today, Hawgood, the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor at UCSF, oversees a multi-billion-dollar UCSF enterprise, which includes the top public recipient of research funds from the National Institutes of Health, a nationally ranked medical center, and San Francisco’s second-largest employer of more than 30,000 faculty and staff.
The faculty, staff, students, postdoctoral scholars, trainees, alumni, volunteers, patients, vendors, and visitors of University of California, San Francisco represent many diverse characteristics, beliefs, and affiliations. Recognizing this rich diversity, UCSF seeks to offer all campus community members an equitable, inclusive, welcoming, secure, responsive, and affirming environment that fosters mutual respect, empathy, and trust. To nurture this environment, several principles of community have been established to guide campus life at UCSF.
Further, the university has adopted a set of PRIDE values that define how members of the UCSF community work, learn, interact, and fulfill its mission. These values are the cornerstone of the university’s work and unite its faculty, students, researchers, caregivers, and staff in building a culture of collaboration that inspires the UCSF community.
THE STUDENT BODY
The anticipated hiring salary range for this position is $140–160,000. An offer will take into consideration the experience of the final candidate and the current salary level of individuals working at UCSF in a similar role.
UCSF offers a range of benefits and services that support employees throughout their life cycle. For detailed information on the benefits plan, please visit here.
University of California, San Francisco has retained the services of Spelman Johnson, a leading national executive search firm, to assist with leading this search. Review of applications will begin on Monday, April 3, 2023, and continue until the position is filled. A resume with an accompanying cover letter may be submitted via the Spelman Johnson website at www.spelmanjohnson.com/open-positions. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Michel R. Frendian, Senior Consultant, at email@example.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 Vaccination Policy
University of California policy requires employees to be fully vaccinated* against COVID-19 before physically accessing University locations or programs. Upon hire, employees will receive detailed instructions on complying with this policy, including access to the COVID vaccination at no cost. This policy applies to new hires at UCSF who work onsite or come onsite for any activities at a UCSF location. Local and state ordinances may be more restrictive and take precedence. UCSF-affiliated locations may have their own policies for employees working onsite. *This policy allows employees to request approved exceptions for medical or religious reasons.
Visit the University of California, San Francisco website at www.ucsf.edu and the UCSF Office of Postdoctoral Scholars website at https://postdocs.ucsf.edu/.
The University of California San Francisco is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.