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Letter from the Executive Director
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Julie Fabsik-Swarts

 

In these times of uncertainty, I often find myself explaining the NPA’s role in the “research engine” of the United States. The lack of understanding in how research happens is a real concern. Many of the committees and volunteers I work with hear me remind them that there are TWO audiences for the NPA message. One is the traditional audience that understands what it is to be a postdoctoral scholar and the value they bring to the research engine. The other audience is those in the public that don’t even know postdocs exist. As we move forward in our efforts to improve the conditions of the postdoc I think it is imperative that we keep the education of public audiences in mind.

 

Wonderful leaders in postdoc offices throughout the country are actively planning for National Postdoctoral Appreciation Week (NPAW) in September. I want to stress that the “A” is the most important letter, as appreciation and awareness are the critical portions of this effort. Getting the public to understand the postdoc role and the value postdocs bring to research efforts in the United States is critical. The Board of Directors and volunteers are actively working on an “Awareness and Advocacy” campaign that will happen during NPAW. Look for more information to be forthcoming and please plan to participate in this effort. It is only through the efforts of ALL that the postdoc story will come to life in public forums.

 

In addition to NPAW planning, life is very full at the NPA. We have concluded the spring “Every Member” campaign that showcases how the NPA opens doors for postdocs. But you can still send us your story and photos to tell us about the door that has been opened for you. Every gift counts, no matter how small. Consider giving up one Starbucks latte to make a tax-deductible gift to the NPA. Together we can make a difference and open the doors for the postdocs following you.

 

New to the NPA is the creation of the Industry Postdoctoral Council. In June, the first meeting of postdoc office leaders who work outside the traditional university umbrella met. This pioneering group is seeking to establish best practices and support for those postdocs serving in the for-profit work environment. I look forward to working with them further and having the NPA support this section of the postdoctoral world that is often forgotten.

 

I would be remiss if I ended this letter without a thank you to all the individuals who took the time to complete the NPA surveys that have been requested. We have had a wonderful response rate to both the biannual policy survey and the sexual harassment survey. The sexual harassment survey received more than 2700 responses in just over two weeks! INCREDIBLE! Thank you for voicing your opinion and your story. Only through hard data and moving stories will we be able to make a difference.

 

Enjoy the rest of the summer. I look forward to seeing you on my travels and at the Annual Conference in Cleveland April 6-8, 2018.

 

Warmly,

 

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