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2015 Annual Meeting - Sunday Workshops
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Sunday, March 15

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Achieving Meaningful Change at Your Institution

Postdoctoral associations (PDAs)

Postdoctoral scholars are frequently left behind in institutional decisions due to the temporary and ambiguous status of neither student nor permanent employee. To ensure their needs are known, postdoctoral scholars often unite in associations to create a powerful voice towards the administration. However, high member turnover in combination with the ambiguous status make advocating for meaningful change difficult.

In this workshop, you will learn how to advocate for meaningful change at your institution. Based on stories from the Stanford University postdoctoral association, you will learn to identify the important elements of change, and how to create an environment that welcomes change. Stanford has seen important changes to health care and transportation benefits, salaries and democratic involvement of postdoctoral scholars. You will first hear how the Stanford University postdoctoral association identified these key issues to help you do the same at your institution. Based on these stories you will learn how to foster relationships with relevant people in your association and in the administration so you can create the support for change. Finally, you will learn how to use data (surveys, petitions, information on peer institutions) to support the change you seek. Every section will involve group discussion to give you peer feedback on your situation.

In the end, you will have a framework for how to approach and advocate for meaningful policy changes that require concerted efforts of many volunteers and administrators over several years.

Presenters: Rebecca Bauer, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Scholar, Stanford University; Antoine de Morrée, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Scholar, Stanford University; Catherine Gordon, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Scholar, Stanford University; JT Neal, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Scholar, Stanford University

Developing Your Communications Strategy

Sponsored by Taylor & Francis Group

All Audiences

Communication goes beyond verbal skills, which are important to the success of a scientist. Nonverbal communication includes the written word, one’s virtual presence on social media, and how scientists brand themselves vis-à-vis their “elevator pitch.” As postdoctoral researchers begin to look for positions in science, both in academia and industry, they must be aware of how their nonverbal communication skills impact their possibility of finding full-time employment. Learning how to maximize the use of one’s nonverbal communication skills is a powerful tool to help one achieve professional success, and a critical component for the future.

Presenters: Bob Dolan, M.B.A., Career Advisor for Postdoctoral Scholars, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Cynthia Simpson, M.Ed, C.A.E, Chief Business Officer, Association of Women in Science

The Enjoyment of Employment

All Audiences

Are you considering a non-academic career after graduate school? Are you aware of the different kinds of workplace cultures you'll encounter? People look for different things in a job: one person might want to change the world, while another just wants a paycheck. Matching your work personality to the culture of the organization is one of the prime factors in workplace happiness. In this workshop, participants will assess their workplace personality, which we will then match against different work environments to see what kinds of organizations are compatible with each work style. The session will end with a checklist and timeline for starting your job search so that participants will be fully prepared when the time comes.

At the end of the workshop participants will:

  1. Understand the components of workplace cultures.
  2. Be able to identify five different workplace cultures.
  3. Self-assess their preferred work styles.
  4. Match their personal work style to appropriate workplace cultures.

Before the workshop, go to, take the personality assessment, and bring the results with you.

Presenters: Doug Kalish, Ph.D., Visiting Scholar, UC Berkeley

Examining Stratification in Academic Career Trajectories for Minority Ph.D. Recipients

All Audiences

This professional workshop is for scholars at all stages of their careers - including postdoctoral scholars and their mentors - that are interested in the pipeline for underrepresented minority (URM) scholars in the social and behavioral sciences. The workshop will address the pipeline issue at two levels. First, it will address the careers of individual URM scholars at the experiential level. For example, the workshop leader will ask of early-career participants, “What kind of career do you want and do you expect? Have your mentors been helpful for your expected career trajectory? Do you feel marginalized in departments and networks? If so, what strategies do you use to overcome this perception? Have strategies worked to help you become more central?” Second, the workshop will address the careers of URM scholars at the theoretical and methodological level and seek input and feedback from participants. The latest updates from the ASA’s multi-year National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded research have compared the career outcomes of participants in the ASA Minority Fellowship Program (now in its 41st year) with doctoral recipients in sociology who did not participate. In addition, the workshop leader will discuss the potential impact of a new NSF-funded project comparing the academic career trajectories of URM sociologists and economists. A major purpose of the new research is to measure specific aspects of the stratification processes and outcomes that may create or recreate inequalities in URM academic career trajectories. The theoretical concepts to be made operational and tested include 1) human capital and social capital; 2) professional networks and marginality to those networks; 3) “two worlds” and the “color line” for racial and ethnic minorities; and 4) intersectionality by race, ethnicity, and gender. Workshop attendees will be asked to provide feedback on the kinds of data, measures, and methodologies needed to effectively study academic career trajectories for URM scholars, and then discuss the impact of mentoring, professional networks, and the formation or improvement of intervention programs housed at associations, universities, foundations, and agencies.

Presenters: Jean H. Shin, Ph.D., Director, Minority Affairs Program, American Sociological Association (ASA); Roberta Spalter-Roth, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow, ASA

Postdocs & Entrepreneurship: How to Build a Sustainable Entrepreneurship Program - Berkeley Postdoc Entrepreneurship Program

All Audiences

Born out of a need for a program that specifically helps doctoral recipients and postdocs, the Berkeley Postdoc Entrepreneurship Program (BPEP) is in its fourth year of existence. The program is continuing to educate and assist postdocs in their entrepreneurial efforts at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley national labs. Like many startups, the BPEP program started out from an idea, followed by setting up an interdisciplinary, cross-campus advisory board, building a good team of enthusiastic postdocs, and then funded by the Visiting Scholars and Postdoc Affairs program under the auspices of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for research. The program has received tremendous attention amongst postdocs and other campus groups, including the business and law schools for the first time! In spite of the proximity to the Silicon Valley, there was a lack of a platform to bridge the postdocs with the entrepreneurial community. Once the program was launched, the players of the ecosystem such as the law firms, venture capitalists, Angels, etc., have started thronging these programs to meet talent/ideas and collaborate. Several startups have been launched because of people meeting at our workshops, which we conduct to educate postdocs on starting companies.

The entrepreneurship program has led to the annual entrepreneurship symposia, which in its second year of its existence is bringing together academia, industry, government, and the whole entrepreneurship ecosystem to this platform. The current federal funding situation and growing unemployment amongst postdocs is a driving factor for building such entrepreneurship programs. The session will present insights into starting entrepreneurship programs, building cross campus relations, and encouraging postdocs to translate their research into startups by taking up entrepreneurship. We will be presenting the leadership transitions, attendance to workshops, challenges in running the program and the successes that resulted from the program.

Presenters: Sam Castañeda, B.A., Director, Visiting Scholars and Postdoctoral Affairs Program, UC Berkeley; Naresh Sunkara, Ph.D., Special Advisor to the Vice Chancellor for Research/Postdoctoral Affairs, Founder and former Chair, Berkeley Postdoc Entrepreneurship Program, UC Berkeley

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