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NPA Team Visit Program
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Since its inception, the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) has provided assistance to postdoctoral offices (PDOs) and associations (PDAs) during all stages of their formation and growth.

The NPA Team Visit Program is an initiative established by the NPA to encourage Sustaining Member PDOs and PDAs to request direct assistance from the NPA in their establishment, organizational development, and continued operations.This important program has received past support from the AAAS, the Joy McCann Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. 

The team visit provides individualized consultation to NPA Sustaining Members at their home institution. The "team" consists of NPA-approved experts with knowledge and experience in the areas requested by the hosting PDO/PDA. These experts can include members of the NPA leadership, founding leaders of PDAs nationwide, and faculty and administrators who have started PDOs. Team members bring a wealth of experience and advice, tailored to the requirements and character of the host organization.

Team visits can provide advice on any aspect of setting-up and developing your postdoctoral programs and services. An advantage of on-site assistance is that a range of stakeholders at your institution can participate in and benefit from the visit. 

The Team Visit Program is designed to be flexible and responsive to the needs of the PDO or PDA requesting assistance. The visit can take on a variety of formats depending on the needs of the requesting institution. Past visits have ranged from “Coaching Intensive” visits, where the team provides direct, small-group advice and counseling on any issues of interest to various stakeholders, to “Keynote Speaker” visits, where NPA representatives provide a formal presentation addressing issues of interest to a large audience at a symposium or other event. Some visits have combined formats to reach a range of audiences.

The driving goal behind the NPA team visit -- and one of the NPA’s top priorities -- is to foster the PDOs and PDAs that are vital sources of support for their institution’s postdoctoral scholars. The benefits of having an active and effective association and/or office are numerous. Sigma Xi’s 2005 nationwide survey of postdoctoral scholars found that the most successful postdocs, using various measures, are those who tend to have structured oversight at their institution. Institutions with active PDAs and PDOs are much more likely to have this type of oversight, for example, a formal appointment mechanism for postdocs, comprehensive policies governing the role of postdoctoral scholars, and programs and services for postdocs that include professional development.

Applying for a Team Visit

The Team Visit Program is available to all NPA Sustaining Member PDOs and PDAs that would like advice or assistance in establishing or enhancing their postdoctoral programs and services. Team visits may require cost-sharing on the part of the host.

Applications may be submitted at any time. The primary intent of the application is for you to articulate your goals and desired outcomes for the team visit, keeping in mind what may reasonably be accomplished over the course of a few days. It should include an overview of the current situation for your PDO and/or PDA, as well as a description of the format of team visit you think would be most effective in serving your goals. As you prepare your application, we encourage you to discuss your plans with your counterpart PDO or PDA, if applicable, and to consider ways that your postdoc population may also benefit from the visit. The more concrete you can be in your application, the more productive the visit will be. The team visit coordinator will then work with you to refine an agenda, plan the logistics and identify experts for the team that best suit your needs.

If you are interested in establishing a PDO or PDA at your institution, but you and your institution are not yet members of the NPA, the NPA would like to help. Please contact us.


For Your Reference

To learn more about previous team visits that have already been conducted, see articles in the NPA newsletter, The POSTDOCket, on team visits to the University of Utah (Winter 2007, Volume 5, Issue-1, pg. 9); University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston (Summer 2008, Volume 6, Issue 3 , pg. 5); and the University Health Network in Toronto (Fall 2008, Volume 6, Issue 4, pg. 5).

For more information on the Team Visit program, contact the NPA staff.