General University Reference Utility
POLICY'S INITIAL DATE: November 16, 1968
THIS VERSION EFFECTIVE: January 1, 2010
To outline the University's policy on postdoctoral appointments.
Postdoctoral appointments shall:
Designated titles for postdoctoral appointments at The Pennsylvania State University are Postdoctoral Fellow and Postdoctoral Scholar. The title of Postdoctoral Fellow will be used only in connection with appointments financed under a Postdoctoral Fellow Program of a granting agency outside the University. The title of Postdoctoral Scholar will be the usual designation for all other postdoctoral appointments.
Normally, the initial appointment and renewals are not longer than a six-year period at Penn State, with exceptions granted to meet specific training needs of an individual and only after careful review by the college and appropriate central administrative officer.
All postdoctoral appointments will be approved by the appropriate dean and the Office of the Vice President for Research will maintain a current inventory of all appointments.
Postdoctoral scholars and fellows should be paid at least the minimum annual salary as noted each July 1.
Postdoctoral Scholars and Fellows may enroll in an available University-sponsored health plan effective with the date of appointment. Those who enroll will contribute for an available University-sponsored health plan on the same basis and at the same rates as regular faculty and staff member contributions. Such contributions will be deducted monthly.
In addition, Postdoctoral Scholars and Fellows may enroll in the University's dental and/or vision plan.
Postdoctoral Scholars and Fellows may elect to participate in the Age-graded Life Insurance Plan and elect an amount of coverage equal to their annual stipend.
See the website at http://www.research.psu.edu/offices/office-of-postdoctoral-affairs/postdoc-benefits for coverage details.
When a postdoctoral scholar or fellow is unable to perform the duties of the position, the four weeks of leave provided by a 48-week appointment can be used to account for the absence. In addition, the department may be able to provide for some work to be done at home (e.g., data analysis), permitting the scholar or fellow to remain in pay status.
Leaves without pay for a reasonable period of time should be considered if they would not inhibit the applicable research project(s).
Guidance for leaves of absence can be sought from the Office of Human Resources Work/Life Office (814-865-9346).
Before a leave of absence is discussed with a foreign national scholar or fellow, the supervisor needs to contact the International Scholars Office (814-865-0423) to insure consistency with federal regulations.
See also the new parent guideline at http://forms.gradsch.psu.edu/current/newparentaccomodationguideline.pdf.
IBIS Forms "GFSA" for appointments, and "GRAD" for changes and reappointments, must be completed in accordance with the approval paths established by your Financial Officer. Postdoctoral Scholars and Fellows should receive an appointment letter outlining the details of their appointment.
Postdoctoral fellows or scholars should always attempt to resolve problems concerning their professional situation by discussing the matter with their supervisor. If there is a reason for the postdoctoral fellow or scholar to believe that this avenue is inappropriate, he or she may seek recourse through the department or division or program head, or from the associate or assistant dean of their college or division. The fellow or scholar may also seek advice from the college or division ombudsman.
Occasionally, there are disagreements between postdoctoral fellows/scholars and their supervisors that cannot be resolved in the administrative structure of the department, division, program or college. Such problems may involve alleged violations of academic freedom, professional ethics, and procedural fairness and consistency. There may be disagreements concerning authorship credit or intellectual property ownership. If a resolution of such problems cannot be achieved at the department, division, or program level, the following procedures are to be followed. If for some reason the proper jurisdiction is not clear, then the Vice President for Research shall decide on the appropriate procedure.
Retirement savings options available to Postdoctoral Scholars and Fellows are limited to contributions to either a Traditional or Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Traditional IRAs offer the opportunity to reduce federal taxable income, subject to IRS limitations, when federal income tax returns are filed. IRA enrollment and payments options are done on an individual basis and are unrelated to University benefit programs. Traditional and Roth IRAs are available from insurance companies and mutual fund companies as well as most banks.
Policy RA13 Coauthorship of Scholarly Reports, Papers and Publications
3/29/2010 - Revised to add "Office of General Counsel".
1/1/10 - The title Senior Vice President for Research was changed to Vice President for Research.
4/8/08 - Link to new parent guideline included.
1/1/08 - Updated Insurance Benefits section.
11/2/06 - Changed Vice President for Research to Senior Vice President for Research.
September 29, 2003 - Leaves of Absence section added.
August 1, 2002 - Responsibility for Clearing Appointment section revised. Salary section revised.
July 17, 2002 - Salary section revised. Grievance Procedure section added. Tax-deferred Annuities section added.