Frequently Asked Questions:
A: Presidents Postdoctoral Fellowship mentors are usually tenured faculty who are expected to:
- take an active role in helping the fellow plan and achieve his or her research goals;
- assist the fellow in establishing a visible presence in the department;
- facilitate opportunities for the fellow to participate in national and international research meetings;
- encourage the fellow to focus full-time on research and avoid other commitments, such as teaching or outside employment;
- assist the fellow in seeking opportunities to present papers or to interview for faculty positions at other doctoral-research extensive institutions;
- attend Office of Postdoctoral Affairs career development events and individual consultations.The program encourages mentors to meet with their fellow at the beginning of the fellowship to discuss their working arrangements and consider appropriate long and short-term goals for the term of the fellowship, including encouraging the fellow to complete and providing feedback on an Individual Development Plan (IDP). The mentor should not expect to meet all of the fellow’s career development needs personally, but should provide a framework to ensure that the fellow has access to a broad academic network to support his or her work.Mentors may also play an important role in advising fellows about the academic job market and making connections to related departments. At UMN, the expectation is that departments will consider applicants for faculty appointments.
A: The program encourages applicants to select a tenured faculty member as their mentor. However, in some cases assistant professors can be excellent prospective mentors. Such cases should be addressed in the department chair’s recommendation letter.
A: No. The program encourages applicants to look for a mentor outside their current department and home campus unless they can articulate a strong reason for remaining in the same academic location. For the UMN program, this FAQ only applies to current UMN PhD students, postdocs, etc. who are interested in applying to the UMN President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program; applicants from other institutions (i.e., not UMN) should identify a mentor in the most appropriate UMN academic department.
A: No. The program encourages applicants to select an active faculty member as their mentor.
A: Yes, faculty may serve as a mentor for more than one applicant for the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.
A: The e-mail sent by the application system to faculty mentors will ask them to address the following in a letter of support:
- Applicant’s planned research;
- Expected coursework, if any;
- Extent to which the applicant will participate in departmental and campus academic activity (e.g., seminar programs);
- Extent of applicant’s anticipated participation at national/international research meetings;
- Facilities and resources available to the fellow; and
- Mentor’s involvement in mentoring for other programs designed to increase access and opportunity in higher education.
A: Yes. The President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program office, in concert with the proposed faculty mentor, will request a letter of support from the department chair/head. This separate letter should describe the applicant’s fit within the department, the value of the research and scholarship in the department’s strategic plan, and possibly hiring the applicant into a tenure-track position and/or identify a potential fit with another UMN department, if appropriate.
A: Candidates must contact and work with faculty mentors before submitting online applications. If you receive an electronic request for a recommendation letter for a President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program applicant who has not contacted you prior to submitting an application, please inform us via firstname.lastname@example.org; no further action is required on your part. Such candidates are ineligible for the program.
A. After a candidate submits their application, an automatic email will be generated by the application system that will include a unique url and instructions for submitting your recommendation letter. If you do not receive such an email, please check your spam folder. In the event that you cannot locate the url, please email email@example.com.If you receive an electronic request for a recommendation letter for a President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program applicant who has not contacted you prior to submitting an application, please inform us via firstname.lastname@example.org; no further action is required on your part. Such candidates are ineligible for the program.
A: The applicant will receive email confirmations from the online application system each time a letter is uploaded to the application. The applicant can check on the status of the application, including the arrival of the mentor and reference letters using the username and password they created and returning to the application information page.
A. Refer to current critical date information here: faculty.umn.edu/presidentspostdoc
Review and Selection
A: No. The program requires that fellows be in residence at UMN.
A: Host departments are encouraged to welcome the fellow into the department and make every effort to ensure that the fellow is included in communications about departmental colloquia, seminars and social events. Host departments are expected to provide the fellow with information about salary and benefits and administer the fellow’s research and professional travel funds. Host departments are expected to provide the fellow with access to appropriate office space and routine administrative support such as telephone lines, departmental mail services, libraries and technical support.