National Postdoc Association Conference, 2018
Two GWU Postdocs, Debarati Banik and Lalitha Kurada, attended the National Postdoc Association (NPA) Conference this year in Cleveland, OH. Below find a blog they wrote to describe their experience and what they learnt.
"From the opportunity of representing the GWPA at the NPA conference in 2018, we were able to gather several key insights. This blog here is an attempt to bring in some of the ideas we think are relevant and beneficial to the GW postdoc community. An important aspect in today’s employment market and job search is the ability to market oneself online, using social media platforms such as the LinkedIn. Workshops focusing on online strategies to market and promote oneself for academic and non-academic jobs would be of great advantage. Also, tips on creating an effective LinkedIn profile to build and manage network, join various groups to conduct information interviews and connect with potential recruiters and employers is highly advocated. Additionally, workshops on thinking beyond the skillset to recognize one’s unique value would open up a number of venues such as postdocs emerging as the boss of their own careers. Most importantly, in spite of the fact that the postdocs recognize the need for their active participation in the career/personal development programs, one of the most challenging aspects is the faculty mentor support. This is especially important for international candidates with visa considerations. Hence a workshop that promotes having difficult conversations, peer-discussions and mock conversational sessions on narration etc., would help to more effectively serve our postdoc community at the GWU. In the NPA conference, we also came across several workshops/seminars that appeared highly relevant for a holistic postdoc experience. The first one is to establish a postdoc office aimed to provide career counselling, professional development ideas and immigration guidance for the postdocs. Secondly, we would recommend arranging for workshops on maintaining work-life balance and social integration for international postdocs with partner/families. These workshops may specifically benefit the new postdocs joining the GW community to acclimatize to the new environment. Arranging social networking events by the GWPA may be an important part of the same. Thirdly, we recommend workshops for the postdocs (both new and experienced) to identify their strengths, interest and values that will help them construct a future career choice. Given the wide spectrum of career opportunities available for PhDs vs. the gap of knowledge to choose from, it will be useful if the school assists them in directing and channeling their efforts."
Ask us how you can get travel support to attend the NPA Conference, 2019 in Orlando,FL, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President's executive order on immigration
GWU is working on understanding how will this executive order affect the students, faculty and staff and for how long. For more information, please visit News & Updates at the International Services Office. Also, here is a message from the president of GWU on the matter.
If you are affected by this or have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact Senior Associate Provost for International Strategy Doug Shaw, or Director of International Services Jennifer Donaghue.
New Department of Labor wages and overtime pay policy
The Department of Labor (DoL) have introduced new regulations to their overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These new regulations are going to have an immediate effect on postdocs nation-wide, including at GW. These revisions will be effective December 1, 2016. Here, we summarize the implications of these new rules that are specific to postdocs:
- Salaries below which certain professionals, including postdocs, are eligible for overtime pay (1.5x the hourly rate for any hour beyond 40 hours a week) have been raised from $23,660 to $47,476.
- Any GW postdoc making less than the minimum salary for overtime exemption will have their hours tracked.
- To our best of knowledge, no postdoc is exempt from the new regulations except for the ones with a primary role of teaching. Hence, regardless of job title, VISA, or source of funding, the new regulations should apply to you.
GWPA is working closely with the GWU Faculty Senate, and together they are working with OVPR to ensure a fair implementation of these new rules and regulations at GW.
More reading material about the DoL updated regulations on FLSA:
National Postdoc Association official statement in response to the new regulations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the new regulations published by National Postdoc Association in their 2016 summer newsletter. Unfortunately, access is only granted for NPA members. (We note that GWPA is working on becoming a member of NPA which will grant all GWPA members affiliate membership with NPA).