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Erika Lee
University Graduate School

Last modified: Friday, September 17, 2010

IU Bloomington to celebrate Postdoctoral Appreciation Day

Sept. 17, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington will mark its first Postdoctoral Appreciation Day on Tuesday (Sept. 21), calling attention to the importance of postdoctoral scholars to the research and teaching missions of the institution.

Stacy Gelhaus

Stacy Gelhaus

The event will feature a talk by Stacy Gelhaus, chair of the board of directors of the National Postdoctoral Association, along with activities geared to faculty mentors and current and prospective postdoctoral scholars. The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs in the University Graduate School at IU is organizing the activities.

"While the postdoctoral period provides many opportunities for professional growth, it can also be a very isolating time," said Maxine Watson, associate dean of the Graduate School. "The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs was formed two years ago to start catering to this vitally important segment of the university community. This Postdoc Appreciation Day, our first, was designed to recognize these scholars' contributions and provide information about professional development opportunities and support."

Gelhaus will speak at noon Tuesday in Ballantine Hall 144. A postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, she chairs the 12-member board of the National Postdoctoral Association, which advocates for policies that promote positive change in the postdoctoral experience.

Other activities Tuesday include:

  • A roundtable discussion of postdoctoral opportunities in the arts, humanities and social sciences, moderated by Steve Watt, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Ballantine Hall 144
  • A poster session for postdoctoral scholars in the sciences from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Jordan Hall Atrium

Watson, who directs IU's Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, said there are about 130 postdoctoral scholars at IU Bloomington. Postdoctoral scholars in the sciences devote themselves full-time to their own academic and career development, getting papers written, learning additional research skills and becoming exposed to new intellectual influences, allowing them to enter the job market as matured scholars. Postdoctoral scholars in the arts, humanities and social sciences are able to develop manuscripts while building their teaching dossier in a new intellectual environment.

The largest numbers of IU Bloomington postdocs are in fields such as biology, chemistry, biochemistry, psychological and brain sciences, and physics, where they play a central role in the research mission of the university. "But interest in postdoctoral opportunities is growing in the arts, humanities and social sciences, including music and law," Watson said. "This year IU Bloomington is hosting three members of the first cohort of postdoctoral scholars sponsored by the American Council of Learned Societies."

For more information on the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, contact Watson at For more on the National Postdoctoral Association, see