Council Meeting Minutes
Stanford Postdoctoral Association
March29 2017, 11.30-1:00pm
Lorry Lokey Stem Cell Building, G1002
Council members: Jesse Isaacman-Beck, Sharon Greenblum, Saumyaa, Bradley Tolar,
Abby Sarkar, Huy Nguyen, Virginie Gabel, Kate Brown, Jorik VandeGroep, Arnaud
Bruyas, Katie Grabek, Francesca, Fabio Zanini, Gina Bouchard, Daniel Joyce, Marc
Ferro, Rob Munn, Claudia Schmuckermair, Jacek Kozuch, Simon Haziza, Yu-Wen
Alvin Huang, Tobia Morawietz, Bo Zhao, Meng-Meng Fu, Lise Retailleau, Vanessa
Jane Bukas, Gernot Neumayer,
Quorum: Yes, 12 council members
(+1 Gina got elected to council and was included in later part of the proceedings)
(+1 Fabio- arrived late, included in later part of the proceedings, post elections)
Meeting called to order by co-chairs, Jesse Isaacman-Beck , Sharon
Discussion on March council meeting proceedings and elections:
Francesca raised the concerns that any changes that are being made in practice
should be first made in the bylaws.
Following actions taken in the last 2 council meetings are up for discussion:
- Jorik’s election to communication (email) leadership position in his absence.
He had provided a written statement.
- Virginie was elected to events coordinator leadership position, but had not
resigned from her previous social media chair position during the meeting
- Elections result of March meeting were communicated through email after
Motion for approval of:
- Joriks’ election - Unanimous approval (12 yes)
- Virginie’s election - Unanimous approval (12 yes)
- Communication of election result via email - Unanimous approval (12 yes)
Approval of Feb meeting minutes: A non-unanimous majority approval
11 yes, 1 No (Francesca)
Elections and Nominations:
Gina Bouchard was elected to council as a new council member with unanimous
approval (12 yes)
Motion for accepting self-nomination of Gina for Library rep position: non-
unanimous majority approval - 11 yes, 1 no (Francesca)
Abby self- nominated for SOM Faculty rep position during the meeting. Motion for
accepting self-nomination of Abby for SOM Faculty Rep: unanimous approval-12 yes
Motion for electing Abby for SOM Faculty rep in the current council meeting by
- As the position had been advertised for past 3months and there is an
upcoming Faculty meeting before the next SURPAS council meeting, Bradley
proposed a motion to conduct the elections during the current council
- Result: All yes – 14 ( includes Gina vote who got elected into council earlier
during the meeting and Fabio who arrived late to the meeting)
Updates from leadership (Sharon/Jesse)
1. NPA- NPA meeting was attended by Sharon, Jesse and Virginie from the
council and a few other postdocs. There were posters submitted by OPA in
addition to poster from SURPAS, which increased the total number of
submissions from Stanford and thus may explain a low acceptance from
SURPAS submissions. SURPAS representatives got an opportunity to connect
with a Postdoc Associations from many new institutions and will be looking
to share information with them on events and advocacy efforts that work.
2. PRISM (Postdoc Recruitment Initiative at the School of Medicine) – It was
hosted by the OPA. It’s purpose is to bring in graduating PhD students from
backgrounds underrepresented in biosciences to meet and interview with
Stanford professors for postdoctoral positions. SURPAS council members and
some other postdocs volunteered to meet/greet these candidates, host
lunches and dinners and escorting them to interviews. It was a success.
3. PACPA meeting- At PACPA there was a vote for increase of 3.5% in salary,
but also a recognition that there is a need to think of more sustainable ways
to ease the postdoc financial burden.
4. Long term planning projects for postdocs on voluntary basis – initiative
by Sue Mc Connel
Sue McConnel reached out to SURPAS for suggestions of postdocs to serve on
a committee to review long-range planning proposals focused on building
Meng-Meng fu expressed interest in this.
5. Meeting with Provost – A meeting with Provost has been scheduled for
May 3, Wed from 11:30am – 12:30pm. At this meeting 3 things will be
discussed – 1) What postdocs do for Stanford community with emphasis on
mentoring/teaching. 2) What resources we have that are great with focus on
OPA and administration 3) What resources would benefit our
community/enrich our experience.
Co-chairs have been asked to limit this meeting to 15-20 postdocs which
includes 2 leaders from each of the 4 other Postdoc Groups on campus and
probably 2 postdocs with family/kid’s so that their perspective is heard
(based on Fabio’s recommendation). Therefore, it will not be possible to have
the entire council join this meeting. A committee will be created to plan this
Fabio raised a point that there should be more critical thinking on the
content of this meeting and the concerns that are most important to be raised
6. BAPS (Bay Area Postdoc Symposium) – Bay Area postdoc Syposium in
being organized by Bay area Postdoc association. It will be in Marin county at
Buck Institute. This location was selected due to the difficulty in securing a
big venue in SF. Focus of the symposium is on science communication. Some
postdocs from SURPAS council and some other Stanford postdocs are willing
to volunteer for the event.
Motion for SURPAS support of BAPS (only voluntary help): Unanimous
approval (14 yes)
Report on SURPAS Budget (Bradley)
Bradley shared a report of past expenditures. Based on the committees finalized
today budget can be re-allocated to different committees and events. Our last
SURPAS HH went over budget. We should keep it low in future or decide as a council
to direct more money towards it. SPIF has been allotted a big share of budget but it
is being under used. Symposium was one of our major event last year but most of its
funding came from Dean Will Talbot’s office and VPGE. SURPAS spent a very small
amount on it.
Stanford scientists support immigrants – Initiative by Meng-Meng Fu
She is involved in advocacy for international postdocs on immigration issues.
Main concerns are:
- Muslim Ban
- Changes to H1B visa:
o H1b premium processing has been discontinued.
o Grassley Bill gives priority to those with American degrees
The committee’s goal is to advocate for policy changes in favor of postdocs by
communicating to local legislators.
So far they have organized meetings with local congressmen/women - Ro Khanna,
Her primary focus is on the changes that are being proposed to H1b visas.
How can postdocs help :
By providing feedback. If there is a specific issue due to sudden changes in laws,
postdocs (even international) should contact their local congressmen/women. They
can join for the meetings that Meng-Meng organizes with the local representatives.
They can engage more people in this conversation.
Advocacy Initiatives (Abby Sarkar)
This was her first meeting as advocacy coordinator. She proposed the following
- Meeting with Provost, May 3 rd , 2017 - Make a temporary committee for that
- Data Collection – To gather data to argue for postdoc value on campus, and
determine postdoc needs among the community. This can fall under
Community Engagement and Education committee
- Communication- Communicate postdoc value to campus and postdoc needs
among the community. Various surpass initiatives already in work- white
paper, blog, Stanford Daily Articles, will be a part of this. This can fall under
- Housing - Determine postdoc housing needs and brainstorm methods to
address. There is plan under process to make a heatmap of where postdocs
live in Bay Area in association with OPA. This falls under housing committee.
- Undergraduate outreach program- To engage postdocs in undergraduate
education and mentorship. This can be under Community Engagement and
So the following four committees can fall under Advocacy coordinator –
- Provost meeting committee
- Community Engagement and Education committee
Committee chairs of each of these committees should set some long-term and short-
term goals. They should with advocacy chair twice every term to discuss committee
goals, activities, allies and support.
Discussion on committees
In addition to the committees proposed to be under the Advocacy coordinator,
following committees/ changes to committees were proposed-
- Housing & Transportation committee – Transportation can be combined with
housing committee, since these two issues are related to each other.
Francesca explained that transportation committee is still needed as we need
to keep collecting data for GoPass. Later on it can make push for VTA pass.
- Community Engagement and Education committee- Undergraduate
mentorship and teaching committees initiatives can potentially be combined
under this umbrella
- Social and Sports committee- This will combine social events –such as Happy
Hours, coffee hours and sports events- mainly the monthly hikes.
- SPIF – SPIF needs more members. We will promote SPIF to recruit more
- Research Symposium committee- we need to recruit new co-chairs for
Meeting called to closure by co-chairs Jesse and Sharon at 1:00pm