Council Meeting Minutes
Stanford Postdoctoral Association
May 31 st , 2017, 11.30-1:00pm
Lorry Lokey Stem Cell Building, G1002
Council members: Jesse Isaacman-Beck, Sharon Greenblum, Saumyaa, Abby Sarkar,
Bradley Tolar, Virginie Gabel, Roberta Sala, Arnaud Bruyas, Gina Bouchard, Joanna
Przybyl, John Hegarty, Daniel Joyce, Jorik Vande Groep, Meng-Meng Fu, Bojk
Berghuis, Tristan Lerbs, Sara Bolin, Christian La, Arsenii Telichko, Ryan Kellog, Aldo
Cordova Palomera, Monica Mendes Kangussu, Ziba Rahbar, Matthew Gebbie, Iona
Marin, Anand Rao
Quorum: Yes, 12 council members
(+2 Meng-Meng Fu and Saumyaa came later. +1 Bojk came after the elections and
did not vote)
Meeting called to order by co-chairs, Jesse Isaacman-Beck , Sharon
Council member elections:
Following postdcos are stood for election to SURPAS council- Christian La, Sara
Bolin, Tristan Lerbs.
They expressed interest in the following intiatives:
Christian La – wants to focus on identity and community, wants to bring different
groups of people together
Sara Bolin- wants to work with sports and social committee
Tristan Lerbs- in interested in working with communications committee
Jorik was up for re-election to council. He has served as communications chair
(email) for SURPAS and helped out with various events organized by SURPAS.
Election results: 14 yes
Updates on Provost meeting:
The meeting with provost was help on May 5th. A committee was formed with
representatives from different postdoc associations on campus and some postdoc
parents to participate in this meeting. They met a couple of times before the
scheduled meeting to plan and prepare.
Some of the major issues discussed were the following:
Provost was prepared for concern. Major point here was that where should the
money come from? Provost believes that it should come from PIs and she was very
firm in her stance about it. The idea was proposed to get some tuition stream
directed towards postdoc salary but provost didn’t agree.
Anand commented that university can provide a much smaller but useful financial
assistance to postdcos by matching postdoc retirement contribution. Stanford will
also get a tax benefit for that.
Boik commented that there needs to be a paradigm shift. If professors get paid from
the tuition, postdocs should too as they play a makor role in mentoring and training
Provost wasn’t interested in building housing. Meng-Meng commented that Dean
Will Talbot is interested in finding housing solutions. Roberta commented that
another issue with housing is that there is a limitation of how many buildings can be
made on campus.
Meng-Meng asked that was diversity and the limitation that people from Stanford
can’t get faculty position in Stanford bought up during the Provost meeting? The
premise for this Stanford policy was to curtail people from the same department to
join Stanford as faculty (which are mostly not from under-represented minority), in
a way to increase diversity. But at the same time this policy hampers
underrepresented minority postdocs at Stanford to progress to a faculty position at
Bradley mentioned that over all Provost and the current administration is very
supportive of postdocs, as compared to the previous administration. Provost herself
was a postdoc at Stanford and was a mother during her postdoctoral period. So she
understands very well we face.
Jesse mentioned that VPGE (Patty Gumport) is very supportive and fights hard for
postdocs. At the end of the meeting she spent more time with SURPAs
representatives and encouraged them to push for postdoc issues with the new
Long term planning
Roberta and Abby serve on the long range planning committee.
Roberta: Everyone should submit all ideas /proposals whether a line or few
paragraphs. Max limit is 3 pages. We should submit as many proposals as possible.
Administration needs to hear directly from the postdocs what they care about. So if
more people submit proposals, even if it is about similar issues, it’s going to make an
impression on administration about the most pressing postdoc issues.
It is also going to give support to our allies in the administration (like VPGE Patty
Gumport). The idea that you are submitting should be beneficial to the whole
campus, not a specific school only.
One potential help in terms of housing can be letting postdocs be CA in
undergraduate resident halls.
Once you submit your ideas your name will be on the website. But if they pick up
your idea you will not be recognized for it individually.
Abby discussed the draft that SURPAs will submit (draft attached). The major issues
that SURPAS proposal targets are-
- limited housing/ transportation options
- subsidized housing
- housing stipend
- temporary housing
- continuation of the Go PASS (which currently 78% of postdocs use)
- childcare co-op for postdocs with kids
- childcare subsidies for postdocs
- increase in salary to NIH minimum plus cost of living adjustment (roughly
- Postdocs’ tuition – for career development programs
It was decided to organize a townhall to engage postdocs in long term planning.
Jorik and Daniel asked that knowing the judging/ feedback criteria would be helpful.
Is it better to submit 100 separate proposals or 1 concrete proposal with 100
signatures on it?
Abby and Roberta replied that it’s not clear yet and they will ask this question again
and the next committee meeting.
Nomination for leadership positions
Jesse and Sharon discussed why it is great to be SURPAS co-chairs.
- It provides you with a leadership opportunity
- You get to experience peer to peer sharing of responsibility
- You get the opportunity to interact with the leadership at the administrative level
Christian asked that how did it affect co-chairs’ research and how did their PI take it.
Sharon responded that she told her PI after accepting the position. He was on board
with it. But ideal would be to discuss this with PI before-hand. She was able to
balance it out with her research. It also helped that she doesn’t do wetlab and most
of her work is computational.
Jesse responded that he shared it with his PI. In his words he was on board as long
as it didn’t take time away from research. Jesse was able to balance out his time
between research and SURPAS.
Bradley explained the duties of treasurer – to make a budget in consultation with
leadership and council, allocate budget to different committees and events, process
Saumyaa explained her roles as secretary- to prepare meeting agenda in
consultation with the co-chairs, note meeting minutes and send out council meeting
announcement to the council members.
Jorik explained that his role involves sending out email announcements for SURPAS.
-Communications (social media)
Daniel explained that under this role you manage various social media accounts for
SURPAS – facebook, twitter, instagram, linkedin
Virginie explained that this role involves organizing some of the SURPAS events and
assisting other committees to organize their events by providing them resources an
Abby explained that in this role you gauge what are the needs of postdoc community
and try to make a push for it. Some of the recent initiatives she undertook were
planning for provost meeting and housing survey.
As webmaster you manage the SURPAS website, update the calendar in consultation
with events coordinator, keep SURPAS leadership team profiles and committee
pages updates. No coding experience is needed for this role.
Letter to new postdocs
Iris (postdoc) has shared a letter to postdocs on postdoc listserv based on her
experience at Stanford. SURPAS had been thinking of drafting a similar letter for a
while. Leadership has taken permission from her to use her letter as a draft to
formalize a letter for incoming postdocs to be sent out by OPA. Daniel and Ziba and
agreed to volunteer to work on this letter.
Meeting called to closure by co-chairs Jesse and Sharon at 1:00pm