Office of the Provost


TO: Members of the Council of Deans
FROM: James V. Maher
DATE: May 22, 2003

Postdoctoral Fellows Employment Classification

The employment category of “postdoc” has been a source of confusion for many years at this university and at most other research universities in the United States. We all agree with the definition that was presented by the AAU Committee on Postdoctoral Education in 1998; however, researchers satisfying this definition are currently employed at the University of Pittsburgh in a variety of different classifications, with benefits varying by classification. Last spring I appointed a small committee to investigate the employee classifications and associated benefits of postdocs at the University of Pittsburgh and to recommend how to solve any problems identified. That committee has presented its report and, after consultation with Human Resources, I am accepting their recommendations.

This new classification will provide greater equity in benefits for postdocs and will clarify the position of research associate. I attach new definitions of research associate/postdoc employee types, effective September 1st of this year, and a schedule for implementation of these new types. This is the first step in our efforts to improve the employment environment for these important researchers.

Senior Vice Chancellor Arthur S. Levine and I are appointing a new committee to consider employment policies for postdocs, i.e., persons in Employee Type A or B. Their considerations will include such things as appointment, reappointment, early termination, grievance procedures, minimum salaries, and length of tenure as postdoc.

As a major research university, the University of Pittsburgh needs to attract the highest quality young researchers as postdocs to work under the supervision of its distinguished research faculty. I believe that with these new policies and procedures in place, we will be able to offer prospective young researchers an attractive employment environment. This, coupled with the outstanding research opportunities available at our University, should enable us to recruit the best young scholars to the University of Pittsburgh.


cc: Ronald W. Frisch, Associate Vice Chancellor, Human Resources
Arthur S. Levine, Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences and Dean, School of Medicine


James V. Maher

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