Postdocs React to the FLSA Fiasco – Part 2

Postdocs React to the FLSA Fiasco – Part 2

This is a guest post by Future of Research board member, Adriana Bankston. It is the second of two posts (the first post can be found here). Our paper on the effect of the FLSA on postdoc salaries has now been updated here, with analysis of how the injunction and collapse of the updates to the FLSA affected postdocs. Comments to the Department of Labor on a new set of updates were submitted by both the National and UAW5810 branch of the Union of Auto Workers, specifically addressing postdocs.   As stated in the previous post, Future of Research has been tracking the national compliance of institutions with the FLSA ruling both before and after the injunction. Unfortunately, some institutions, including MSU, chose to cancel salary raises for their postdocs, causing a great deal of chaos and confusion. To find out how postdocs in this situation felt, in this second blog post, we spoke with postdocs at MSU whose salaries were cancelled following the injunction.   The effects of cancelling salary raises   Michigan State University (MSU) was one of the institutions where postdoctoral salary raises were cancelled. A common thread among MSU postdocs we interviewed, who wished to remain anonymous, was feeling underappreciated. One MSU postdoc states having had “a constant feeling of being under-appreciated, over-worked, professionally frustrated, and constantly pulling the thrown-in-towel out of the ‘screw-academia’ pile” for the past two years. Postdocs at MSU stated that the initial FLSA ruling gave them a bit of hope. It gave one postdoc the impression that “these past months waiting for a decision to be made were worth it” and made...

How to help those affected by Hurricane Maria

With thanks to Daniel Colon-Ramos from Ciencia Puerto Rico, we want to share with you ways you can help those affected by Hurricane Maria, in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.   Members of our community have been directly and indirectly impacted by the devastation caused by Maria. Many people have loved ones and collaborators who are in the midst of the crisis. Hurricane Maria has left 3.5 million people without power in the archipelago of Puerto Rico in a massive humanitarian crisis. Almost all of the population have no power and 75% don’t have water service at home; according to the Pentagon, 44% don’t have access to drinking water. Approximately 80% of the population do not have access to communication services, as landlines, cell towers and internet access are severely affected.   CenadoresPR and CienciaPR have collected and vetted ways of helping those affected, and kindly shared this information with us: If people need to find information about family, friends or community in Puerto Rico, email the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) at maria1@prfaa.pr.gov or contact them at 202-800-3133 or 202-800-3134. Another organization providing assistance to PRFAA is the Puerto Rico Family Institute at 212-414-7895. Google has also activated its Google Person Finder The American Red Cross has a  Safe and Well page, where survivors can register and post messages, and loved ones can search for registrants. Those worried about missing friends or relatives with a serious health condition are encouraged to call the Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767, so volunteers on the ground can follow-up.   They have also collected and vetted ways of aiding recovery: Donations to...
FoR public statement on “Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century”

FoR public statement on “Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century”

  Today (September 22nd) is the *last day* to submit comments to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine study, “Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century”. Click here to find out how you can submit today and make yourself heard. The Board of Directors of Future of Research has submitted the following statement:   Graduate students are an investment in the future of science, and therefore are in the best shape to guide the future of the scientific enterprise. However, they are not equipped with the necessary resources to succeed within the current scientific climate, in particular as it relates to their transition into productive, independent careers, either within or outside academia, on a long-term basis. Even well-meaning academic mentors are not always aware of these needs or are unable to help trainees in their lab transition into careers outside academia. This is particularly important given that the majority of trainees will be employed in non-academic careers (National Science Foundation n.d.); that 80% of U.S. biomedical PhDs are currently pursuing postdoctoral training (Sauermann and Roach 2016; Kahn and Ginther 2017); and that the number of biomedical PhDs in the U.S. labor market exceeds the number of jobs requiring biomedical PhDs (Mason et al. 2016). Many graduate students may not have the opportunity to improve their training due to limited professional development resources at the university level.   There is a definite need for more offerings from various stakeholders for helping scientists become more prepared for particular careers. Online courses could be useful, but the Committee could further discuss the means by which institutions and mentors can...
ONE WEEK LEFT to submit comments to Committee on Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century

ONE WEEK LEFT to submit comments to Committee on Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century

Two studies, currently underway at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, are soliciting public input as part of their process, and they need to hear from you. ONE of the studies has only ONE WEEK LEFT for you to submit input.   The Committee on Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century invites public input here on its Discussion Document and Call for Community Input through September 22, 2017.   See our action page at http://futureofresearch.org/nasfeedback/ for more info....
FoR College Park meeting on Mentoring in STEM: registration closes NOON EASTERN SEPTEMBER 15TH

FoR College Park meeting on Mentoring in STEM: registration closes NOON EASTERN SEPTEMBER 15TH

*REGISTRATION for the Ethical and Inspiring Mentorship in STEM Meeting will CLOSE AT NOON ET SEPTEMBER 15TH*   Register here – remember, registration refunds will be available at the registration desk, breakfast and lunch will be included. UMD College Park is just off the Green Line.   The great speakers we have lined up, plus the series of workshops to tackle how to center mentoring into academia, are going to make for an exciting meeting with lots of discussion – check out the #MentoringFutureSci tweetchat from Sep 12th on Twitter to see some of the issues we want to address!...