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Postdocs Meet Health Science Center President

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Author: Charlotte Anthony | Category: Around Campus | April 16, 2015

The UTHSCSA Postdoctoral Association (UP) recently met President William Henrich at the first annual postdoc dinner.

Rhea Fraser, a postdoctoral trainee and president of UP, explained that the goal of the dinner was to establish a connection with the members of the UTHSCSA Postdoctoral Association and the Health Science Center President.

“We hoped the dinner would be a means to simply meet the person at the head of our workplace and to facilitate open dialogue about the concerns of postdocs,” Fraser said. “The dinner created a reciprocal opportunity for President Henrich and postdoc UP members to listen to one another’s thoughts and ideas about research and policy that affect postdoctoral training at the university.”

Fraser explained that the mission of UP is to support and advance postdoctoral training at UT Health Science Center in San Antonio.

“We wanted President Henrich to know how we felt about issues like standardization of institutional policies (position title/promotion/minimum salary), funding difficulties, career development opportunities, and plights of international postdocs (visa conflicts, inappropriate lengthy work schedules),” Fraser said.

Bridget Ford, a postdoctoral trainee at the Research Imaging Institute, explained that she was most interested in hearing President Henrich’s thoughts on how he would relay any potential policy changes (most notably salary increases) to faculty members.

“I wanted to know how he would help ensure new guidelines are enacted fairly and across the board for all postdoctoral fellows at UTHSCSA,” Ford said.

Ford explained that it was important for her to let President Henrich know about the lives of postdocs at the UT Health Science Center..

“The very nature of the position as a trainee dictates a transient existence as neither student nor employee, which makes enacting any sort of change difficult,” Ford said. “I was happy that we were able to have this dialogue with him on several pressing issues and the types of inequities that postdocs face even from lab-to-lab within the university.”

Akash Bhattacharya, a postdoctoral trainee in Dr. Ivanov’s lab, said that he felt that the dinner was a useful meeting.

“I walked away with a much more expanded view of the responsibilities facing the Health Science Center President. We are all cognizant of our larger mission, but in the daily work of seeking out another data point in some experiment, that mission is sometimes at the back of our minds,” Bhattacharya said. “I came away from this meeting with a somewhat renewed sense of purpose.”

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