The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Postdoctoral Scholar Policies
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill annually hosts approximately 800 Postdoctoral Scholars on its campus. Postdoctoral Scholars (“Scholars”) are placed in many different departments and centers at the University, and they are associated with the University primarily with the goal to continue their academic training. However, some aspects of their relationship with the University more resemble those of employees.
Given the hybrid nature of their association, the University has developed these policies to better outline the University’s and the Postdoctoral Scholar’s obligations and expectations in various contexts.
II. Definition of Postdoctoral Scholars
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will utilize the FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) definition of Postdoctoral Scholars. This includes the following criteria:
1) the appointee was awarded a Ph.D., equivalent doctorate or terminal degree (e.g., Sc.D., M.D., M.F.A.) in an appropriate field;
2) the appointment is temporary;
3) the appointment involves substantially full-time research or scholarship;
4) the appointment is viewed as preparatory for a full-time academic or research career;
5) the appointment may be part of a clinical training program, if research training under the supervision of a mentor is a primary purpose of the appointment;
6) the appointee works under the supervision of a scholar or a department in a university or similar research institution (e.g., national laboratory, NIH, etc.); and
7) the appointee is expected to publish the results of his or her research or scholarship during the period of appointment, in consultation with his or her mentor.
III. Expectations of Postdoctoral Scholars
2) adherence to ethical standards;
3) compliance with good laboratory practice and recognized University standards;
4) observation of established guidelines for research involving biohazards, human subjects or animals;
5) open and timely discussion with the mentor regarding research progress, distribution of reagents or materials, or any disclosure of findings or techniques privately or in publications;
6) collegial conduct towards coworkers; and
7) compliance with all applicable University policies and procedures.
IV. Appointment and Discontinuation Policies for Postdoctoral Scholars
A. Appointment and Discontinuation of Appointment
The maximum term of service for a Postdoctoral Scholar is five years. Following this five-year training period, a Postdoctoral Scholar must either be moved into an established employee position (options listed on Office of Postdoctoral Services (OPS) website) or separated.
· This term of service refers to total time spent at UNC-Chapel Hill under rank code 27 or 28, and does not include time spent at other institutions.
To request an extension of appointment, postdoc mentors/advisors
may submit a Request for Extension of Appointment form, indicating
exceptional circumstances that require an extended appointment. This form must
be cosigned by the Postdoctoral Scholar, as well as the department chair (or
dean when appropriate), and submitted to the Vice Chancellor for Research and
Economic Development. Requests for extensions will be reviewed on a case-by-case
basis. (The form for requesting extensions is available on the OPS website.)
B. Discontinuation of Appointment Other Than for Cause
1. Discontinuation with Notice
A Postdoctoral Scholar may have his/her appointment ended at any time upon ninety calendar days’ prior written notice.
2. Discontinuation due to Funding
A Postdoctoral Scholar may have his/her appointment ended at any time upon ninety calendar days’ prior written notice if the funding supporting his/her appointment ends.
3. Discontinuation due to Expiration of Term
A Postdoctoral Scholar’s appointment for a stated definite term expires automatically at the conclusion of the stated term. No advance written notice of non-renewal is required to be provided to the Scholar in this case. But, upon request of the Scholar made in writing to the appropriate department chair not earlier than 120 calendar days nor later than ninety calendar days before the expiration of a stated definite term, the department chair shall within thirty calendar days thereafter communicate in writing to the Scholar a decision as to whether a renewal or extension will be made. Failure to communicate a decision constitutes notice that no renewal or extension will be offered. The University has the option to renew or extend a Scholar’s appointment, subject to the requirements of Section IV.A., above.
C. Discontinuation of Appointment for Cause
A Postdoctoral Scholar may have his/her appointment ended at any time during the appointment if he/she is found by his/her mentor to have violated the expectations set forth above. Discontinuation of appointment for cause is to be preceded by written notice of intent to discontinue, and is subject to invocation by the affected Scholar of the grievance procedure provided by these Policies (see Section VIII, below).
When a Scholar has been notified of the intention to discontinue his/her appointment for cause, the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development may suspend the Scholar at any time and continue the suspension until a final decision concerning discontinuation is rendered; the power to suspend shall be invoked only in exceptional circumstances, and when it is determined to be in the best interests of the University. Further, such suspension shall be with full pay.
If a Scholar does not initiate a formal grievance (as provided in Section VIII.b, below) within fourteen calendar days after receipt of a written notice of intent to discontinue, then the appointment shall be discontinued immediately without further recourse. If a Scholar initiates a formal grievance and the final outcome of the grievance procedure is to uphold the discontinuation of appointment for cause, then the Scholar’s discontinuation shall be effective as of the date of the final decision in the grievance procedure. If a Scholar initiates a formal grievance and the final outcome of the grievance procedure is not to uphold the discontinuation of appointment for cause, then the Scholar’s discontinuation is effective ninety calendar days following the date of the final decision in the grievance procedure.
A mentor of a Postdoctoral Scholar must complete an annual written evaluation of the Scholar’s performance. The evaluation process should be simple and must include the opportunity for the Scholar to respond in writing to the evaluation.
Effective July 1, 2006, the minimum stipend for a Postdoctoral Scholar shall be no less than $34,200. This level will be assessed annually by the Postdoctoral Advisory Committee and it is projected that this minimal salary level will increase approximately 3% per year. It is recommended that prior to July 1, 2006 all Scholars be paid no less than $34,200. Waivers of this minimal stipend level will be considered but must be for highly unusual reasons.
A Postdoctoral Scholar is eligible for: (a) a minimum of 10 days of compensated vacation leave (in addition to recognized university holidays) per year and (b) 12 days of compensated sick leave per year. Neither vacation leave nor sick leave can be carried over to a new calendar year.
· 10 days of vacation leave is the required minimum – an increased number of vacation days may be negotiated between postdoctoral scholar and mentor.
· Tracking leave is not necessary at the departmental level, but postdocs/mentors may choose to do so on an individual basis.
· Unused vacation and sick leave will not be paid out when the postdoc appointment ends.
· Leave will be made available in total on the 1st day of the postdoc appointment and will be reappointed annually.
· Leave does not accrue and cannot be carried over year to year.
A Postdoctoral Scholar is eligible for six weeks of paid parental leave to care for a new biological or adopted child, which includes exhausting all available vacation and sick leave. This paid parental leave must be taken within one year of the birth or placement of the child.
· Scholars are eligible to use up to six weeks of paid parental leave though they only earn a cumulative total of 22 days vacation and sick leave (approx. 4 ½ weeks) per year.
· Scholars may be eligible for Family and Medical Leave if they meet the eligibility requirements under the temporary employee section of the Family and Medical Leave Policy: (http://hr.unc.edu/Data/SPA/leave/fmla-SPA#sub4)
A Postdoctoral Scholar is eligible to use the University’s Mediation Policy at any time to address a matter of concern.
Additionally, a Postdoctoral Scholar may use the following procedure to address matters of concern related to his/her appointment:
a) The Scholar must make a reasonable effort to resolve the matter through discussions with his or her mentor.
b) If the matter is not adequately resolved by discussion with the mentor, the Scholar may formally request resolution through the mentor’s section head, department chair, center director or other unit administrator directly responsible for the mentor’s professional activities. Such a request must be accompanied by a written statement describing the matter of concern, the supporting facts, and the disposition of prior discussions. The section head, department chair, center director, or other unit administrator responsible shall resolve the matter promptly, providing a written response outlining the reasons for the decision.
c) If still unresolved, the Scholar may formally request resolution by the Dean of the School in which the mentor is appointed. Such a request must be accompanied by a written statement describing the matter of concern, the supporting facts, and the disposition of prior discussions. The Dean shall resolve the matter promptly, providing a written response outlining the reasons for the decision.
d) If still unresolved, the Scholar may formally request in writing a resolution by the Provost.
Adopted: July 1, 2003
Revised: October 2003, June 2004, March 2005, April 2005, August 2005