Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Postdoc Academy?
The Postdoc Academy is a flexible professional development program, built specifically for postdocs. This new program is funded by the National Institutes of Health and is a collaboration between Boston University, Northwestern University, Michigan State University, and the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Read more about our team.
What programming does the Postdoc Academy provide?
The Postdoc Academy is creating two online courses with supplemental in-person learning communities. The first online course, titled Succeeding as a Postdoc, launched in January 2020. This course supports skills that are critical for postdocs of all stages and disciplines.
The second course is expected to launch in July 2021. This advanced course will focus on building skills that are important for your next career step – whatever that might be.
How much time commitment is the online course?
The course lasts 6 weeks. Each week has approximately 2-4 hours of activities, videos, and discussion forums. You are able to complete the course at any time while it’s running!
What topics will be covered in the online course?
The first course will help you build skills to (1) find success as a postdoc, (2) draft an actionable career plan, (3) work effectively in an intercultural environment, and (4) develop resilience.
How much does it cost to take the online course?
All of the Postdoc Academy programming is available for free! There is an option to purchase a Verified Certificate from edX, but the content of the online course is the same either way.
What's the difference between the free and Verified track on edX?
First and foremost, the content in the course is identical – whether you are in the free track or the Verified track.
If you complete the course in the Verified track, you will receive a Verified Certificate from edX. If you complete the course in the free track, you’ll receive a Certificate of Completion from the Postdoc Academy directly.
All learners can access their course materials indefinitely!
Help! I see an error message on the edX course.
If you are accessing the course on the Safari browser, you might see an error message saying “authentication failed – please report this issue to your administrator”. Please try:
- Access the course using a different browser, such as Google Chrome
- Enable third party cookies on your browser
For all other technical questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I missed the first two runnings of the online course. When can I register to take it?
The course will begin again in April 2021!
How can I download the Postdoc Academy content?
Check out the “Explore” tab on this website! All of the content is released under a Creative Commons license, so you are welcome to adopt and adapt the materials to fits the needs of your specific group.
I'm interested in meeting other postdocs. How can we use the Postdoc Academy to do that at my institution or in my discipline?
The Postdoc Academy supports learning communities, called Postdoc Academy Learning Sessions (PALS). These are small groups of postdocs who meet weekly while the course is running. You can dive into the online content deeper and connect with other postdocs. Each PALS is run by a facilitator – a postdoc, faculty member, staff – anyone who supports postdocs.
You can start a PALS at your institution or in your discipline using this form.
I'm looking to join a PALS, but I don't know how to find one at my institution.
You can fill out this page or check the discussion forums on the online course. There could be one!
If there isn’t one near you, you have a few options. You can either start one or join a virtual PALS!
If I facilitate a PALS, what support can I expect?
By joining our Community of Facilitators, you can:
- Receive our detailed Facilitator Guide and marketing materials
- Learn from other facilitators and network with other practitioners
- Access online facilitation trainings, held quarterly
- Attend in-person facilitation trainings, held yearly at the National Postdoc Association Annual Conference
- Access evaluation tools, including pre-session and post-session surveys
- Stay up-to-date with upcoming online and in-person events
Interested? Sign-up today.
In-person training? Tell me more.
We have partnered with the National Postdoc Association to hold a day-long Facilitator Training ahead of the NPA Annual Conference. This year, the NPA Conference was cancelled, so we reformatted the training to a series of four virtual sessions.
This immersive workshop will provide hands-on facilitator training, professional development resources, and introduce you to the community of PALS facilitators. Training is open to everyone, designed specifically for those interested in adapting our content to local programming, and accessible to newer facilitators. We will expand on traditional programs by working through inclusive facilitation strategies and assisting participants to develop strategies for capacity building within their own institution. We focus on developing and practicing facilitator skills, as well as creating a community of practitioners, in addition to disseminating our materials and content.
This Facilitator Training will be held annually ahead of the NPA Annual Conference!
I heard the Postdoc Academy team will facilitate workshops for postdocs at my institution. How do I find out more information?
Starting in 2020, the Postdoc Academy will virtually travel to your institution to facilitate workshops. If you’re interested, please complete the interest form.
I still have a question. Who can I contact?
You can always reach us at email@example.com.