Saturday, August 15, 2015


TO:                           All University of Minnesota Postdoctoral Scholars
FROM:                     The University of Minnesota Postdoctoral Association (PDA)
SUBJECT:              Call for Nominations: Award for Outstanding Mentors of Postdoctoral Scholars

DEADLINE: August 26, 2015

We seek your nominations for candidates for the University of Minnesota Award for Outstanding Mentors of Postdoctoral Scholars. The award recognizes extraordinary performance and achievement in mentoring postdoctoral fellows, postdoctoral associates, and research associates within five years of obtaining their PhDs at the University of Minnesota. Outstanding mentoring is a critical element contributing to success during the postdoctoral training period. While faculty mentors play a key role in guiding postdoctoral scholars, this award recognizes a range of possible outstanding mentoring relationships.[1] Up to two awards will be made. Each recipient will receive a commemorative award certificate and be recognized during Postdoctoral Appreciation Week in September 2015.


The nominee must have mentored one or more postdoctoral scholars. The nominator must have been mentored by the nominee (although it is not necessary that the nominee be the nominator’s principal research advisor) for a period of at least six months. Postdoctoral scholars may nominate only one mentor; however, mentors may be nominated by one or more individuals. In the case of nominations by more than one individual, a single letter of nomination may be submitted on behalf of the nominating group.

Selection Criteria

Although mentoring can take many forms, award recipients will be selected based on the criteria below, which exemplify the qualities and practices that characterize an outstanding mentor.

  • Leadership: The mentor should provide resources and support to aid in their postdoc’s research and help in accomplishing significant intellectual and leadership goals in the scholar’s field of expertise.  He or she should push the postdoc to write grant applications and publications. The nominee should demonstrate overall support for the scholar in establishing a framework for professional success, guiding the scholar in such activities as making significant contributions to research, scholarship and/or creative activities, securing external funding to support their work, and/or establishing a strong early publishing record.
  • Placement: The mentor should introduce the post-doc to their network.  There could be evidence or collaborations or other advancement from these introductions. The mentor should have a track record of job placement for postdocs and be supportive of postdoctoral scholar’s application to independent positions.
  • Advocacy: The mentor should promote their postdocs within the field by allowing and supporting attendance and participation in scientific conferences. Nominees should also encourage their postdocs to take on service or leadership roles within the department or institution. The mentor should support efforts by the postdoctoral scholar to build and engage in a significant intellectual community in order to enhance the overall scholarly, intellectual, and creative development of the postdoctoral community at the University of Minnesota and/or at the national level, such as through involvement in a professional organization.
  • Training: The mentor should encourage and guide the postdoctoral scholar in making optimal use of the postdoctoral appointment for professional development and training. They should provide opportunities for the postdoc to learn new techniques and/or technologies directly benefiting their research. The mentor should also provide training for professional development directly or support participation in workshops, webinars, classes, etc to obtain these skills, such as grant writing, lab management, institutional review, committee work, teaching, mentorship/leadership, networking, and/or presentation skills.

How to Nominate a Candidate

To nominate your mentor, submit a nomination letter of no more than 2 pages (single–spaced) electronically as a Word or PDF file to Your nomination letter should:
  • Address the characteristics of effective mentors described above. While you are encouraged to keep your comments brief, make sure to provide appropriate and relevant details about your chosen mentor; and
  • Include the nominee’s contact information, and your contact information (name, campus address, email), as well as the contact information for any co-nominators. In cases where there is more than one nominator, a primary contact should be identified.

Please direct questions to

DEADLINE: August 26, 2015

The PDA is supported by the Graduate School
321 Johnston Hall    101 Pleasant Street SE    Minneapolis, MN 5545

[1] Individuals eligible for nomination for the Award for Outstanding Mentors of Postdoctoral Scholars include all
faculty (full- or part-time, affiliated, adjunct, tenure-track or tenured faculty), research associates, and all other
individuals who meet the selection criteria above. Eligible individuals must have a Human Resources appointment
at the University of Minnesota.