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Postdoc Mentor Guidelines

Mentor’s Role

MSRI takes the mentoring of Postdocs very seriously. Mentors and Postdocs are paired at the beginning of each semester, and mentors are urged to meet regularly with their partners. We distribute the following suggestions for topics of discussion to both parties, and monitor the progress of the relationship to help ensure that each postdoc receives the level of mentoring he or she desires and needs.

Establishing a research plan:

  • Designated weekly meeting
  • A discussion at the beginning of the semester about the project(s) the PdF is pursuing and ideas about how to choose projects
  • Introductions to senior researchers in the PdF’s area
  • Advice on how to write a paper well (point to literature on this subject); give feedback on paper drafts
  • Advice about publication (e.g. how quickly to publish a thesis, choosing and dealing with journals, etc.)
  • NSF grant proposal writing; feedback on proposal drafts, from beginning to submission

Planning for professional development:

  • Advice on writing a CV and a research and teaching statements
  • Advice on preparing for interviews
  • Advice on how to give a good talk
  • Have the PdF give a colloquium talk and critique the talk afterward; also advise on giving talks at national meetings, etc.
  • Discussion on how to address the various aspects of an academic career (proportion of research/teaching/service at various stage of one’s career; etc.)

We will ask for a quarterly report from mentor and PdF on their experience and progress. The report will need to address the above points.

 In addition to individual mentoring that each PdF will recieve at his or her institution, there will be a 3-day workshop at AIM.

The 3-day, June 20-22, workshop "Careers in Academia"
will focus on preparing each participant for a successful career
as a mathematician at a college or university.

Applications are open to postdocs who currently hold an
appointment which will end in 2012 or 2013.  AIM will
cover all participant expenses.  More information,
and an application form, are available at