Our four institutions will collaborate to improve the quality and inclusiveness of postdoctoral training, working with partner organizations such as the National Research Mentor Network (NRMN) and the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA), and leveraging the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) Network. Program evaluation will apply direct assessments and focus groups toward evaluating a workshop model that emphasizes the generation of work products and motivating behavioral change for postdocs, plus track participation statistics and completion rates, and collect formative pre-, mid- and post-workshop learning assessments. The Impact of this program will be to expand the perspective of competencies to be mastered as part of postdoc training, and to establish broadly available resources to maximize access to learning of these competencies for a variety of biomedical careers.
Specific Aim 1 : Develop a postdoc orientation program that will ensure all postdocs begin their training equipped with skills critical for their long-term success. Once postdocs have completed entry-level online professional development activities and identified their career goals, our online platform will support long-term strategic planning through the development of a new postdoc career advancement plan (PCAP) tool. The PCAP will help postdocs and their research mentors transition postdoctoral career planning from a shorter-term Individual Development Plan into a longer-term strategy that defines concrete milestones for research productivity, skill development, and career outcomes mapped to their desired career trajectory.
Specific Aim 2 : Create a Postdoc Academy MOOC series delivered online and in blended formats. We will develop 15 stand-alone digital workshop modules that will be constructed into two MOOCs, called the Postdoc Academy. The Postdoc Academy will be offered fully online for postdocs wishing to access professional development at their own pace, as well as in a blended format (online combined with in-person) to build local communities and to serve those postdocs desiring higher levels of engagement from professional development.
Specific Aim 3 : Partner with the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) and other national organizations, scientific societies, and research networks to ensure the Postdoc Academy is accessible to a diverse postdoc population. We will make our Pathways program accessible to a wider population of postdocs nationwide through partnering with the Professional Development Core within NRMN as well as other national initiatives and outreach activities.
Specific Aim 4 : Disseminate the Postdoc Academy and build the capacity of postdoc professional development programs and resources at other institutions. We will create detailed facilitator instructional guides and resources to open access to the Postdoc Academy MCLC blended learning model, help build local support networks for postdocs at institutions outside of our partnership, and so achieve large-scale impact. We will disseminate through a train-the-trainer workshop for faculty and administrators.
Improving the training experience for current postdoctoral scholars will improve their career prospects and build a diverse biomedical workforce. Effective and flexible professional development can affect change and has been linked to postdoctoral scholar success and informed career decisions. Our Postdoctoral Pathways program will enhance postdoctoral scholars? skills and prepare them to solve critical challenges in human health as future leaders in the biomedical workforce.