Stanford University
Postdoctoral Scholars

Orientation Toolkit for Administrators

Postdoctoral Administrators in departments and lab groups are instrumental in a successful transition of new postdoctoral scholars to Stanford as well as in providing postdocs with necessary and effective support during their training period.  Much of the orientation to the new department or lab environment, requirements regarding training, setup and access to use various equipment or facilities, and troubleshooting any initial issues are activities that postdoctoral administrators perform on a regular basis as part of welcoming new postdocs to Stanford.

This page outlines recommendations for best practices that are expected from Stanford staff who are postdoctoral administrators. Questions regarding these recommendations or suggestions may be made to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs or by requesting to be added to the agenda of the University’s Quarterly Postdoctoral Administrator meetings.

Best Practice Recommendations

    • Does your postdoc need a SUNet ID sponsored prior to the start date of the appointment?  If so, do you know how to sponsor one?
    • Does your postdoc need assistance with arrival logistics, e.g., which airport to fly into, where to look for housing, where to stay the first few days, banking info, DMV locations, transportation to/from campus, etc.?
    • Check the Incoming Postdocs section on the OPA website: and direct your new postdocs to that page prior to their arrival.
    • Consult the new orientation materials/checklists for new staff: Borrow from the site as applicable to your specific needs. 
    • Develop your own checklist for new postdocs that includes:
      1. Postdoc Benefits Orientation Registration
      2. Documentation:  required payroll forms, SU-18, any missing appointment or funding-related documents.
      3. Direct your postdoc to the Incoming Postdocs section on the OPA website
      4. Set-up: keys, key cards, laptops, and/or codes.  Orientation to office space, lab space, department or building facilities, use of department/lab office, supplies.
      5. Community: email distribution lists, organizational chart, who’s who in the research group or the department, information regarding regular seminars, talks and how to receive announcements.
      6. Who to go to for help within your Department/Division/Lab.
    • Prepare a new postdoc folder that includes the essential information—including a campus map, building/facility map, emergency contacts, etc.
    • What are the particular needs you have seen your international postdocs have upon arrival? Include information such as shopping, credit cards and consult the Bechtel International Center’s website for resources and events for new students and scholars.
    • Have a 30-minute appointment with your new postdoc in your office and schedule it prior to his/her arrival.  Go through your checklist and the contents of your folder.  Give your postdoc his/her Stanford ID number and direct him/her to get the Stanford ID Card right away.
    • Recommend that your postdocs register at the Respectful Workplace Training (via AXESS)—offered quarterly by the Human Resources Group at the School of Medicine
    • Inquire about any questions your postdoc might have.
    • Explain to your postdoc when/what he or she could come to you for assistance and tell him/her about the people and offices that support posdocs:

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