March Postdoc Council Digest
A summary of Senate committees and Postdoc Council deliberations relevant to postdocs at Pitt.
Benefits & Welfare, Cristina
•Guest from TIAA.
Budget Policies, Jenny
•Committee is looking to form subcommittees to meet with and better oversee unit counterparts.
Computing & IT, Doug
•Remote learning raises concerns about data rights management.
•IT policies: Network access and use policies are being updated.
•Looking for members to serve on subcommittees on data governance and information security.
•Creating a cloud storage comparison matrix for pros and cons of various options.
•Transition to OneDrive: will be very expensive, but ultimately decided to extend contract with Box for one year until 2022 to allow more time to transition. Currently have 2.8 petabytes on Box.
•University has saved a lot owing to transition to mobile devices.
Educational Policies, Tenzin
•Cindy Golden introducing a center at Pitt for resources for online and hybrid learning with course materials.
•Grading flexibility during pandemic. Discussion around granting ‘S’ for Satisfactory or ‘NC’ for non-credit. Alternatively, considering offering late withdrawals. Have not reached consensus. The Student Admissions committee has also discussed this problem, with the consensus that it was up to the students whether to opt for the ‘S’ or ‘NC’ or ‘W’ with the understanding that it could impact future applications.
Student Admissions, Aid & Affairs, Dave
•Recommendations from committee included considering funding (scholarships, etc) towards Black scientists, centralized community spaces for graduate students across campus.
Plant Utilization & Planning, Bruce
•Looking to provide assistance to access WiFi for both university members and underserved communities.
Governmental Relations, Stephanie
•Harrisburg: can virtually participate in Pitt Day: https://www.commrel.pitt.edu/pitt-day-harrisburg-2021.
•Looking to rally support for the University, no new events planned as of now.
Faculty Affairs, Ashley
•Cluster hiring initiative (iChange network): Cohort of 19 universities teaming up to hire faculty on an inclusive basis over the next 3 years. The research must be focused on race or health equity across all departments.
•FIRST: NIH Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation. (U54 grant) Hiring 10 junior faculty over 10 years.
•Postdocs may be eligible to transition into faculty positions, but the cluster hiring initiative is not specifically focused on this.
•New position in Center for Teaching and Learning for inclusive teaching practices with several upcoming events, including diversity and curriculum award and others.
•Working with Senate Budget committee to examine salary increases to address disparities, including postdoc scholar vs associate. Lin Wang would be contact person on this.
Procedures & Bylaws, Sushobhan (tabled)
•Proposing an amendment for part-time faculty to be automatically made voting members of the Senate without a need to opt-in. The current need disproportionately harms women and people and color. Current rules are also widely disparate.
•Proposing term limits for Senate officers and figuring out a timeline for implementation if approved.
•Committee considered the allowability of candidates running for multiple offices at the same time. Since it’s a very rare occurrence, it was decided that the rules need not be clarified at this time.