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Policy Details

6 -20

University policy for limited-term postdoctoral appointments

(A)        Purpose.

(1)        The university recognizes the valuable research and educational contribution that scholars may make to certain academic fields through limited-term,early-career, non-faculty positions requiring a Ph.D. degree. The university authorizes the office of the chief academic officer to establish such postdoctoral appointments to specific fields in keeping with national standards and university policy.

(2)        Appointments made to these positions allow for such professionals to engage in work at Kent state university, whether compensated or not, and include these professionals in activities of the academic and university community according to university policy and procedures and in accordance to the unit procedures and guidelines to which they are assigned.

(3)        This policy applies to appointments in a distinctive field of work on an intentionally temporary nature. At Kent state university, the titles available for postdoctoral appointments are: postdoctoral fellow, postdoctoral research associate, and postdoctoral research scholar. They may on occasion include a more senior appointment such as postdoctoral senior research associate and postdoctoral senior research scholar. The source of funding as well as the role determines the appropriate title.

(4)        Those authorized to select and sponsor these appointments will make every effort to consider and advance the university’s commitment to diversity and its policy on equal opportunity.

(B)        Definitions as used in this policy.

(1)        Postdoctoral fellow.  A 100% externally funded position that is an educational path for scholars and provides the necessary learning and training in a specific field of study. The primary purpose is professional training through participation in activities associated with research and scholarship.

(2)        Postdoctoral research associate and postdoctoral senior research associate. An academic, but non-faculty, position 100% externally funded for persons who typically participate in the research efforts of faculty. The primary purpose is conducting research and scholarship.

(3)        Postdoctoral research scholar and postdoctoral senior research scholar. An academic, but non-faculty, position for persons who typically participate in the research and scholarship efforts of faculty, similar to research associate, funded jointly by external sources and university funds.

(C)        Appointing requirements.

(1)        Since the appointments are 100% externally funded, all appointments to postdoctoral fellow and research associate/senior research associate must be approved by the department chair and dean of the college, as well as the vice president for research.

(2)        Since the appointment to research scholar/senior research scholar has at least partial funding from university funds, the appointments must be approved by the department chair, dean, vice president for research, and the provost. 

(D)        Procedure and policy implementation.

(1)        Postdoctoral fellows. Fellows will be under the mentorship of a primary faculty member who will seek, nominate, sponsor, and evaluate the fellow’s work. The compensation to a fellow is paid by an external agency specifically for this educational purpose, for the benefit of the fellow to aid in the pursuit of their study or research. The postdoctoral fellow has a unique relationship with Kent state university, not as an employee and distinct from staff, faculty and students. A postdoctoral fellow position is 100% externally funded, and carries no requirement to perform a service to the University. 

(a)        A fellowship is granted for the purpose of aiding the fellow in the pursuit of study or training that will advance his/her education. The primary activity is training through research and scholarship.

(b)        The funding source shall allow for a stipend to support the fellow. The stipend is not considered a salary or payment for services, but rather, according to Internal Revenue Code, an amount paid at regular intervals for the benefit of an individual to aid in the pursuit of research or study.

(c)        A fellow is not an employee and may not perform a service for compensation. The stipend is determined by the granting agency and is based on the field of study and reasonable, like situations. If a granting agency allows limited service for other work, this position must be appointed separately with separate compensation and not be included in the stipend.

(d)        A fellow may be eligible to participate in the health insurance program available to graduate assistants and students.  A portion or all of the insurance premium cost may be reimbursed through grant funding. The fellow will be required to pay any unfunded balance for individual coverage. Any dependent coverage will be at the expense of the fellow. 

(e)        While on campus a fellow is eligible to access certain amenities of the university such as library services, parking, e-mail, facilities, events, and theatre and athletic employee ticket rates, but is not eligible for employee benefits.

(f)         The fellow will have a faculty mentor who will accept responsibility for the sponsorship, mentoring, evaluation, and preparation of the fellow for departure and further career advancement.

(g)        Usually fellows are selected based on expertise in a field of study that is specifically related to a common interest in the mentor’s field of study, so the university’s policies for open recruitment and selection do not apply. It is the mentor’s responsibility to help meet the strategic diversity initiatives of the unit.

(h)        Each postdoctoral fellow must sign a statement at the commencement of the appointment affirming that all rights to inventions or other intellectual property developed by the postdoctoral fellow using university resources, or jointly between the fellow and other university personnel, during the term of appointment will belong to the university in accordance with university policies and state law. During the course of appointment with the university, the postdoctoral fellow must also comply with the federal, state, and local laws, rules and regulations regarding his/her research/assignment, including, but not limited to, intellectual property and export control.

(2)        Postdoctoral research associate/ postdoctoral senior research associate. For purposes of this section, the reference “research associate” or “associate” is the term used for both positions unless otherwise specified. A research associate is an employee of Kent state university with a term appointment.

(a)        The research associate/senior research associate performs research under the direct instruction and supervision of a faculty member in a supporting role. The position is 100% externally funded for both salary and benefits.

(b)        Research associate positions are term positions with typically no more than a two-year appointment. If renewed beyond the two years, the appointment is typically as a senior research associate, a term appointment for not more than three years.

(c)        Since the reason for renewal of this term appointment is to continue the invaluable work being performed, it is not necessary to post and recruit, nor request a waiver of recruiting, for a renewal of an appointment.

(d)        A senior research associate must have two years of experience at Kent state university or at another institution in the same field of study. 

(e)        The university provides, via external funding, a compensation package for the employee including a base salary plus participation in the university health, dental and vision insurance. The employee is also covered by the university’s basic life insurance program.

(f)         The associate is eligible to accrue and use eighty (80) hours of vacation each year with no carry-over from year to year.

(g)        The associate is eligible to accrue sick leave according to university policy.

(h)        The associate will participate in all mandated benefits and provisions such as the state retirement plan, workers’ compensation, etc., and is subject to all payroll deductions standard for employment.

(i)         The associate is eligible to access the amenities of the university like other employees such as access to library services, e-mail, parking, facilities, events, and employee rates for athletics and performances.

(j)         Department units will set the hiring rate for the associate in alignment with the funding source and in alignment with a baseline standard set in each discipline based on market rates for research associates in that discipline. However, in the event that a research associate may be performing the same or similar work as a staff employee, every effort will be made to align the compensation with the staff salary structure as well.

(k)        The associate is eligible to participate in annual compensation review and potential increases based upon the allowed funding from the external agency. However, to be eligible for an increase, a review of performance will be conducted and feedback will be provided to the associate in the spirit of continually advancing the training and learning of the associate for future success.

(l)         To the extent possible, recruiting for research associates will follow the standard university practices for outreach to a diverse pool of candidates as long as the recruiting process does not delay or hinder the ability to meet the compliance requirements of the external agency. The associates will be considered in evaluating the department’s compliance with diversity goals.

(m)       Renewal of appointments is not subject to recruiting and outreach as the nature of the appointment anticipates success and the likelihood that the incumbent will be renewed is a given up to the maximum years allowed.

(3)        Postdoctoral research scholar/postdoctoral senior research scholar. For the purpose of this section, the reference “research scholar” or “scholar” is the term used for both positions unless otherwise specified. A research scholar is an employee of Kent state university with a term appointment.

(a)        The research scholar/senior research scholar primarily performs research under the direct instruction and supervision of a faculty member, but may also perform partial teaching assignment as appropriate. The research scholar position is funded through both external and university funds.

(b)        These positions are term positions with typically no more than a two-year appointment. If renewed beyond the two years, the appointment is a term appointment for not more than three years.

(c)        Since the reason for renewal of a term appointment is to continue the invaluable work being performed, it is not necessary to post and recruit nor request a waiver of recruiting for a renewal of an appointment.

(d)        In order to be eligible for a senior position, a senior research scholar must have two years of related experience at Kent State University or at another institution in the same field of study. 

(e)        The university provides a compensation package for the employee including a base salary plus participation in the health, dental and vision insurance The employee is also eligible to participate in the life insurance program.

(f)         The scholar is eligible to accrue and use eighty (80) hours of vacation each year with no carry-over from year to year.

(g)        The scholar is eligible to accrue sick leave according to university policy.

(h)        The scholar will participate in all mandated benefits and provisions such as the state retirement plan, workers’ compensation, etc., and is subject to all payroll deductions standard for employment.

(i)         The scholar is eligible to access the amenities of the university like other employees such as access to library services, e-mail, parking, facilities, events, and employee rates for athletics and performances.

(j)         Department units will set the hiring rate for the scholar in alignment with the funding source and in alignment with the baseline standard set in each discipline based on market rates for research scholars in that discipline. However, in the event that a research scholar may be performing the same or similar work as a staff employee, every effort will be made to align the compensation with the staff salary structure as well.

(k)        The scholar is eligible to participate in annual compensation review and potential increases based upon the allowed funding in the grant and university funds.  However, to be eligible for an increase, a review of performance will be conducted and feedback will be provided to the scholar in the spirit of continually advancing the training and learning of the scholar for future success.

(l)         To the extent possible, recruiting for research associates will follow the standard university practices for outreach to a diverse pool of candidates as long as the recruiting process does not delay or hinder the ability to meet the compliance requirements of the external agency. The associates will be considered in evaluating the departments compliance with diversity goals.

(m)       Renewal of appointments is not subject to recruiting and outreach as the nature of the appointment anticipates success and the likelihood that the incumbent will be renewed is a given up to the maximum years allowed.

(E)        Guidelines, appeals, and violations.

(1)        Persons in these appointments are expected to support the university commitment to a positive and ethical community and are expected to comply with all university policies and procedures. In the unlikely event that a person needs to report a violation of policy, the person may use the same avenues as allowed in the policy for employees after first reporting the situation to their primary contact.

(2)        Persons in these appointments are not faculty nor are subject to the conditions of any collective bargaining agreement.

(3)        The provost office and the vice president for research and graduate studies will share oversight for these appointments and the administration of this policy.

(4)        If instruction is allowed as part of the training or funding, the appointee is required to adhere to the instructor of record policy as applicable to the teaching appointment.

(5)        The appointee is responsible for monitoring, reporting, and complying with all tax requirements related to compensation, whether direct or indirect income.

 

 

Effective: July 18, 2008  

Prior Effective Dates:  

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