Postdoctoral Alumni Data

Postdoctoral scholars are essential to the research enterprise at Iowa State University. Beyond scientific contributions, postdocs play important roles in laboratories and departments may act in supervisory positions, serving as mentors, and occasionally teaching. Despite the significant role postdocs play in university life, there is much evidence suggesting that postdoc positions are not only difficult but also tenuous.

A survey exploring the satisfaction of former ISU postdocs was created and distributed to ISU postdocs whose appointments ended between 2006 and 2019. The objective of the survey and the subsequent report was to identify strengths and growth opportunities for postdocs at ISU. Of the 1,212 postdocs to whom the survey was sent, 245 responses were received. Of those, 61% were male, and 35% were U.S. citizens.

The survey included questions regarding the following topics:

  1. Demographic and work experience information
  2. Appointment information (start/end dates and department)
  3. Other postdoc work experience prior to their appointment at ISU
  4. Subsequent employment (current and any other positions held in between)
  5. Overall satisfaction levels for their ISU postdoc experience
  6. Evaluation of their preparedness for subsequent positions
  7. Satisfaction regarding a number of other areas of their ISU postdoc position.

This survey will be repeated every three years, and it will be revised and improved as appropriate. This report provides information that could prove extremely useful for creating an environment and working conditions that maximize the satisfaction of individual postdocs. Moreover, such conditions enhance the scholarship of departments and increase the ability of the university to accomplish its purpose and fulfill the objectives of the strategic plan.