Postdoctoral Council Charter


  1. The members of the Postdoctoral Council will strive to promote interaction among postdoctoral appointees on an academic, social, political and cultural basis, while also assisting departments and the Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs in this endeavor.

  2. The members of the Postdoctoral Council will support postdocs in all aspects of their professional research training and career development.

  3. The members of the Postdoctoral Council will act as a liaison to the postdoctoral population at large and represent postdocs' interests to the Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs, the School of Medicine and the University.

  4. Co-chairs of the Postdoctoral Council will serve as representatives on the Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs Advisory Committee.

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II. Organization

The structure of the Postdoctoral Council is defined by the by-laws that follow. However, due to the transitory nature of Postdoctoral Fellowships, the council recognizes that in some instances the laws may not be applicable/enforceable. In these cases the council will decide upon a course of action by a majority vote.

  1. Co-chairs
    1. Two Co-chairs will be chosen amongst volunteers from the existing council membership. At least two weeks before the next council meeting, the council must be informed about any resignation and at this time the council will be sent an email notification calling for nominations. One week before the council meeting, a list of nominees for the position along with a brief description (no more than 250 words) of their platform will be sent to all council members. If more than one individual volunteers for each position, the two Co-chairs will be selected by a majority vote of the active members in attendance at that council meeting.

    2. Each Co-chair will serve in that position for a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 2 years.

    3. The election of the two Co-Chairs must be staggered, with no more than one Co-Chair position open for nominations at any given time.

    4. At least one co-chair person must be available to attend each Council meeting.

    5. Co-chairs will facilitate the meetings in conjunction with the Director of the Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs.

    6. If the council is informed about co-chair resignations with less than 2 weeks notice before the next council meeting, then an interim chair can be elected until the above election procedure can be followed.

  2. Secretary/Treasurer
    1. The secretary/treasurer will be elected in the same manner as described for the Co-chairs.

    2. The secretary/treasurer will serve in that position for a minimum of 12 months or through one budget cycle.

    3. The secretary/treasurer will not be a member of any sub-committee of the council.

    4. If the secretary/treasurer is unable to attend a meeting he/she must arrange for someone on the council to take minutes and complete any other duties.

  3. Regular Members
    1. The Postdoctoral Council will strive to maintain diversity and equal representation amongst scientific discipline, experience, gender and foreign national status.

    2. Regular members are appointed by volunteering to participate on the Council.

    3. If the Council has more volunteers than open slots, new members will be selected by a majority vote of the active members in attendance with consideration given to the current needs of the Council.

    4. Upon accepting membership in the Council, individuals agree to try and maintain active membership for a minimum of one year.

    5. Upon joining council all new members will be made aware of the details of the Charter of the council


  4. Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs
    1. Representatives from Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs will endeavor to attend all meetings of the Postdoctoral Council.

    2. The Office will provide administrative support to the Postdoctoral Council as appropriate.

    3. The Office recognizes all School of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine and School of Dental Medicine Postdocs as members of the Postdoctoral Association (see IIIa) and provides support and services to the postdoctoral population at large. (Including but not limited to: Orientation Programs, career programming, Survival Skills, ad hoc advising).

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III. Membership

  1. All individuals with the title of Postdoctoral Fellow, Postdoctoral Researcher or NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow title in the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine or School of Dental Medicine payroll system are recognized as members of the Postdoctoral Association and as such, are eligible for membership on the Postdoctoral Council.

  2. The Council will be comprised of a maximum of 20 members.

  3. An open call for additional members can be held at any time the total number of members falls below 20.

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IV. Appointment

  1. Appointments are for a minimum of 12 months. Members must notify the Co-chairs at least two weeks prior to the expiration of their term to allow sufficient time for their replacement. This notification should occur at the time of a scheduled Council meeting. Members who are unable to complete their term for any reason should immediately notify the Co-chairs in writing.

  2. Continued Appointment: To remain in good standing, members must attend more than half of the scheduled monthly meetings in a given semester. Excused absences should be coordinated with the Co-chairs and preferably in advance.
    1. Excused absences will not be considered a missed meeting.

    2. If a member fails to attend half (or three meetings in a row) of the scheduled meetings in a semester, he or she will be notified in writing by the Co-chairs that they are no longer an active member of the Council.

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V. Responsibilities

  1. Postdoctoral Council Co-chairs are responsible for the following items:
    1. Notification of the Council membership and Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs of vacancies on the Council.

    2. Overseeing the timely appointment and/or election of new members.

    3. Co-facilitation of scheduled monthly meetings of the Postdoctoral Council in accordance with the guidelines herein.

    4. Maintaining a record of Council meeting attendance, calling the roll if necessary, and determining if quorum is present.

    5. Ensure that information from Postdoctoral Council meetings is available to all postdocs. This includes, but is not limited to ensuring that minutes of monthly meetings are posted to the Biomedical Postdoctoral Council website.

  2. The Secretary/Treasurer is responsible for the following items:
    1. The secretary/treasurer will be responsible for keeping the minutes of each council meeting.

    2. Will be in charge of the council email address and in this capacity will be responsible for replying to emails or directing them to the appropriate persons/committees.

    3. Will solicit planned expenses from each subcommittee chair on the council by the end of the year and use this information to develop an annual budget for the Postdoctoral Council. The final budget will be reviewed by the Co-Chairs and sent out to the council by the second week of January. The council will approve the budget by majority vote in the February council meeting.

    4. Will be responsible for recording and handling all funds that the Council receives.

    5. Will be actively involved in developing strategies to increase funding opportunities for the council.

    6. Will present a biannual review of the funding/budget status to the Council.

  3. Postdoctoral Council Members are responsible for the following items:

    1. Must attend more than one half of the scheduled meetings in a semester.

    2. Ensure that pertinent information is disseminated to the postdoctoral population at large.

    3. Communicate concerns to the Council from those postdocs whom they represent.

    4. Inform postdocs of special events and help organize as needed.

    5. Hold informal meetings with postdocs as necessary.

  4. Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs is responsible for the following items:

    Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs should offer the following logistical support (staff permitting):
    1. Recording and distribution of monthly meeting minutes.

    2. Provide assistance with election of new members.

    3. Provide support for special events.

    4. Maintain a current address and telephone list of all active School of Medicine postdocs.

    5. Ensure that Postdoctoral Council members are notified of the time and location of monthly meetings and that the minutes of previous meetings are distributed to Council members.

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  1. Time and Place

    The regular meetings of the Postdoctoral Council shall be held on the first Monday of every month at 5:00pm, in a location to be announced, unless otherwise determined by the Postdoctoral Council, the Co-chairs, or Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs. Meetings will be scheduled for one and one-half hours. Unfinished business will be relegated to the next meeting.

  2. Quorum

    One-half of the active membership of the Council shall constitute a quorum. A quorum shall be necessary to vote on proposed motions and to amend the Council's Charter.

  3. Order of Business
    1. An agenda will be distributed in advance of all scheduled meetings.

    2. The Co-chairs shall call the meeting to order.

    3. Approval of minutes. A copy of the previous month's minutes will be sent by email to all Postdoctoral Council members prior to the monthly meeting. At the meeting, the Chair shall ask if there are additions or corrections to the minutes. If there are no changes or changes are made by general consent, the minutes will be declared, "approved" or "approved as amended."

    4. Reports of special representatives and standing committees. The Chair shall call only on those special representatives or standing committees who have reports to make.

    5. General orders or unfinished business. Unfinished business or general orders shall be considered in the order of the agenda. Items to be considered under this heading include:
      1. Any question that was pending when the previous meeting adjourned.

      2. Any question which was to be considered at the previous meeting but was postponed for debate.

      3. New business. The Chair shall ask if there is any new business. Members can introduce new business or remove from the table any matter that is on the table.

      4. Announcements. The Chair may make, or call upon others to make any necessary announcements; or, members can briefly obtain the floor for such a purpose.

    6. Program. If there is to be a presentation or other program, it is usually presented before the meeting is adjourned.

    7. Voting Motions shall carry if they receive a majority vote. All members present may vote.

    8. Determination of topics for next meeting's agenda. Any Council member up to the day prior to the next scheduled meeting can recommend additional agenda items. Agenda items can be sent to the Council Co-chairs with a copy to Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs.

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VII. Subcommittees

  1. Subcommittees shall be created by the Council Membership, as needed, at the regular monthly meeting to investigate and recommend action on matters that are of interest or concern the Postdoctoral Council.

  2. The subcommittees will be headed by volunteers from the Postdoctoral Council membership.

  3. Subcommittee members may be specifically recruited from the general postdoc population. It is recommended but not required that the subcommittee members become members of the postdoc council.

  4. The duties of a subcommittee and its power to act on certain decisions shall be outlined at its formation and shall be approved by the assembly.

  5. There will be two types of subcommittees which may be formed:
    1. Standing subcommittees shall be created to consider matters which will have a continuing existence. (i.e. web page maintenance, Foreign Nationals, Editing manuscripts etc.)

      1. These subcommittees shall be reviewed annually to determine if their continued function is necessary.

      2. The membership of the standing subcommittee shall also be reviewed annually.

    2. Ad hoc subcommittees shall be created as the need arises to perform a specific task. (i.e. surveys, events, etc.)

      1. At its formation, the ad hoc subcommittee shall be given a specific period of time to complete its task.
      2. The ad hoc subcommittee will go out of existence when its task is complete, and it has given a final report to the assembly.
      3. If the ad hoc subcommittee cannot complete the task within the appointed time, the Council membership may consider extending the appointment time or dissolving the subcommittee.
      4. All subcommittees shall report to the group during the monthly meeting of the Postdoctoral Council. Status reports from subcommittees may also be requested on an ad hoc basis.

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VIII. Review

  1. The Postdoctoral Council shall review the Charter bylaws at least annually to ensure that they remain current.

  2. Co-chairs will announce the review period to Council members to allow input from all members.

  3. Proposed changes to the bylaws can be made at any time following discussion at a regularly scheduled committee meeting pending the vote of the Council membership.

  4. Proposed changes should be submitted in writing to the Co-chairs and presented for discussion at the next scheduled Council meeting.

  5. All proposed changes will be discussed and approved by a majority vote of the Postdoctoral Council members in attendance.

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