Woman posting by scientific equipment, circa 1920.Post-doctoral fellows are a critical component of our research enterprise. Across OSU, our world-class faculty attracts the brightest and best.  Our research definitely benefits from the contribution of the fresh ideas, energy, knowledge, and often, discovery by post-docs. They are part of the continuum from graduate studies through competitive research, and we value them in this community as models, mentors and colleagues.

In return, OSU honors our responsibilities towards our post-docs. Our faculty supervisors take seriously the commitment to mentor – as we help them follow their interests , build their skills,  and access funds, we may help them expand their methodological techniques and expand their networks.

And because the issues of gender parity across academia and our society are paramount, we need this special focus on women as post-docs, in humanities as well as sciences.

I appreciate that the WAGE Office is facilitating important discussions about and for women as post-docs. We at OSU need to evaluate – continually and honestly – where we are and to learn how we can do better at supporting the advancement of women in academics and in the career pipeline. We are all strengthened by helping our students and future students gain realistic expectations of the tenure process, access networking opportunities, and build communication and other skills.

I heartily encourage attendance at the May 27th event, and I look forward to ongoing discussion and support.

Rick Spinrad
Vice President for Research

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At the beginning of this academic year,  I was delighted to meet with a group of graduate research assistants to share insights into  “what research administration can do for you.”  After my dog-and-pony show about the services of the Research Office, the students raised sharp and important questions.

“What will the research opportunities be like out there as I finish my degree and move into the job market?”,  they asked. And “You’ve talked about the university’s obligation to bring the benefits of research out to the public – but what if I don’t see any commercial applications for my project?”

There was a concern:  “Equipment:  I am doing something that no one in my department has been involved in, and it’s been so hard to find the diagnostic tools equipment  I need.”

From our discussion, I learned of some areas that need administrative attention, and of issues that we must communicate about more effectively. I hope the GRAs learned some things  too.

It was of note to me that no one in the group raised questions about “compliance.”  I knew that the Grad School had recently conducted a survey, and  “compliance” did not rank among the issues on the minds of the GRA respondents . It isn’t surprising – when I was working on my advanced degrees at OSU, I also did not think about,  for example, the Institutional Review Board, or Animal Use policies.

But now as VP for Research, I strongly recommend that all students become aware of the regulations regarding human subjects, conflict of interest,  animal care and use  . . .  Even if they’re “just” conducting an innocuous survey, or doing “a little” work for their major professor’s start-up company, or “simply” using a pet in a pre-study, consideration of the compliance issues can help ensure the research is conducted smoothly.

I and others in the  Research Office are happy to meet with graduate students, individually or in groups. And we will conduct various informational sessions throughout the year. Let us know if you want to talk, or if there’s a topic you’d like to have addressed.

Thanks

- Rick Spinrad,  who went on to become OSU VP for Research
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