Survey of Postdoctoral Scholars on Career and Life Issues

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A. Educational Background, Current Position and Demography

1.

Which of the following describes most closely the field of your current postdoctoral position (e.g. Mathematics)?

If "other," please specify.

2.

For each of the following educational/career events (if relevant), please select the month from the dropdown list and type in the year that the event occurred.

Educational events

Month of event?

Year of event?
(e.g. 1999)

Date you were awarded your most recent Bachelor's degree (or equivalent degree)

Date you first enrolled in your most recent Doctoral degree program (or equivalent degree)

Date you were awarded your most recent Doctoral degree (or equivalent degree, if relevant)

Date you began your first Postdoctoral position (at any University or institution)

Date you began your first Postdoctoral position at the University of California (if different than above)

Date you began your current Postdoctoral position (if different than above)

3.

How many total postdoctoral positions have you held (including your current position)?

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six or more

4.

Overall, how is your current postdoctoral position funded? (Please check all that apply.)

Research grant held by a Principal Investigator (PI--frequently a faculty member)

U.S. Federal Agency fellowship (e.g. NSF, NIH, DOE, etc.--sometimes referred to as a portable postdoc.)

Foundation fellowship (e.g. Woodrow Wilson, Howard Hughes, etc.)

University fellowship

Foreign government/agency fellowship

Private company fellowship

Private funds

Other, please specify

5.

More specifically, is your current fellowship/position paid partially or fully by grants or contracts from any of the following federal agencies or private foundations? (Please check all that apply.)

National Institute of Health (NIH)

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Department of Defense (DOD)

Department of Energy (DOE)

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Department of Education (ED)

Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (WWNFF)

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Other source (please specify)

6.

Which of the following definitions best fits your current employee status as a UC postdoctoral scholar?

Postdoctoral Scholar Employee: The agency funding your salary requires/permits you to be an employee of the University, OR you are directly paid off of University funds.

Postdoctoral Scholar Fellow: You have been awarded a fellowship or traineeship for postdoctoral study by an extramural agency and the fellowship or traineeship is paid through a University account.

Postdoctoral Scholar--Paid Direct: You have been awarded a fellowship or traineeship for postdoctoral study by an extramural agency and the agency pays the fellowship or traineeship directly to you (via mail or electronic transfer)

Other, please specify

7.

What is your annual pay rate (e.g. $36,500)?

8.

Overall, how satisfied are you with each of the following?

Very satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Not too satisfied

Not at all satisfied

Not applicable

a.

Interaction with postdoctoral sponsor/mentor

b.

Interaction with fellow researchers (e.g. other postdocs, graduate students, professional colleagues)

c.

Clarity of expectations (in regard to research, teaching, etc.)

d.

Opportunities for additional training/skill acquisition

e.

Opportunities to teach

f.

Opportunities to seek additional funding (e.g. as PI or co-PI)

g.

Opportunities to collaborate

h.

Opportunities to publish

i.

Intellectual stimulation of position/environment

(continued)

Very satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Not too satisfied

Not at all satisfied

Not applicable

j.

Quality of guidance/mentoring

k.

Compensation (salary, benefits, etc.)

l.

Personal progress toward career goals

m.

Departmental/unit (or lab) support for career-life balance

n.

Time for self (e.g. recreation, relaxation, health)

o.

Family situation

p.

Overall career and life situation

q.

Other, please specify

9.

In the past few months, what is the average number of hours per week you have spent on each of the following activities? There are 168 hours in a week -- rough estimates are fine.

 

Weekly Activities

Average hours per week?

a.

Research activities (e.g. conducting experiments or other research work, writing papers/articles for publication, supervising other researchers, etc.)

b.

Teaching activities (e.g. teaching, grading, developing course materials, mentoring students, etc.)

c.

Housework and home maintenance ( e.g. shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, paying bills)

d.

Caregiving (e.g. meeting the needs of young children, teenagers, spouse/partner, elders, friends, other family members)

10.

What is your gender?

Male

Female

11.

How would you describe your sexual orientation?

Heterosexual

Gay, Lesbian

Bisexual

Other, please specify

12.

How would you describe your race or ethnicity? Check all that apply.

White

Black or African American

Mexican American

Hispanic or Latino/a

Asian American or Pacific Islander

American Indian or Alaskan Native

Other, please specify

13.

What is your current citizenship status?

U.S. Citizen

Permanent Resident

Non-Resident (specify nationality)

Please specify your nationality:

14.

What month and year were you born?

Birth month?

Birth year?
(e.g. 1986))

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B. Life/Family Situation and Plans

15.

What is your current marital or relationship status?

Married

Partnered

Widowed

Divorced/Separated

Never Married/Partnered

If you marked "never married/partnered," please click here to skip to question 19.

16.

For each of the following life events, please select the month from the dropdown list and type in the year that the event occurred.

Life events

Month of event?

Year of event?
(e.g. 1981)

Date most recently married/partnered

Date most recently divorced/separated from a spouse/partner (if applicable)

If you marked "widowed" or "divorced/separated" in response to question 15, please click here to skip to question 19.

17a.

What is the highest degree or level of school that your spouse/partner has COMPLETED?

Less than High School graduate

High school diploma or equivalent (e.g. GED)

1 or more years of college, no degree

Associate degree (for example: AA, AS)

Bachelor's degree (for example: BA, AB, BS)

Master's degree (for example: MA, MS, MEng, MEd,MSW, MBA)

Professional degree (for example: MD, DDS, DVM,LLB, JD)

Doctorate degree (for example: PhD, EdD)

17b.

What is your spouse/partner's current employment/educational status? Check all that apply.

Employed full time

Employed part time

Employed as a postdoctoral fellow

Unemployed

Enrolled as a doctoral student (e.g. Ph.D.)

Enrolled as a professional student (e.g. MD, DDS, DVM,LLB, JD)

Enrolled as a master's degree student (e.g. MA, MS, MEng, MEd,MSW, MBA)

Enrolled as an undergraduate

Other, please specify

18.

Which of the following best describes your spouse/partner's current occupation (if currently employed) or longer-term career goal (if enrolled in a degree program or employed as a postdoctoral fellow)?

If you marked "other" please specify.

19.

As an adult, have you ever had substantial responsibility for raising one or more children under age 18?

Yes

No

If you answered "No" to Question 19, please click here to skip to Question 21.

20.

For each child for whom you have had substantial responsibility for parenting, please specify the month and year of the child's birth or adoption/foster placement with you. For stepchildren, please specify the month and year when your parenting responsibilities began. (If you have parented more than four children, please enter information for the four youngest children only.)

Birth/arrival events

Month of event?

Year of event?
(e.g. 1981)

Relationship of child to you1

Date of birth/arrival of youngest child

Date of birth/arrival of 2nd youngest child (if applicable)

Date of birth/arrival of 3rd youngest child (if applicable)

Date of birth/arrival of 4th youngest child (if applicable)

1If you marked "other" relationship of child to you, please describe the relationship(s) here:

21.

Whether or not you currently have children, do you expect to have or adopt (any or more) children in the future?

Yes

No

Uncertain or don't know

If you do not expect to have or adopt any (more) children in the future, please click here to skip to Question 26.

If you "uncertain" or "don't know" whether you will have or adopt any (more) children in the future, please click here to skip to Question 24.

22.

If you answered "Yes" to Question 21, how many (more) children do you expect to have or adopt (if you currently have children, please do not count them in this number)?

One

Two

Three

Four

Five or more

23.

Given your current career and life situation and desire to have or adopt one or more children in the future, when do you think is the optimal time to start?

Less than 1 year from now

5 to 6 years from now

14 to 16 years from now

1 to 2 years from now

6 to 8 years from now

16 to 20 years from now

2 to 3 years from now

8 to 10 years from now

20 or more years from now

3 to 4 years from now

10 to 12 years from now

4 to 5 years from now

12 to 14 years from now

24.

Would you consider having or adopting any (more) children as a postdoctoral scholar?

No

Yes, but I am not certain that I will

Yes, and I am certain that I will

If you are certain you will have or adopt any (more) children as a postdoctoral scholar, please click here to skip to Question 26.

25.

If you have doubts about, or would not consider having or adopting, any (more) children as a postdoctoral scholar, how important are each of the following factors in your decision?

Very important

Somewhat important

Not too important

Not at all important

Not applicable

a.

Uncertain current employment situation

b.

Uncertain future employment situation

c.

Current time demands of postdoctoral position

d.

Anticipated time demands of future career

e.

Current level of personal/household income

f.

Anticipated future level of personal/household income

g.

Concerns regarding current career progress

h.

Concerns regarding future career advancement/success

i.

Concerns that my postdoctoral position and caregiving responsibilities are incompatible

j.

Concerns that my postdoc sponsor/mentor would take my work less seriously or think I lack commitment

k.

Concerns that other faculty/scholars would take my work less seriously or think I lack commitment

l.

Concerns that peers/colleagues would take my work less seriously or think I lack commitment

m.

Concerns that future potential employers might take my work less seriously or think I lack commitment

Very important

Somewhat important

Not too important

Not at all important

Not applicable

n.

Time for leisure or social activities

o.

Concerns about affordability/availability of quality child care/schooling

p.

Concerns about affordability/availability of quality housing

q.

Concerns about affordability/availability of health insurance for dependents

r.

Concerns about availability of pregnancy leave and/or health insurance during pregnancy

s.

Current spouse/partner does not want a(nother) child at this time (if currently married/partnered)

t.

Not sure I want a(nother) child at this time

u.

Effects of a(nother) child on my marriage/relationship (if currently married/partnered)

v.

Uncertainty about future spouse/partner (if not currently married/partnered)

w.

Medical or health reasons (including age)

x.

Stress and worry of raising children as a postdoctoral scholar

y.

Limited interest in becoming a parent as a postdoctoral scholar

z.

Other, please specify

26.

If you have any additional comments about future familial plans, please write them here:

27.

Since you first became a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, have you ever had substantial responsibility for raising one or more children under age 18?

Yes

No

If you answered "No" to Question 27, please click here to skip to Section D.

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C. Parenting as a Postdoctoral Scholar

28.

The following statements describe situations or decisions often faced by postdoctoral scholars who are parents. Please indicate whether the statement accurately describes your past or present situation.

Yes

No

Partially accurate

Not sure

Not applicable

a.

I have slowed down or made sacrifices in my career progress in order to be a good parent.

b.

My daily schedule is flexible, which is helpful in raising children.

c.

I missed some of my child's important events, because I did not want to appear uncommitted to my work.

d.

My educational/career timing has meshed well with my family timing.

e.

I began working sooner than I would have liked after having or adopting a child because I wanted to be taken seriously as an academic.

f.

I tried to time new children to fit in with my career progression.

g.

My department/unit (or lab) has been supportive of my need to balance work and family life.

h.

My postdoc sponsor/mentor has been supportive of my need to balance work and family life.

i.

My fellow researchers have been supportive of my need to balance work and family life.

j.

I have not brought my child(ren) to my department/unit (or lab) because I worry that colleagues, faculty or other researchers would be bothered.

29.

Postdoctoral scholars sometimes find that their responsibilities as parents conflict with their professional obligations. How much tension or stress, if any, have you experienced in your parenting as a result of demands placed on you by any of the following types of work/training activities?

A great deal

Some

A little

None

Not applicable

a.

Conducting time-sensitive laboratory experiments

b.

Doing fieldwork or field research away from home

c.

Attending conferences or giving conference papers

d.

Research and writing activities (e.g. articles, manuscripts, etc.)

e.

Meeting teaching obligations

f.

Meeting deadlines for grants/fellowships (submissions, summary reports, etc.)

g.

Attending seminars, colloquia, departmental/unit (or lab) meetings

h.

Preparing for and meeting with postdoc sponsor/mentor (e.g. to review progress)

i.

Other, please specify

30.

Since you first became a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, have you or your spouse/partner given birth to or adopted a child for whom you were responsible for parenting (in part or full)?

Yes

No

If you answered "No" to Question 30, please click here to skip to Question 34.

31.

How was your postdoctoral position funded at the birth/adoption event? (If there has been more than one birth/adoption event since you first became a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, please answer regarding the most recent birth/adoption event.)

Research grant held by a Principal Investigator (PI--frequently a faculty member)

U.S. Federal Agency fellowship (e.g. NSF, NIH, DOE, etc.--sometimes referred to as a portable postdoc.)

Foundation fellowship (e.g. Woodrow Wilson, Howard Hughes, etc.)

University fellowship

Foreign government/agency fellowship

Private company fellowship

Private funds

Other, please specify

32.

At the time of the birth/adoption event, were you paid partially or fully by grants or contracts from any of the following federal agencies or private foundations? (Please check all that apply.)

National Institute of Health (NIH)

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Department of Defense (DOD)

Department of Energy (DOE)

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Department of Education (ED)

Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (WWNFF)

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Other source (please specify)

33.

Which (if any) of the following family accommodations did you receive before or after the most recent birth/adoption event, and what was the duration of accommodation?

Family Accommodation

Received this type of accommodation?

Duration (e.g. 7 days, 1 month, 6 weeks, 1 semester, 2 quarters, 1 year)

Yes

No

Not relevant (e.g. not interested)

Unpaid leave

Paid leave

Granting of temporary part-time status (upon request)

Extension of deadline to complete research activities (e.g. research for faculty PIs)

Extension of postdoctoral position end-date

Extension of five-year total limit on postdoctoral service

34.

Knowing what you know today, what advice would you give to first-time postdoctoral scholar parents about balancing work and family responsibilities?

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D. Career Plans

35.

When you first became a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, what was your primary career goal (after completion of the postdoctoral appointment)?

Professor (emphasis on research)

Professor (emphasis on teaching)

Researcher in industry

Researcher at government agency or national lab (e.g. NIH, LBNL)

Researcher (not faculty) in academia

Policy-maker/administrator/manager in industry

Policy-maker/administrator/manager in government agency

Policy/administrator/manager in academia

Policy/administrator/manager in non-profit sector

Consultant

Journalism/writing

Start your own company

Other, please specify

36.

What is your primary career goal now?

Professor (emphasis on research)

Professor (emphasis on teaching)

Researcher in industry

Researcher at government agency or national lab (e.g. NIH, LBNL)

Researcher (not faculty) in academia

Policy-maker/administrator/manager in industry

Policy-maker/administrator/manager in government agency

Policy/administrator/manager in academia

Policy/administrator/manager in non-profit sector

Consultant

Journalism/writing

Start your own company

Other, please specify

37.

Since you first became a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, have you changed or considered changing your career goal?

Yes

No

If you answered "No" to Question 37, please click here to skip to Question 40.

38.

If you have changed or considered changing your career goal from when you first became a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California to the present time, how important are each of the following factors in affecting your choices?

Very important

Somewhat important

Not too important

Not at all important

Not applicable

a.

Monetary compensation (e.g. salary, benefits, etc.)

b.

Job security

c.

Career advancement possibilities

d.

Negative experience as a postdoctoral scholar (e.g. regarding academia, industry, national lab, etc.)

e.

Positive experience as a postdoctoral scholar (e.g. regarding academia, industry, national lab, etc.)

f.

Research/professional activities too time consuming

g.

Lack of encouragement/lack of mentor (e.g. postdoctoral sponsor/mentor or others did not encourage your initial career goals)

h.

Encouragement to pursue a new career goal (e.g. by postdoctoral sponsor/mentor or someone else)

i.

Other career interests (e.g. career interests outside of current field of study)

j.

Other life interests (e.g. interests outside of education/career)

(continued)

Very important

Somewhat important

Not too important

Not at all important

Not applicable

k.

Issues related to spouse/partner or desire to marry/become partnered (e.g. spousal employment or similar familial concerns)

l.

Issues related to children (e.g. current caregiving responsibilities or desire to have children)

m.

Other familial-related concerns (e.g. current or anticipated eldercare responsibilities or similar familial concerns)

n.

Geographic location (e.g. to be near family, location preference)

o.

Bad job market (e.g. in academia, industry, government)

p.

Good job market (e.g. in academia, industry, government)

q.

Changing intellectual interests

r.

Feelings of isolation or alienation as a postdoctoral scholar

s.

Feelings of inclusion and/or importance of work as a postdoctoral scholar

t.

Other, please specify

39.

If you have changed your career goal since you first became a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, please explain in greater detail why you changed your career goal:

Very concerned

Somewhat concerned

Not too concerned

Not at all concerned

Not applicable

40.

As you think about your future career plans, how concerned are you about the family friendliness of possible career paths?

41.

As you think about possible future career paths and family issues, how family friendly do you imagine each of the following job types to be?

Very family friendly

Somewhat family friendly

Not too family friendly

Not at all family friendly

a.

Tenure-track faculty careers at research-intensive universities (e.g. major research universities)

b.

Tenure-track faculty careers at teaching-intensive colleges or universities (e.g. small colleges or teaching focused universities)

c.

Non-tenure track faculty careers

d.

Research careers at research-intensive universities

e.

Research careers outside academia

f.

Policy or managerial careers inside academia

g.

Policy or managerial careers outside academia

h.

Other, please specify

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E. Final Questions

42.

Based on your experience, which of the following characteristics are most strongly associated with successful academic careers?
Please check up to 5 characteristics in the below list:

Adventurous

Emotionally stable

Persistent

Analytical ability

Helpful

Self-confident

Assertive

Hides emotion

Self-controlled

Authoritative

Humanitarian values

Self-reliant

Aware of feelings of others

Independent

Self-promoter

Competent

Industrious

Sociable

Consistent

Intuitive

Strong need for achievement

Creative

Leadership ability

Sympathetic

Curious

Logical

Understanding

Dedicated

Multi-tasking

Vigorous

Dominant

Objective

Well informed

43.

Do you have any other comments in regard to this issue (i.e. characteristics that are associated with successful academic careers)?

44.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about your career and life situation?

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