Employing Postdocs at KSU
Kennesaw State University is building its research muscle through the addition of postdoctoral researchers — non-faculty staff who work to advance the institution’s scientific investigation in a wide range of disciplines. It’s a natural part of KSU’s growth as a research university for these researchers to play a significant role in the university’s overall research strategy.
Postdoctoral researchers carry out research projects, contribute to research papers and grant proposals, and are vital in facilitating research lab work for undergraduate and graduate students. Postdoctoral work is a common step for aspiring researchers to continue their training, while also gaining the necessary research experience for thriving in their future academic or industry careers.
KSU strives to provide a stimulating, positive, and constructive experience by emphasizing the mutual commitment and responsibility of the institution, the faculty, and the postdoctoral researcher.
Are you ready to hire a postdoctoral researcher, but not sure where to begin? The following information is to serve as a guide as you consider adding one to your team.
FAQs by Faculty Mentors
Are postdocs employed as KSU faculty or staff? Do they receive full benefits - health insurance, annual leave, retirement program, etc.?
According to the National Postdoctoral Association, a postdoctoral researcher “is an individual holding a doctoral degree who is engaged in a temporary period of mentored research and/or scholarly training for the purpose of acquiring the professional skills needed to pursue a career path of his or her choosing.”
At KSU, postdocs are hired as staff with the title of postdoctoral researcher. Since these are staff positions, postdocs receive full benefits.
According to the KSU Employee Handbook (page 47), to be considered “benefits eligible,” employees must be appointed to a position that has an anticipated duration of at least six months and is at 75% FTE (30 hours) or more. Employees must be appointed to a regular position scheduled for 50% FTE (20 hours) or more in order to participate in the TRS or ORP retirement plans.
How much are postdocs paid?
Human Resources has ascertained that postdoc positions merit the Pay Grade of E08, with a salary range from $46,170 (minimum) to $85,745 (maximum). In practice, the salary offered to a particular postdoc will depend on years of experience and internal equity. Special consideration may be given for specific disciplines as determined by Human Resources. Faculty hiring postdocs in the STEM disciplines can typically refer to what the NIH publishes annually on researcher stipends for rough guidance.
How can I hire a new postdoc given the internal and/or external funding to do so?
The process of hiring a new postdoc at KSU begins with the faculty mentor preparing paperwork to get the job posted by HR. (Please note that you have to do this even if you already have a postdoc in mind for the position.)
- The Research Job Description – Addendum Form: Please use the online example (KSU NetID required for access) to guide you. Note, the parts highlighted in yellow should be modified appropriately.
- Please note, the word “DEPARTMENT” on this form refers more precisely to the research project’s area for the postdoc. Please include on this form (first page) only those details that are not covered by the general requirements of this postdoc position that have been specified in the main Job Description Form (KSU Network ID required for access), which you should not need to modify.
If you have any questions about filling out this form or the hiring process, please contact your college’s HR business partner, your college’s business manager and/or the Associate VP for Research for assistance.
Once the Job Description and Addendum forms have been submitted to HR, what are the next steps?
KSU’s HR Talent Acquisition Management (TAM) team will move forward with the creation of the postdoc job posting in the OneUSG Careers portal. Since the job posting is based on the submitted Job Description Form and its Addendum, it is important that you include all the necessary details on the front end of the hiring process.
The TAM team may reach out to you with questions as they create the job posting. Please check your email regularly for a message from OneUSG to review and approve the job posting in the OneUSG Careers portal.
After you approve the job posting, you will then need to determine the disposition of the applicants, using the menu options available in the OneUSG Careers portal. These include which applicants to interview under the Interview tab, as well as advance your preferred candidate to the Offer tab. The TAM team will work with you during this process on specific details as needed, e.g., the additional paperwork required when hiring an international postdoc, extending a job offer to the preferred candidate on your behalf.
You or your designated departmental hiring manager will need to on-board the new employee by providing department specific training, support, and assistance, including obtaining the appropriate campus accesses.
For more general information about the staff hiring process, please visit: https://talentacquisition.kennesaw.edu/staff_hiring_process.php.
What happens after a postdoc accepts an offer of employment?
The hiring offer proposed by the recruiter, and accepted by the candidate, is contingent upon the candidate successfully completing pre-employment requirements including:
- Pre-hire disclosure
- Criminal Background Check
- Motor Vehicle Reporting, Consumer Credit Check and Pre-Employment Drug Test for certain positions
- Education Check
- Appropriate I-9 documentation must be provided to HR within 72 hours of the start of work
- Completion of the State Loyalty Oath
HR will initiate and oversee pre-employment activities and, if problems arise, you or your designated deparmtental hiring manager will be contacted.
On or Before the First Day of Employment
- Employee completes New Hire forms (tax forms, I-9, Direct Deposit, etc.) by attending an orientation session at HR. The employee should call HR at (470) 578-6030 to schedule an orientation.
- The new employee orientation is designed to provide new hires (faculty, staff, regular, temporary, and student) with the information and documentation necessary to work at the university. New hires may not begin work until they have attended an orientation session.
- Benefits eligible new hires will have the opportunity learn about the various benefit plans, some of which are time sensitive with enrollment deadlines.
My postdoc and/or my department would like to have the postdoc teach a course in his/her discipline. What do I need to know about managing this situation?
Here are the main things you, your department and your postdoc should know:
- KSU’s postdocs have teaching as a potential requirement in the ‘Postdoctoral Researcher’ job description, and thus are not eligible for additional pay. Rather, if the postdocs are assigned to teach a course, typically as part of their Individual Development Plans (developed in partnership with their faculty mentors), they are to be paid the same salary regardless of teaching assignment status.
- However, the portion of the postdoc’s salary for teaching will be paid by Academic Affairs, rather than the existing internal and/or external grant funding supporting this position. The portion of the salary for teaching – at the established part-time credit hour rate for their degree level and discipline – will be paid out of the part-time teaching pool of money as the funding source.
- Once you are made aware of this amount for teaching, you should notify your grants manager (in the Office of Research) and/or your college’s business manager to make the necessary adjustments to the existing internal and/or external grant funding arrangements.
- The Office of Faculty Affairs (within Academic Affairs) will need the Teacher of Record Appointment Form (under Instructor of Record Appointment on website) to be completed and submitted in a timely manner by your department to indicate that the postdoc needs faculty status and access to Banner as the course’s instructor of record.
What are the guidelines for employment separation?
According to the KSU Employee Handbook (page 35),
Supervisors shall consult with Human Resources prior to initiating termination actions against a classified employee or administrative officer.
Upon approval from Human Resources, supervisors may notify the employee of the terms and conditions of termination. If immediate supervisory action is required, supervisors may suspend the employee and notify Human Resources.
Resignations, dismissals, suspensions with/without pay, shall be reported without delay to Human Resources.
Managers should complete the HR exit checklist to ensure all steps have been followed.