BLPA Charter

Here’s the Charter of the Berkeley Lab Postdoc Association (current as of May 2016).

The purpose of the Berkley Lab Postdoc Association (BLPA) is to provide a central hub for all postdocs working at Berkeley Lab, either onsite or in offsite locations.  The primary goal is to provide support for enriching the postdocs’ scientific careers through various social and professional events and activities, such as: professional development and networking opportunities, social events, public outreach for promoting STEM, creating a growing network of association alumni, and strengthening ties with UC Berkeley and local and national postdoc associations.  In addition, BLPA’s role is to assist postdocs with any issues that might affect them, provide peer support, and partner with Lab senior management and Human Resources to help address their concerns.

The executive sponsor of this Employee Resource Group (ERG) is Horst Simon, Deputy Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The group is informally extended to visiting scholars, graduate students, and early-careers scientists who face similar issues and share common interests.

Here are the goals of the association:

I. Establish an ERG structure and provide institutional support for onboarding and professional development.

  1. Expand membership and have volunteers assume leadership positions.
  2. Create a communication plan to be able to reach > 50% of postdocs.
  3. Work with Executive Sponsor and Human Resources (HR) to host relevant workshops (e.g., entrepreneurship, English language, pedagogy/academia, spouse/partner, etc.)
  4. Provide a way for fellow postdocs to share their areas of expertise with one another.
  5. Work with HR to develop standard content for hosting monthly orientation or onboarding for postdocs.
  6. Work with Public Affairs to develop branding material (e.g., logo and banner). (Employee Activities Association activity)

II. Strengthen partnerships and collaboration between Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley’s Visiting Scholar and Postdoc Association (VSPA) and Berkeley Postdoc Association (BPA), and the National Postdoc Association (NPA).

  1. Explore possible membership: VSPA and BPA. (Postdocs currently have access to many VSPA and BPA events.)
  2. Work towards becoming a member of NPA, and/or hosting events or activities for Postdoc Appreciation Week.
  3. (Participate in Bay Area Postdoc Symposium, and research on potentially hosting the symposium at Berkeley Lab.)*

III. Support postdocs and serve as an advocate for challenges related to cost-of-living expenses, housing, and other issues.

  1. Work with Executive Sponsor and HR to determine options for temporary financial support.
  2. Work with Executive Sponsor and HR to determine options for temporary housing, including the Guest House, leveraging employees, and external resources.
  3. Work with Executive Sponsor and HR to discuss standardizing postdoc payments (e.g., some postdocs receive lump sum payments, and others don’t.)
  4. Work with Executive Sponsor and HR to discuss standardizing visa process.
  5. Work with appropriate contacts for streamlining access to user facilities (e.g., ALS and NERSC).
  6. Work with Executive Sponsor and HR to report additional issues affecting the postdoc community at Berkeley Lab.
  7. Work with HR and Chief Operating Officer to discuss off-hours transportation.
  8. Work with IT to establish email forwarding for exiting postdocs, and to establish relevant postdoc email listserver(s).

IV. Reach out to fellow postdocs at Berkeley Lab to enhance sense of community and social engagement.

  1. Host monthly social activities (on the hill quarterly, and offsite, including remote locations like JBEI, Potter St, and JGI, and public venues), including kick-off meet-and-greet event. (Employee Activities Association activity)

V. (Public outreach: Engage with students and external community members in order to promote Berkeley Lab and empower postdocs to become more involved.)*

  1. (Organize trips to attend events of interest, like Science Cafe, in Berkeley and the Bay Area.)* (Employee Activities Association activity)
  2. (Collaborate with Workforce Development and Education Office to promote STEM by visiting local schools, and participating in programs where students visit the Lab.)*
  3. (Collaborate with Workforce Development and Education Office to promote DOE internship programs for SULI and CCI by becoming a student mentor or encouraging Divisions to participate.)*

The proposed ERG will provide networking opportunities for employees, empower its constituents to engage in the broader Berkeley community, and provide visibility and inclusion for our community of scientists.