To the Postdoctoral Scholar Community,
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create many challenges, we want to acknowledge the obstacles you face while continuing your work and research. We recognize that you are being called upon to continue your research and maintain a high level of productivity, often under sub-optimal conditions.
The sense of uncertainty caused by this pandemic can lead to feelings of anxiety and reduced motivation. We hear your concerns when you describe struggling with the expectations for research, and the prospect of a contracting job market, all while managing the stress of a pandemic. As postdoctoral scholars, you may feel as though you inhabit a space “in between” faculty and students and may not be aware of the resources available for support. If you are experiencing challenges navigating work expectations, your responsibilities in this pandemic, or the uncertainty of job prospects, we encourage you to reach out to the following resources:
- The UCLA Staff and Faculty Counseling Center offers free, voluntary, confidential counseling for employees and their family members, work-life programs, support groups, and community referrals.
- Academic Case Management support for postdoctoral scholars offers information and referrals to help get assistance or find a resolution for scholars’ concerns. The Case Managers consult on resources and options related to concerns about scholarly progress, health and wellness, navigating campus resources, and interpersonal conflict. To contact an academic case manager, send a message to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Employee Disability Management Services offers support to employees experiencing a functional limitation due to a disability who may need a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential functions of their job.
- Additional Health and Wellness resources available include the following:
- UCLA Recreation FitZones for Staff and Faculty offers live virtual fitness classes.
- Bruin Mindfit for Staff and Faculty offer a virtual mindful movement and meditation course that teaches effective stress-management tools
- The Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) offers a variety of free programming, virtual weekly drop-in meditations, courses, workshops, online retreats, as well as the UCLA Mindful App.
- UCLA RISE Center offers a variety of virtual mindfulness, yoga, and other stress management resources including a holistic healing virtual library
- For even more information and resources for mental health and social wellbeing resources, visit the Healthy Campus Initiative Center.
We encourage you to check in regularly with your faculty supervisor for clear communication regarding work expectations and responsibilities. These routine check-ins with your supervisor may involve discussions of flexibility with deadlines and research productivity as needed. This may mean adjusting your expectations of yourself and of others. We encourage you to practice kindness toward yourself and your collaborators.
We also encourage you to connect with each other! We recognize that remote work can be isolating, and shift-based in-person research with social distancing presents its own challenges to the collegiality that often makes even the greatest challenges bearable. The Postdoctoral Association (PDA) at UCLA has resources to help you network with other postdocs, to share resources or engage with your colleagues in a fun and relaxing way. Please consider joining the postdoc community on one of the platforms below.
- PDA Social Media: LinkedIn| Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Slack
- Contact the Postdoctoral Association at UCLA: http://www.pda.ucla.edu/ | email@example.com
Now more than ever, it is important to take care of your mental health by engaging in activities such as talking with others about something unrelated to your research, pursuing hobbies and activities that you enjoy, and surrounding yourself with people who encourage you to take care of yourself. Always remember that you as a person are defined by much more than a constant cycle of research goals and expectations.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of these resources; we stand ready to help and support you.
Susan Ettner, Interim Dean, UCLA Graduate Division
Renate Lux, Associate Dean, UCLA Graduate Division