by Claudia Scheckel and Ismail Ismailoglu
You are probably familiar with the academic responsibilities of the PDA, like organizing the postdoc retreat and the Tri-I seminar series. Similarly, our social events, like the holiday, summer or Super Bowl parties, are well-established and attended by many postdocs. But the PDA has one additional, less visible, role: to form a bridge between the postdocs and the administrative departments at Rockefeller. To fulfill this role, we regularly survey the community, determine common problems, and discuss solutions with department directors. In January, we performed a life satisfaction survey and met with President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, VP Virginia Huffman, Associate VP of Facilities Alexander Kogan, Dean Sidney Strickland, Associate Dean Emily Harms, and Director of Immigration and Academic Appointments Maria Lazzaro to discuss the results.
The housing department plays a big role in the lives of Rockefeller postdocs and a number of survey respondents reported problems in this area. We are happy to report that the department has decided to activate an online feedback system. In the near future you will start receiving a feedback form after each online work order, which will give you a direct way of reporting the speed and accuracy of your maintenance request. This will help the department to detect problems quickly.
Due to the popularity of studio apartments, the waiting list for these units remains very long. In our survey we asked if people on the waitlist would be interested in having the option of sharing a two or three bedroom apartment on a permanent basis, rather than staying in temporary housing. We received a number of positive responses. At the moment we are working with the housing department to provide this option. We hope that this new unit sharing program will reduce wait times for studios.
The waitlist is a significant problem at the Child and Family Center (CFC) too. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for this, because the facility is running at capacity. However, we have been assured that efforts in expanding the CFC are ongoing. We are following up on this issue and we will provide more details when we have them.
Finally, a significant number of survey respondents told us that they would like to see improved communication between members of different labs. We currently have a number of events that are aimed at remedying this problem, such as our ongoing Tri-I seminar series, our planned summer seminar series, and the upcoming postdoc retreat. Attending these events and chatting with your fellow postdocs will give you the opportunity to find out what is happening in other labs. Human resources is also planning to provide opportunities for new postdocs to meet each other during their orientation.
Thank you for your participation to the survey and keep in mind that you can always reach us with your problems, concerns and suggestions.