Appointment Letters and Requirements
Initial Appointment Letters
Postdocs should receive an offer letter from you – their faculty mentor/advisor as soon as the offer has been discussed. The letter should clearly state the terms of your proposed future working relationship. Framing this letter correctly allows you and the postdoc to ensure that the terms of your future working relationship are clear and should, minimally include the following information:
- Offer of position with exact title and an indication of whether the appointment will be full-time or part-time
- Effective dates of appointment. If the appointment is anticipated to be for more than one year, the letter should state that the appointment is renewable for XX number of years, contingent on satisfactory performance. The letter should also indicate that the end date of the appointment may be affected by the individual’s visa expiration date (if any) and/or the terms of a sponsored project.
- Amount of stipend/salary and source of funding. Please note that the University has set minimum salary guidelines for Postdoc Research Scientists/Scholars for both the Morningside and Medical Center campuses.
- Postdoc’s role in the anticipated research project.
- Teaching responsibilities, if any.
- Any additional information pertinent to the appointment
You should sign this letter. It also needs to signed by the chair of the department/director of the institute and center, and dean/vice president, as required.
The letter should be included in a packet that contains:
- OPA Handbook which includes:
- Information on pertinent institutional policies
- Health insurance information/requirements and a description of other benefits provided;
- Columbia’s Intellectual Property Policy and Agreement
- Request for Proof of Doctoral Degree (Diploma or Registrar Statement, with English translation if necessary.)
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires employers to institute procedures for verifying that a job applicant is authorized to be employed in the United States. A postdoc is required to produce the necessary documentation that he or she is either a US citizen or authorized to be employed in the United States as a condition of the appointment via completion of the government-issued Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9) no later than the first day of work.
Postdoctoral appointments are generally made on a yearly basis. However, the end date of your postdoc’s appointment may be affected by visa issues and/or the terms of a sponsored project.
Please refer to Faculty Handbook for further information.
These two checklists have been prepared to help facilitate the appointment of postdocs:
- New Postdoc Arrival Checklist for Postdocs (under update)
- New Postdoc Arrival Checklist for Department Administrators (under update)