APPIC Postdoc Uniform Notification Date (UNDr)
I am writing to inform you about a recent APPIC Board decision. As you are aware, APPIC undertook an effort to organize postdoctoral offers this past year through a uniform notification date with reciprocal offer (UNDr). The UNDr was undertaken as a pilot project in an effort to assist APPIC postdoctoral member programs in creating a more systematic admissions process and to reduce the stress experienced by applicants who were sometimes waiting long periods of time for a decision or, conversely, feeling pressured to accept an offer made to them much earlier in the year. The APPIC Board wants to thank all postdoctoral members in this pilot effort and extends particular gratitude to the 27 non-APPIC postdoctoral programs who voluntarily participated.
As a pilot effort, the APPIC Board undertook a careful approach to this project. There were a series of surveys sent to various constituencies, including postdoctoral and predoctoral training directors and applicants, in an effort to collect information to help them think about the next course of action after this initial pilot. The surveys most clearly affirmed the desire that APPIC “do something” about the postdoctoral admissions process. However, given the review of the surveys and various correspondence received from participants, it was less clear whether the UNDr had collectively helped or inadvertently disadvantaged postdoctoral member programs in this process particularly with the recognition that so many postdoctoral programs are not APPIC members.
The APPIC Board completed a very thoughtful and extensive review of the pilot process and, after careful deliberation, has decided not to continue the UNDr process at this time. It is the opinion of the Board that the UNDr or variant cannot truly meet the needs of the diverse postdoctoral member program constituency until more postdoctoral programs are members. While the UNDr may have worked for some settings in the pilot, we heard from programs where , adhering to the process impacted the ability to compete against non-member programs.
In this context, the APPIC Board has established a Postdoctoral Development Workgroup who are asked to determine what benefits can be offered to non-member programs to become members and to think more broadly about how to facilitate a more organized admissions process. Drs. Marla Eby and Wayne Siegel of the APPIC Board will co-chair this workgroup.
The APPIC Board recognizes that this decision will likely result in mixed reactions among the membership. However, we want you to know that the review to reach this decision was very deliberative in nature and in keeping with the goal to proceed with what was believed to be in the best interests of the entire APPIC postdoctoral community.
The Board continues to invite recommendations regarding the benefits and issues surrounding postdoctoral membership and encourages you to send any additional comments to the Postdoctoral Development Workgroup for their consideration, including thoughts about the organization of postdoctoral offers in the future. . You can reach Marla and Wayne at:
On behalf of the APPIC Board, we are writing with exciting news about the Uniform Notification Date (UND) for 2012-13 postdoctoral fellowships.
First, and most importantly, we wanted to inform you that after a recent vote by its membership, APPIC has recently agreed to assume sponsorship of a nationally coordinated system for its own 130 postdoctoral members. APPIC will model their procedure almost identically on the UND that Dr. Russell Lemle was previously overseeing for the last few years, but with an option for reciprocal offer. Second, APPIC seeks to collaborate with non-APPIC postdoctoral program members to participate in the UND process as well. Third, there is a very important modification to this year's process -- the ³reciprocal offer² option, which is anticipated to making this a more orderly and collegial experience.
Here are the set of procedures that APPIC will be using:
Uniform Notification Date with Option for Reciprocal Offer (UNDr)
March 14, 2012
All APPIC non-neuropsychology postdoctoral programs (those that do not offer the specialty of clinical neuropsychology) will make offers to applicants only on the APPIC selected date for offers. Programs may make an exception if an applicant is made another earlier bone fide offer, which must follow the guidelines below. On March 14, 2012, at Noon EST, the program will call their top candidate. Once an offer is made to an applicant, the applicant may proceed with one of the following actions: accept the offer, decline the offer, or hold the offer for four hours. If the position is held, it is considered to be frozen and cannot be offered to any other candidate during that time period. (At the four hour mark, the candidate must either accept or decline, otherwise the offer is no longer valid). Candidates may not hold more than one offer at a time. Once a candidate accepts an offer they should call the remaining programs that are lower on their preference list and inform them that they no longer wish to be considered at those facilities. Postdoctoral Training Directors (or their designee) will contact all applicants by phone or e-mail on the day of the UND to inform them of the status of the position. After a site and an applicant come to an agreement, a formal offer letter will be mailed to the applicant who will then formally accept the offer in writing.
Reciprocal Offers Process
Candidates who have been made an offer from a non-APPIC site (whether clinical or research postdoc or job offer) requiring a decision prior to UND date may contact an APPIC site request a reciprocal offer. The candidate would indicate the name of the program making the competing offer and how long they have been allowed to hold their offer. Before making a reciprocal offer to the candidate, the APPIC site should call the candidate's Internship Training Director and verify the offer or ask the applicant for written verification of the competing offer (e.g., a faxed or scanned letter or a forwarded e-mail).
When an APPIC program makes a reciprocal offer, the candidate is expected to accept immediately. The acceptance is binding. If a program declines to make a reciprocal offer, only then is the candidate permitted to contact another site indicating it is (now) their #1 choice.
Application deadlines are permitted at any point prior to UND as determined by each program.
Notification of Applicants Who are No Longer Being Considered
APPIC programs should notify applicants at the point that they are out of consideration for the position for which they have applied.
UNDr Posting by APPIC Postdoctoral Members
By September 24, 2011, APPIC postdoctoral programs are expected to update their brochures, website, and directory information to explain their use of the UNDr process.
Programs who Wish to Make Offers after UND
Programs are permitted to make offers after UND if they are uncertain of funding at time of UND.
No clearinghouse will be set up during this initial year. Programs that do not fill positions on UND may fill their empty positions on any future date.
UNDr Frequently Asked Questions
Does the UNDr process apply to non-APPIC postdoctoral programs?
APPIC is currently marketing this process to non-APPIC postdoctoral programs as a mechanism of providing increased collaboration among all training programs. Many non-APPIC postdoctoral programs previously participated in an informal UND process. These programs in particular have all been contacted personally to request their continued participation as in years past. Any program who would like to participate is most welcome to do so and we strongly encourage every program to follow this procedure. We ask any non-APPIC program who wishes to participate to contact Dr. Lisa Kearney at Lisa.Kearney3@va.gov so that they can be kept informed of any updated processes as they occur. Does APPIC plan to move forward to a formal match system for postdoctoral programs as it previously did with the internship?There is no current plan to move forward to a formal match system. However, the APPIC Board will continue to survey members regarding their interest and commitment to a formal match system, and implement as voted on by the membership. If I do not obtain funding for a new postdoctoral position until AFTER the UNDr date, may I proceed with filling the position after the UNDr date?Yes! If you receive funding after the UNDr date, you may proceed with recruitment for the fall. This is also the same for new internship programs who receive funding after the Match date. I have a Neuropsychology Postdoctoral program which does not participate in the formal neuropsychology match system. Must I participate in the UNDr process?No, Neuropsychology Postdoctoral programs are not included in this process as they already have a process for organizing offers available to them through the APPCN match system.
What should I do if one of my top ranked applicant calls with a legitimate confirmed offer before I have completed all my in person interviews but after some interviewees have made travel plans? May I make a reciprocal offer?
Yes, you CAN make a reciprocal offer at any time; however, in this case, it would be beneficial FIRST to ask the applicant requesting a reciprocal offer how long they have been given to hold their confirmed offer. This may allow adequate time for you to complete your interview process and then decided AT THAT TIME if you wish to extend the reciprocal offer.
If we are unable to participate in the UNDr because we do not receive funding in time to participate, when is the latest a "late" offer can be made? When would it become an "early" (and inappropriate) offer?
APPIC would expect that if you are planning to start the position in the current academic year it would be appropriate to make the offer. For example, if you receive word in June 2012 that you have funding and you wish to bring someone on prior to the next academic year, it would be appropriate for you to continue to make the offer (i.e., the postdoc applicant would be expected to start in the 2012-2013 academic year). If however, you were postponing for the start date to be in the 2013-2014 year, that woud need to fall under the next UNDr date.
As updates are available, we will email you with additional information. Don't hesitate to contact us with any comments or questions you may have. We look forward to our collective efforts in making this pilot program a complete success!
Eugene D'Angelo, PhD Lisa Kearney, Ph.D.
APPIC Board Chair APPIC Board Secretary