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Outstanding teacher, Judith Kasper, Readings in Health Services Research

Dismissal of Postdoctoral Fellows

Postdoctoral fellowship is a period of additional training between supervised doctoral research and full independence as an investigator. During this period the fellow, through collaboration with his/her mentor, will become progressively independent of the mentor and the mentor will gradually reduce the level of supervision of the fellow's work. Mentors are expected to state their expectations for fellows working under them clearly and communication about performance between the postdoctoral fellow and the postdoctoral mentor should be ongoing, open and candid. 

If a mentor is dissatisfied with the performance of a postdoctoral fellow, s/he should first raise the concerns with the fellow and work with the fellow to identify solutions to the concerns. The meeting should be summarized in a memo to the fellow. If the problem continues, a written explanation of the problems and potential solutions should be given to the postdoctoral fellow. The postdoctoral fellow has an opportunity to reply to this written communication. The mentor should closely monitor the fellow's action to correct the issues and provide prompt feedback. If, after a reasonable period of time to demonstrate improvement, there has been unsatisfactory improvement in the performance of the fellow, the postdoctoral mentor may decide to dismiss the fellow, documenting the reasons for the decision in a letter to the fellow. The fellow may appeal the dismissal to the departmental chair (or if the departmental chair is the mentor, to the Associate Dean for Research), in writing detailing the basis for the appeal. The appeal must be received within two weeks of the decision to dismiss.

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