The policies that govern eligibility of Postdoctoral Associates (PDA) and Postdoctoral Fellows (PDF) to teach are determined primarily by the funding agency that supports the postdoctoral appointee. Those agencies include the federal government and other outside agencies as well as Yale departments and programs. For purposes of determining eligibility to teach and compensation for teaching, postdoctoral appointees fall into one of three categories.
A. Postdoctoral Associates whose duties include teaching as part of their training program. Many of the PDA positions funded by Yale and some of the positions funded by grants and contracts administered by Yale not only permit but require the PDA to teach one or more courses per year. In these cases, the compensation for teaching is included in the PDA’s regular stipend, so no additional compensation for teaching is permitted.
B. Postdoctoral Associates funded from sponsored research, including federal grants. These grants (the most common of which are NIH R01 grants) provide funds to hire PDAs to work on a sponsored research project, either on a full-time or part-time basis. With the approval of his or her supervisor, a PDA paid from one of these grants may teach a course, so long as the portion of effort devoted to the research and the amount of salary charged to the grant are reduced and the combined appointments for sponsored research and teaching do not exceed 100%. The University considers teaching a course to require 33% of an instructor’s time during the four-and-a-half-month semester. If a PDA co-teaches a course with another faculty member, serves as a Teaching Assistant, or participates in teaching in some other way, the portion of effort and salary devoted to teaching would be less than 33%, and would depend on the number of hours per week devoted to teaching-related duties. The salary rate for the sponsored research portion of the PDA’s appointment need not be the same as the salary rate for teaching.
C. Postdoctoral Fellowships that provide a full-time stipend and require a full-time commitment to a training program or research project. The most common of these are funded by the federal government, including T32 traineeships and F32 fellowships. Generally, PDFs in these programs are permitted to receive additional compensation for services such as teaching or serving as a research assistant, so long as the compensated services occur on a limited, part-time basis apart from the normal research or training activities and do not interfere with, detract from, or prolong the PDF’s approved training program or research project. Most of these programs require a minimum commitment of 40 hours per week, so any teaching must be in addition to that commitment. Normally, University policies do not permit a faculty member, staff member, or postdoctoral appointee to receive additional compensation for teaching on an “over-time” basis, that is, in addition to a full-time position and salary. However, a waiver of this policy will be approved for PDFs, on a case-by-case basis, when the following two conditions are met:
- The policies that govern the PDF’s funding, especially if the funding comes from a federal grant, permit the PDF to teach in addition to a full-time commitment to research. Even when teaching is permitted, the research training experience must remain paramount and the PDF and his or her PI or mentor must ensure that the teaching does not jeopardize the quality or quantity of time devoted to the research training.
- The PDF’s participation in or conduct of a course is relevant to his or her training as a scientist-educator, and is not being undertaken merely to supplement the PDF’s stipend or to help a department cover its teaching responsibilities.
Guidelines and Procedures for Teaching by Postdoctoral Associates and Postdoctoral Fellows:
- All courses must be offered and approved through a regular department or program.
- The salary for teaching should be the standard amount for the department or program.
- Funding for the course must be approved through the normal procedures for the department or program.
- Postdoctoral appointees must be given a joint appointment as a Lecturer or Teaching Fellow, as appropriate, in the department or program through which the course is offered.
- The postdoctoral appointee must provide a written statement from his or her adviser, mentor, or PI approving the teaching and certifying that it is consistent with the policies described above. This statement must be submitted to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, which will forward a copy to the chair of the department or program through which the course will be offered. A copy of this statement should be attached to the Faculty Appointment Form that is submitted to the Provost’s Office.
- A PDF must secure written documentation that the funding agency approves of the teaching.
- Postdoctoral appointees on J or H visas must secure the permission of the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) prior to accepting a teaching position.