loading page

Faculty Resistance to Reform: Challenges to changing postdoc benefits at University of Maryland
  • Gary S. McDowell
Gary S. McDowell
Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology, Department of Biology, Tufts University, 200 Boston Avenue, Medford, MA 02155, USA

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile


On Wednesday, April 8, 2015, the blog post “Eroding Benefits for UMD postdocs?” caused quite a stir (Benderley, 2015). Such a stir, in fact, that the post was soon taken down, and revised (you can read both the original and revised posts at the link above). The blog pointed to an article in The Diamondback (Dunn, 2015), discussing changes to benefits for postdocs at the University of Maryland, College Park. The articles caused something of a storm over social media (Collins, 2015), not least because of a fair amount of confusion generated over what is actually happening. However, what is really noteworthy is a letter, signed by 131 tenured and tenure-track professors in life sciences at UMD, principally Iqbal Hamza and Norma Andrews, and supported by Jonathan Dinman, Chair of the Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics Department, which opposes the administration’s proposed changes because they will “raise the cost of support of postdocs, adversely affecting research productivity and competitiveness at the University of Maryland.” After receiving clarification on the matter from Mark Arnold, Director of Faculty Initiatives at the Office of Faculty Affairs at UMD College Park, I’m going to try to explain what the changes actually are, and provide some commentary on the faculty letter.