President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Position Description

Position Overview

The University seeks applicants to the Postdoctoral President's Fellowship Program (PPFP) whose research, teaching, and service will contribute to excellence in scholarship, diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity in higher education at the University of Minnesota. Our goal is to recruit diverse applicants who will be eligible for tenure-track positions at the University of Minnesota. The PPFP is targeted towards scholars with the potential to bring the perspective that comes from their educational background or understanding of the experiences of groups historically underrepresented in higher education to their research and teaching.

Post-Doctoral Associates will conduct research and service that further develops their career skills and allows them opportunities to learn new research techniques. They are trained by, and work in conjunction with, a faculty mentor who guides the training agenda. 

The Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology has a strong system for, and a strong record of, mentoring graduate students, post-docs, and probationary faculty. In the past ten years, we have graduated 461 undergraduate, 59 Masters and 56 PhD students, hosted dozens of postdoctoral researchers, and brought on 7 new faculty members (6 of whom have been tenured and 1 who is well on their way).  The President's Postdoctoral Fellow hosted in the department will receive strong mentoring from their primary advisor and  a team of three faculty mentors who will ensure that the PPF is included in all functions of the department. Additionally, the fellow will be expected to participate in broader activities for PP Fellows within the college, at the university and nationally. Finally, the department will support the fellow in attending two national conferences each year to further their establishment on the national stage.

FWCB wants the President's Postdoctoral Fellow to hone their skills as a teacher as well. To this end, we propose to have them, in their first year, co-teach an introductory undergraduate course with one of our exceptional teaching faculty and, in their second year, teach a small class in their area of expertise. These experiences will advance their teaching capabilities, allow them to learn from an accomplished teacher, and enable them to develop two courses that they could teach in the future.

Note: This position requires that the President's Postdoctoral Fellow (PPF) reside in Minnesota. These are not positions to which permanent residency can be granted for international appointees; however, all applicants are encouraged to apply, regardless of their citizenship status.

CFANS is committed to the University of California mentoring mission of the postdoctoral fellowship program. The identified mentor will be named after final candidate selection. The University of Minnesota has joined the University of California Partnership for Faculty Diversity to invite outstanding scholars interested in faculty and research careers. Find out more about the postdoctoral fellowship program.

Potential Areas of Research

The range of possible areas of academic scholarship in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology is wide. The following faculty members are available as mentors:

  • Todd Arnold – Waterfowl ecology & management
  • Rob Blair – Avian ecology, urban ecology, citizen science
  • Joseph Bump – Animal ecology, aquatic-terrestrial links, carnivore ecology, carrion ecology
  • John Fieberg –  Statistical ecology
  • James Forester – Quantitative landscape ecology
  • Gretchen Hansen – Freshwater Ecosystems and Fisheries Ecology
  • Ken Kozak – Amphibians & reptile biogeography and evolution
  • Daniel Larkin – Applied plant ecology, invasion biology, and restoration ecology
  • Ray Newman – Aquatic ecology, stream and river ecology. 
  • Nicholas Phelps – Infectious diseases in fish populations, aquaculture
  • Sushma Reddy – Origins and maintenance of biological diversity, evolutionary history of birds
  • Lynn Waterhouse – Quantitative Fisheries Science


Department Overview

The Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology (FWCB) at the University of Minnesota  provides a world-class education through classroom and experiential teaching paired with cutting-edge research. We recognize that structural and institutional barriers exist that prevent the inclusion and equal participation of people in our work. We believe that recognizing who is missing, and working to include them, is a first step to becoming a better department. Although this work is challenging, it will improve the quality of our research, enhance our science, expand our reach, and foster more effective teaching. Join us so that we reflect the society we serve.

We include 17 faculty members, 14 staff members, 13 postdoctoral associates, 54 graduate students, and 240 undergraduate majors in our effort to foster a high-quality natural environment and respond to societal needs for information and education pertaining to the conservation and management of biodiversity. We work with the Bell Museum and UMN Extension to bring our work to the public and key stakeholders, and are home to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. Additional affiliated research and outreach facilities include the Cloquet Forestry Center, the Lake Itasca Biological Station, the Hubachek Wilderness Research Center, and the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. The campus is located in the heart of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area, which is rich in cultural and natural attractions. FWCB is located on the Saint Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota.

The department is dynamic, and UMN offers many opportunities for professional development. You will join a team dedicated to excellence and developing the next generation of fisheries and aquatic biologists, wildlife scientists and managers, and conservationists. We hope that you will apply.

College Overview

We acknowledge that the University of Minnesota Twin Cities is built within the traditional homelands of the Dakota people. It is important to acknowledge the peoples on whose land we live, learn, and work as we seek to improve and strengthen our relations with our tribal nations.

The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) is composed of 13 academic departments, 10 research and outreach centers across Minnesota, plus the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the Bell Museum, and dozens of interdisciplinary centers that span the college, the university, and the globe.

CFANS offers thirteen undergraduate majors and thirteen graduate majors, three pre-major/pre-professional programs and 23 minors for undergraduate students. Undergraduate enrollment in the college is about 2000 students. CFANS students are well-prepared for a diverse, multicultural workforce through the college’s emphasis on experiential, interdisciplinary, and intercultural learning; internships and global perspectives.

CFANS Commitment to the President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (PPFP)

At CFANS, we aim to inspire minds, nourish people, and enhance the natural environment, and we believe that's only possible if everyone feels seen, heard and respected. Our College embraces equity and diversity and prioritizes purpose-driven scientific discovery in order for us to build a better tomorrow, together. We align with the University of Minnesota (UMN) in providing equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.  

This is a two-year position starting with an initial, renewable 12-month appointment with the possibility of a tenure track position which could require a seminar or job talk the spring of your second year.  The University of Minnesota respects faculty governance and has incorporated such into the PPFP review process for a potential offer of a faculty tenure track position.  The Department Head and faculty will conduct an annual review of your progress in February of the first year.  In February of the second year, the Department Head, in conjunction with the PPFP supervisor and CFANS Dean, will complete a progress review.  If the review concludes that the President's Postdoctoral Fellow is successful in the responsibilities described for the position, they will be offered the opportunity to present a research and teaching seminar for review and evaluation by the department faculty, and upon agreement, a tenure-track faculty position with the University of Minnesota.

Position Responsibilities

The successful PPF candidate will:

  • Collaborate with their mentor to develop and execute high-caliber research capable of attracting extramural funding early in a tenure-track appointment
  • Develop teaching skills and identify two undergraduate courses to be taught as tenure-track faculty members
  • Publish manuscripts from previous research and/or begin writing manuscripts based on their postdoctoral research at the University of Minnesota
  • Develop successful grant proposals in their specific research area 
  • Contribute to efforts fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Department, College, University, and profession at large.
  • Meet regularly with their mentor and mentoring committee
  • Help mentor graduate and undergraduate researchers
  • Participate in departmental service at a level commensurate with their appointment

Required Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in biological sciences, natural resources, or related disciplines.
  • Experience advancing and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion such as working effectively with individuals with diverse identities and from underrepresented groups.
  • Demonstrated research emphasis in the conservation and management of biodiversity, focused on species, communities, or landscapes in either aquatic and/or terrestrial systems. Work in the human dimensions of the conservation and management of biodiversity fall fully within this realm.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Publication record in disciplines related to the position
  • Evidence of potential to obtain extramural research funds
  • Experience teaching at the undergraduate level
  • Experience in public outreach and engagement with community, governmental, tribal, and/or non-governmental organizations
  • Record of interacting creatively, collaboratively, and productively with other scientists

We are interested in you!  Don’t be intimidated by this list of preferred qualifications. Please apply and let us know of all of the good things that you have done and want to do.


The University recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting the academic mission. The University is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds.

The University of Minnesota provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Click to learn more about diversity at the U.

Employer Requirements

Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. Our presumption is that prospective employees are eligible to work here. Criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify finalists from employment.

Please note: All employees at the University of Minnesota are required to report complete vaccination against COVID-19 or submit documentation requesting a medical or religious exemption on their first day of employment. To learn more, please visit the University's COVID-19 Response webpage.

Expand all

Position Details

Date: August 2022
Classification & Title: 9546, postdoctoral associate
Working Title/Specialty: Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow
FLSA Status: Exempt, 100% 
Type: Academic with the possibility of transition to Tenure Track Faculty after two years based upon successful progression as determined by the Department Head in collaboration with the CFANS Dean
Reports to: Robert Blair, Department Head, Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology
College/Admin Unit: College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) 
Campus Location: St. Paul Campus 
Job Opening ID: NA – applicants will submit application through the University of California Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship Program website 
Salary: A competitive salary will be offered
Benefits: The University of Minnesota offers a comprehensive benefits package for postdoctoral associates including:

  • Competitive wages, paid holidays
  • Low cost medical, dental, and pharmacy plans
  • Health care and dependent daycare flexible spending accounts
  • Wellbeing program with reduced insurance premiums
  • Tuition reimbursement opportunities covering 75% of eligible tuition
  • Opportunities for growth and promotion
  • Employee Assistance Program

For more information regarding benefits, see Summary of Benefits.

How to Apply

Applications for the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Programs must be submitted via the online application, maintained by the University of California. The online application opens September 1, 2022 and closes on November 30, 2022.   
Applicants may apply to multiple participating institutions with the same application provided they submit separate mentor letters and research proposals. 
To facilitate timely applications, we have arranged for a generic mentor letter for this position that is needed to complete the application on the national site. To obtain this letter, list Dean Brian Buhr as your mentor using the email address [email protected]. Finalists in our search will have an identified faculty mentor who will replace this generic letter with a specific letter of support.

Please direct questions about the application process, identification of mentors, and any other aspects of the search and this position to Stacy Maher and Andrew Simons.

Required application materials:

The application deadline is November 30, 2022. Your application is not complete until all required documents have been received by the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Programs.  Please review the application requirements PDF before beginning the online application

Be prepared to provide the following required documents as a individual PDFs:

  • Thesis abstract – one page
  • Research Proposal – 700-1,000 words (not including references and citations)
  • Education and Background Statement – 500-700 words describing your personal background and contributions to diversity and equal opportunity through your academic career
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Writing sample – sample publication or unpublished paper, please limit to 35 pages (not including references and citations)