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Welcome, New Postdocs!

We're pleased you're joining the Annenberg School as a new postdoctoral fellow. The information below will be helpful as you transition into the role.

Onboarding Checklist

You've got a number of tasks ahead of you in order to get established with Penn. Here is a quick-start checklist, with more detail about each of these in the dropdowns below:

Fellowship Policies

Please reivew the University of Pennsylvania's policies for Postdoctoral Trainees (PDTs), as established by the Vice Provost for Research.

Getting Set Up

The PennCard is the official University of Pennsylvania identification card for members of the Penn community. New PDTs are eligible for a PennCard when their payroll record has been processed and approved by the University, which will typically occur within a few days of the start date. Once eligible, new PDTs should visit the PennCard Center (located inside the Barnes and Noble Bookstore, 36th and Walnut St., second floor) with a valid form of photo ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.), where their photograph will be taken and a PennCard issued. There is no charge for the initial card. Visit the PennCard website for more information.

PennKey is the University of Pennsylvania’s system for securing critical online services. The PennKey system is required to authenticate an individual's identity to many of Penn's networked systems and services. New PDTs are eligible for a PennKey when their Workday record has been established by the school. Once eligible, new employees should visit the PennKey website to register their PennKey and set a PennKey password.

When the PennKey has been set up, please email the PennKey only (not the password) to Lizz Cooper, IT Help Desk Manager, copying Donna Burdumy, HR Director so that the ASC email address can be established.

All PennKey holders are required to enroll in Two-Step Verification to protect their personal data and improve the University’s overall security. Two-Step Verification provides an added layer of protection when accessing PennKey-protected websites and applications. With Two-Step, after logging in with your PennKey and password you’ll be prompted to verify your identity - the second step - using a device in your possession, such as a mobile phone.

Two-Step is easy to use and provides numerous verification options, so you’ll always be able to access your data, even if you’re not connected to a cellular data or WiFi network. With Two-Step, your data is protected, even if your PennKey password is compromised. To enroll in Two-Step, visit: https://twostep.apps.upenn.edu. For more information about how to enroll in and use Two-Step, and how to manage your Two-Step settings, consult the Two-Step Overview and FAQ.

New PDTs will receive information via emails generated by Workday, Penn's human resources and financial processes platform. These emails will provide on-boarding instructions, including instructions on how to make an appointment at Onboard@Penn, which will facilitate the process of payroll form completion.

When visiting the Onboard@Penn Center, new PDTs should bring all personal identification documents (passport, etc.), as well as a copy of their offer letter. Non-Resident Aliens should refer to the Onboard@Penn site for a list of required documents. Please note that new regulations require that all new employees must present a social security card for photocopying and submission to the Penn records office. Please consult with the Onboard@Penn Center if a social security card/number is not available.

PDTs are paid monthly, on the last weekday of each month.


The university requires all Postdoctoral Trainees to have health insurance. PDTs are eligible to receive single person insurance, as provided under the Basic University of Pennsylvania Postdoctoral Insurance Plan (PIP). If the health insurance coverage provided by the University is not needed, certification of alternate health insurance that provides at least comparable coverage must be provided.

PDT health insurance is offered through Gallagher. Please visit the University Postdoctoral Insurance Plan Portal to establish a New User login account, review coverage information, get answers to FAQs, etc.

New PDTs are automatically enrolled in PIP effective their start date.

If a PDT chooses to add dependent coverage, this can be done by logging in to the PIP portal and electing additional coverage. This must be done within 31 days of the appointment date. PDTs are responsible for the additional coverage cost, which will be deducted from their paycheck.

PDTs will receive an enrollment confirmation email shortly after they are automatically enrolled by Gallagher. PDTs MUST enter a home phone number in Workday under Personal Contact Information in order for benefits eligibility to be recognized. Penn's Workday system interfaces with Gallagher once per week, so there may be a delay in receiving the email - however, coverage is still effective as of the appointment start date.

Aetna ID cards will be issued and can expect to be received within 7 to 10 days of the appointment start date. Temporary cards may be printed via Aetna Navigator. When registering, select the 'Social Security Number' option and enter the Penn ID number with an added zero in the front. Then complete all of the personal information.

Health insurance coverage ends on the last day of the month in which the PDT appointment ends, unless the appointment ends on the first day of the month. For example, if the appointment ends on June 1st, coverage ends on June 1st. If the appointment ends on June 15th, coverage ends on June 30th.

Changes to coverage during the plan year are accepted only if there has been a qualifying life event (marriage, new baby, etc.). All other changes must be made during the benefits open enrollment period.

Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance (Life/AD&D) is also provided to PDTs via Gallagher.

View information about the life and AD&D benefit. 

PDTs are required to log in to the Gallagher portal and complete the information required to identify a beneficiary.

PDTs are eligible to invest in Penn's Supplemental Retirement Annuity plan. Enrollment can be completed in Workday.

View information about the supplemental retirement annuity plan.

In any appointment year, a PDT may elect to take up to 10 University business days as paid vacation days and still receive the PDT stipend. Requests for PDT usage should be made in advance via the Workday dashboard.

PDTs are entitled to the eight official holidays observed by the University and are eligible to take the University’s special winter vacation, during which time the University is typically closed.

The University observes the following holidays: 

New Year's Day
Martin Luther King Day
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Thanksgiving Day
Friday following Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Day

Employees should consult U@Penn or the Almanac annually for official holiday closing dates. 

In any appointment year, a PDT may take up to 15 University business days as sick leave and still receive the PDT stipend. Any unused sick leave is forfeited at the end of the appointment year. Supervisors may request medical documentation from a health care provider for any extended absence. PDTs should inform their supervisor if there is a need for sick leave and leave usage should be tracked via the Workday dashboard.

PDTs are entitled to receive stipends for no more than 60 calendar days of leave per appointment year for the adoption or birth of a child. Either parent is eligible. Use of the new child leave must be discussed in advance with the supervisor. Unused sick leave or vacation days may be used, with approval, to extend the period of new child leave. 

The Annenberg School is piloting dependent care grants for Annenberg School faculty, students, staff, and postdocs who are pursuing professional development activities. The pilot period runs until August 31, 2023. These grants can help remove roadblocks to participation and support up to $1500 in caregiving expenses required. Learn more about dependent care grants and apply here.

Getting Around

With input from the Annenberg community, the ASC Communications Office has compiled a Google map with restaurant, museum, and activity suggestions. It's perfect for newcomers who are new to the area or Penn, or for anyone who wants recommendations on where to eat and play in the city. 

For help getting around campus, visit Penn's Facilities & Real Estate Services page where you can download maps and get walking directions.

Penn encourages the use of public transportation and assists public transit commuters by offering discounted options and/or pre-tax benefits through programs such as the Commuter Pass Program (COMPASS), TransitChek®, and PATCO Freedom Pass. Penn also provides a variety of campus transit services, such as the Penn Bus, Walking Escort, Van Pool, and others. Parking Services operates a number of parking facilities on Penn's campus. For more information about Penn transportation and parking services, please visit the Penn Transit website.

Questions? Contact Human Resources

Donna Burdumy

Donna Burdumy

Senior Director of Human Resources
(215) 898-7053

Steven Milteer

Steven Milteer

Human Resources Coordinator
(215) 746-6440