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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:


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

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

To create and sustain a campus climate in which members of the University community are able to thrive and achieve their full potential, the University has established a wide range of policies, educational programs, resources, support, and reporting systems to respond to complaints of sexual misconduct made against members of the Penn community. Please review Penn's policies and procedures here.

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.


Postdoctoral Trainees (PDTs) are required to have health insurance. PDTs will have three options for health insurance plans: Keystone Health Plan HMO, Aetna POS II, and PennCare/Personal Choice. All three plans provide access to the Penn Provider network. For details, review the medical plan charts in the Postdoctoral Researchers and Fellows Benefits Enrollment Guide.

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.

If PDTs elect to waive health insurance coverage through the University, PDTs must certify that they have alternate health insurance that provides at least comparable coverage. 

If you require dependent coverage, please contact Maura Reilly-Ulmanek.

Postdoctoral Trainees (PDTs) are eligible for life insurance through Penn’s carrier, MetLife. PDTS will be required to provide their life insurance beneficiary information via the Workday@Penn portal.

You can find more information about any of the insurance offerings, here

Note: Your benefits base salary for life insurance purposes is calculated and frozen in March of each year. This amount will not change even if your salary changes during the course of the plan year.

PDTs who are classified as postdoctoral researchers or postdoctoral fellows are eligible to participate in the Supplemental Retirement Annuity Plan of the University of Pennsylvania. Under this retirement plan, eligible PDTs may defer a portion of their eligible compensation each payroll period to the retirement plan. If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact the Penn Employee Solution Center.

View information about the supplemental retirement annuity plan.


In any appointment year, a PDT may elect to take up to ten University business days as paid vacation days, on which days the PDT will continue to receive their stipend. PDTs are also 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. If a PDT wishes to work and/or perform research during an official holiday or special winter vacation, the postdoc can use the equivalent time as additional paid vacation days. PDTs forfeit any unused vacation days or holidays at the end of any appointment year. 

PDTs should consult the Almanac annually for official holiday closing dates. 

Postdoctoral Trainees (PDTs) may continue to receive stipends for up to 15 University business days of sick leave per year. PDTs forfeit any unused sick leave at the end of the appointment year. Under exceptional circumstances, a period of leave due to illness or incapacity may be extended at the discretion of the mentor. Mentors may request for any extended absence medical documentation from a healthcare provider, to be provided to an appropriate administrative office consistent with confidentiality. Additional sick leave may be approved at the discretion of the mentor.

Postdoctoral Trainees (PDTs) are entitled to receive stipends for no more than 60 calendar days of leave per appointment year for adoption or birth of a child. Either parent is eligible. PDTs must discuss the use of new child leave in advance with the mentor. A mentor may not deny a request to use new child leave without the authorization of the appropriate administrative office. Unused sick leave or vacation days may be used, with approval, to extend the period of new child leave. Additional new child leave may be approved at the discretion of the mentor.

Building & Workplace

The Annenberg School building is open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Holiday and summer hours will vary and are communicated via email from the Building Administrator.

There are three entrances to the building: the main entrance on the first floor, off of Walnut Street, and two second floor entrances off of Locust Walk. The second floor entrances are closed at night and on the weekends, and at those times only the Walnut Street entrance may be used.

The Annenberg School takes the safety and security of its faculty, staff, and students very seriously. The School employs six security guards on varying shifts from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Holiday hours will vary. For assistance, or to report a situation, please call (215)898-1881, or contact the ASC Building Administrator at (215)898-2996.

The emergency number for the entire Penn campus is 511. By dialing 511 from a University telephone, University of Pennsylvania Police will be dispatched immediately to the emergency location, and Philadelphia Fire Rescue will be notified. Please note that dialing 911 instead of 511 will disrupt the emergency response chain and could significantly delay the arrival of emergency help. If a University telephone is not available, please call (215) 573-3333. ASC Security should be informed of all emergency incidents as soon as possible so that they may direct emergency responders to the appropriate building location, complete incident reports, etc.

The Main Office includes a kitchen area with coffee set-up for use by the Annenberg community. Coffee and tea are provided free of charge, and filtered water is available via a dispenser located next to the refrigerator. A full-size refrigerator and microwave are also provided. It is expected that all employees will be respectful of the kitchen area by cleaning up spills, disposing of trash properly, and not allowing old or expired items to linger in the refrigerator.

Only animals that are registered Service Animals are permitted inside Annenberg School buildings. Service Animals should be registered on campus. Faculty and staff who require the use of a Service Animal should contact Penn’s Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs. Graduate and undergraduate students should contact the Office of Student Disability Services.

In accordance with university requirements, Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are not permitted in classrooms or any other non-residential housing spaces.

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.

Maura Reilly-Ulmanek


For help with postdoc onboarding, please contact:

Maura Reilly-Ulmanek
Administrative Coordinator
(215) 898-7045