Building a State-System Model: a Timeline

What are we working on
CURRENTLY (November 2021):

Finalizing an Onboarding Checklist that will ensure standardized practices across institutions.

Designing a better process for the recruitment and matchmaking of Flexible pathway Fellows

Working with USM IT on the Opportunities for Postdoctoral Advancement Database

We have one manuscripts accepted and one under review!

We are also collaborating with NASH, the National Postdoc Association, the University of Texas, Texas A&M, and UNC systems on an NSF INCLUDES proposal.



Building a model has required an iterative process of ideation, putting things into practice, receiving/integrating feedback, and institutionalizing policy. This is an ongoing effort, but we hope that this timeline is helpful for those considering replicating this model.

Relationship Building &
Idea Formation

Each hyperlink connects to supporting documents. For several items, additional collapsible text containing “Lessons Learned” will be added.

  • 2018: Created Leadership Team (LT)
  • 2018: Recruited External Advisory Board (EAB)
  • 2019: Kickoff Retreat (June) where model for Fellow Experience was generated (materials & journey maps, keys to success)
  • 2019 :Annual Meeting (November), welcome new Project Director
  • 2019: Established Coordinator Positions on each campus
  • 2020: Finalized Annual Calendar of Structured Meetings (LT, Coordinators, Annual Retreats with broad team, Annual Meetings with EAB, virtual sessions with EAB).
  • 2020: Created foundational documents: Common Learning Outcomes, Expectations for Fellows & Mentors, and Fellow Skills Assessment Tool (notes on the process for development)
  • 2020: Drafted requirements for an Opportunities for Professorial Advancement database to serve both as a directory of postdoctoral fellows across the system and opportunities for those scholars (guest lectures, classes to teach, etc.).
  • 2020: Annual Meeting included a self-study by the whole team to identify lessons learned & advice for other systems considering replication (agenda and notes).
  • 2020: Presented APAA Program & Research on Faculty Diversification to USM Provosts to build relationships in broader USM (October)
  • 2021: Presented APAA Program to USM STEM Deans to build relationships in broader USM (January)
  • 2021: Began fleshing out the “Not-Predetermined Pathway” and renamed it the “Flexible Pathway” (Feb-March) discussed this with our EAB in April, whole APAA team in July.
  • 2021: Presented to the USM AAAC committee about facilitating conversion through system-wide search waiver language, though institutional language is still preferred.
  • 2021: Created and iteratively edited an Onboarding Checklist to ensure a solid transition of fellows to campuses.
  • 2021: Began working with UMCP’s Advance team on a “short” Departmental Readiness Assessment tool, it was piloted at UMCP in fall 2021.
  • 2021: Created a USM Orientation for new Fellows.

Implementation &
Initiating Practices

  • 2019: Hired two Fellows, one at SU and one at UMCP
  • 2019: Began providing professional development that leverages institutional strengths of alliance institutions
  • 2020: Hired 3 Fellows, 2 at UMCP and one at UMBC, and converted the Fellow at SU to tenure track
  • 2020: Established a Guidance Document for the Recruitment and Selection of APAA Fellows which contains job ad language, recruitment contacts and suggestions, and sample rubrics.
  • 2020: Revised professional development calendar around Common Learning Outcomes and Fellow needs
  • 2020: Began distributing Expectations for Fellows & Mentors, and assessing Fellows with Skills Assessment Tool
  • 2020: Created a prototype Opportunities for Professorial Advancement database to serve both as a directory of postdoctoral fellows across the system and opportunities for those scholars (guest lectures, classes to teach, etc.)
  • 2020-2021: Began having monthly cohort meetings with Fellows, virtually, and finally in person in May 2021. Mentors in Residence (national URM STEM leaders) attended 3 of these meetings to connect with Fellows and provide advice.
  • 2021: Hired 3 new Fellows: 1 at UMBC, 1 at UMCP and 1 at UMB (bringing total to 8 so far)
  • 2021: Used the resources in the Guidance Document for the Recruitment and Selection of APAA Fellows to send out personal invitations to over 200 URM biomedical postdocs and advanced graduate students outside our USM network (in addition to over 100 scholars within our network) to attend a July 22 Recruitment & Information Session (Flyer).

Institutionalization &

  • 2020: Two LT members join the USM Appointment, Promotion and Rank Committee, begin conversations around system policies (such as search waivers) that facilitate conversion to tenure track.
  • 2020: UMB Commits funds for a pre-determined pathway for at least 2 fellows.
  • 2020: APAA Research Team presents to USM Provosts and Academic Affairs staff, with follow up at SU. SU integrates APAA input into campus diversity, equity and inclusion plan.
  • 2020: Presented at AGEP National Research Meeting
  • 2020-2021: Project Director meets with USM staff multiple times about system support, policy, funding, legislative requests
  • 2021: TU commits to hiring a Fellow for Fall 2022 start.
  • 2021: Met with USM to assess ability to create the Opportunities for Professorial Advancement database – they agreed to build the database in May 2021.
  • 2021: Submitted two manuscripts, one on Developing a State-System Model for Faculty Diversity and the other as a review on New Efforts to Diversify Faculty: Postdoc Conversion Models, including our model.
  • 2021: Presented at the National Postdoc Association Conference and presented at the AGEP National Research Conference, NSF INCLUDES Convening (August)
  • 2021: Presented to the National Association of System Heads. 



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