Appointment to the rank of Assistant Scientist may be granted to an individual who:
Assistant Scientist is the normal professional entry point for recent doctoral graduates desiring to follow a career in ocean sciences research at WHOI. Recruitment is through advertisement, or by selection from the ranks of WHOI Postdoctoral Scholars and Fellows. The rigorous competitive selection process for WHOI Postdoctoral Fellows or Scholars is considered equivalent from the standpoint of equal opportunity and affirmative action to evaluation of candidates responding to advertisements for Assistant Scientist positions. Assistant Scientists are expected to pursue their research independently or with general supervision and advice from more senior scientific staff. They are expected to take an active interest in the welfare of the Institution by such activities as the preparation of research proposals, participation in Department or Center affairs, participation in Education, and service on Institution and national committees. The appointment is provisional in that it provides the individual with an opportunity for professional development as an oceanographer, and provides the Institution with information needed to evaluate the individual's promise as a continuing member of the Resident Scientific Staff.
Appointment to the position of Assistant Scientist is for a single four-year term. When required to meet extenuating personal circumstances that could seriously inhibit professional productivity (e.g., disability of the employee, family illness requiring extended care, child rearing or bearing, or dependent parent care), with a timely written request via the Department Chair to the Director for Research, the term can be extended for up to 12 months. Using this option does not eliminate the possibility of a Staff member being considered for promotion at any time during the term of appointment.
Appointment is based upon review of a file prepared by the sponsoring Scientific Department or the Marine Policy Center, and presented by its Chair to the Appointments and Promotions Council whose members vote on a recommendation for the President and Director's decision. The file comprises the candidate's curriculum vitae, his or her personal statement of research interests (normally a maximum of three pages), copies of usually three recent publications, letters of reference from at least four external reviewers and from knowledgeable members of the department (or other Scientific Staff members who may know the candidate), and a cover memo from the Department Chair summarizing the candidate's interests and qualifications, describing why the department desires to appoint this individual, and believes that the candidate will be able to sustain a viable research program at WHOI in his or her chosen field(s). The Department Chair also reports on other candidates seriously considered for this position and the make-up of the candidate pool from which the selected candidate was identified. The external letters, from senior researchers familiar with the candidate's science, are a very important element of the file. At this level they should comment on the candidate's originality and independence, ability to identify important areas of research, leadership skills, research quality as demonstrated by publications and oral presentations, future research potential, likelihood of appointment at the reviewer's institution, and prospects for developing a successful scientific career at WHOI.
Assistant Scientists are evaluated after the first and second years of their appointments by their Department Chairs and members of the Scientific Staff most familiar with the individual's research. The results of this review are communicated to the Assistant Scientist verbally and in writing, with a copy to the Director for Research. At least six months before the end of the four-year term appointment, the Chair will initiate the process of considering promotion to Associate Scientist without tenure, in consultation with the Associate and Senior Scientists of the candidate's Department. The Chair will discuss the results of the Department's deliberations with the candidate. If the Department or candidate desires to proceed with preparation of the file, the candidate is asked to provide names of individuals familiar with his or her research, and to consent to the solicitation of confidential opinions about his or her work.