External Letters for Tenure and Promotion

Three external letters are required by University policy for Faculty seeking tenure or promotion to full professor. UL policy also requires three external letters for faculty seeking promotion to associate professor. When a candidate is standing for both tenure and promotion to associate professor, the same external reviewers should be used. They will be asked to write two letters-one for each candidacy.

The candidate for tenure and/or promotion provides the names of five or more potential external reviewers to the Dean along with the needed information (see chart below) that will be forwarded to the selected external reviewers. In accordance with University policy, the Dean will select at least three external reviewers from the names submitted by the candidate.  The Dean will notify the candidate of the selections that were made, and will solicit evaluations from the selected external reviewers.  The Dean may also solicit external reviews from other individuals, not suggested by the candidate, but who are also qualified to evaluate the candidate's achievements objectively.  In such case, the Dean must inform the candidate of the persons contacted and inform the candidate of the receipt of these letters.

In all cases, the candidate shall be given a copy of the letter to be sent to external reviewers and have the opportunity to comment on it before the letter is mailed.

A calendar and more specific information follow at the end of this section.

Criteria for reviewers include:

  • If the reviewer is in a similar faculty status environment with reappointment/tenure/promotion requirements, the person should be tenured and have the same or higher rank as that sought by the candidate applying for promotion.
  • In all cases, the reviewer should be a well-established individual in an appropriate discipline or profession positioned to evaluate the candidate's record.

The individuals identified to write external letters are peer reviewers, not references. Their task is to critically review the candidate's record in light of University and UL criteria and provide a specific recommendation, either positive or negative. Specifically, the reviewer will be asked to provide a two- to three-page review that evaluates the candidate's overall record of scholarship and professional leadership, including:

  • The quality and significance of the candidate's scholarly work and impact on the field.
  • The contribution represented by the candidate's professional service activities.
  • An assessment, if possible, of the candidate's national or international reputation in the field.
  • For tenure: A statement of the candidate's potential contribution to the profession in the future.

Other supporting letters are optional and should be seen as references in that they are written in support of the candidate. Because these are optional they should be placed with supplementary materials in the file.

Calendar and Procedures Relating to External Letters


Notification of eligibility for promotion from CAC/Dean's Office Candidate's decision; notifies Dean

April - May

FPDC workshop

PDSC workshop

June 15

Candidate identifies five or more potential external 3 or 4 reviewers, confirms their willingness to serve in this capacity, and sends list of potential reviewers to Dean. Dean selects at least three reviewers from the names provided by the candidate.

June 30
Candidate supplies information to Dean to be sent to reviewers:

  1. Candidate provides introduction to materials
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. Representative evidence of scholarship and service

Dean's office supplies appropriate policies:

  1. UL Faculty Handbook, Section IV.D.1. "The Role of Tenured and Tenure-Eligible Library Faculty"
  2. abbreviated University document ("IV. General Observations"-not procedures)
  3. UL Handbook language regarding tenure or promotion criteria.

July 15

Dean sends out material to reviewers with a descriptive outline of the kind of review that is sought and a deadline for receipt of their letters by August 31.

Dean's office adds external letters to the candidate's file as received.

Sept. 30
Dean sends thank you note to reviewers.

Approved by the UL Faculty, 02/07/2008
Final approval July 15, 2008
Revision approved by UL Faculty September 14, 2010
Receipt acknowledged by the Provost's Office, 9/1710

Final approval, 8/31/11