Sample Letter to External Evaluators

Sample Letter to External Evaluators for Tenure/Promotion Decisions. Revised 8/26/2004

Dear Dr. Smith:

Dr. Jane Jones, Assistant Professor, is being considered for tenure and promotion this year at The Pennsylvania State University. The University procedures provides that evaluation criteria must be applied in light of the mission of the academic unit and the professional responsibilities carried out by the faculty member. Dr. Jones' assignment is 75% extension and 25% research.

University policy mandates that I seek evaluations of a candidate from professionals who are qualified to judge the candidate's scholarly qualities, career development, and contributions to the discipline. I would very much appreciate your assessment of Dr. Jones' professional performance.

Of particular value would be a frank appraisal of: (1) her research abilities and accomplishments, including papers given at scholarly meetings; (2) the quality of her teaching, including extension; (3) the quality of her publications; (4) her reputation or standing in the field; (5) her potential for further growth and achievement; and (6) whether she would be ranked among the most capable and promising scholars in her area.

It would also be particularly helpful to us in our deliberations if you could rate Dr. Jones' contributions in comparison with others you have known with similar responsibilities at the same state of professional development. Please also describe the nature of your association with Dr. Jones. A copy of her curriculum vitae and pertinent publications are included.

We are aware of the imposition that this inquiry provides; however, we assure you that input from scholars like you is vital to our decision-making process. It is Penn State University policy to keep your letter confidential and to share it only with the committees (departmental, college and university) and administrators (normally the department head, dean, and provost) responsible for making recommendations on promotion and tenure. Your letter will not be shared with the candidate.

An early report would be most appreciated as we do hope to have all letters in the file by (date). Returning the enclosed postcard will let us know whether or not you can comply with our request. Thank you for assistance in this matter.