External Review for Promotion and Tenure · 11
Executive Summary
According to data collected in 2000, librarians at 41
of the 111 reporting academic ARL member librar-
ies (37%) are in tenure track positions librarians are
eligible for a comparable continuing appointment
at another 23 academic libraries (21%). In addition,
data collected as part of the ARL annual salary sur-
vey shows that all but eight academic libraries have
a multi-tier ranking system for librarians. This is a
clear indication that there is an evaluation process
in place for librarian promotion and tenure or other
continuing appointment at most ARL libraries.
When a librarian becomes eligible for promo-
tion to the next rank or for permanent appointment
many institutions require external reviews of the
candidate by peers at other institutions. These re-
views become an important part of the evaluation
of a librarian’s potential for ongoing contributions
to the position and the profession.
A literature search reveals that little has been
written about the external review process for li-
brarians seeking promotion or continuing appoint-
ment. Bradigan and Mularski (1996) conducted a
study of criteria used by library administrators to
evaluate candidate publications for promotion and
tenure and discovered that solicited external assess-
ments were key to their evaluations. Leyson and
Black (1998) surveyed Carnegie research institu-
tions on whether they required peer review of fac-
ulty. Their study focused primarily on peer review
within an institution and mentioned that review by
external peers was an important part of the review.
Expanding the search to higher education literature,
a few additional articles rise to the surface that spe-
cifically address external review procedures used
to evaluate English (Poston, 1984), nursing school
(Reilly, Carlisle, Mikan and Goldsmith, 1996), po-
litical science (Schlozman, 1998), and accounting
faculty (Schwartz and Schroeder, 1997). Although
these articles provide some information that may
be applicable to external review of library faculty,
nothing in library literature specifically addresses
procedures used in academic libraries to conduct
external reviews of candidates for promotion and
The authors of this survey have performed a
number of external reviews and have experienced
a wide variety of procedures and policies from the
requesting libraries. For example, the contents of
candidates’ portfolios have varied greatly. Some
have contained only publications. Others have
included a wide variety of material demonstrat-
ing work in service and job performance. One
included the performance evaluations of the can-
didate. Some portfolios included the institutions’
standards others did not. The instructions to the
reviewers have also varied. Some institutions in-
structed the reviewer to evaluate the quality of the
candidate’s work based on the included standards.
Some asked the reviewer to evaluate the candidate
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