14 · SPEC Kit 293
reviewers familiar with the candidate and those
who are not, or allow a portion of the reviewers to
be familiar with the candidate. Three specifically
exclude co-authors, people in direct supervisory
line, and former students or teachers from writing
reviews. One of these states that reviewers must
be “sufficiently at arms length” to provide an ob-
jective assessment. Another six state that review-
ers should be knowledgeable about the candidate
or the candidate’s accomplishments, or should be
people who have direct knowledge about the can-
didate’s performance. Interestingly, one of these in-
stitutions also specifically instructs the reviewer to
supply an “objective appraisal.”
On average, institutions seek five reviewers for
each candidate. The minimum number of external
reviews sought was one; three respondents solicit
up to 10. According to the documentation, three in-
stitutions require an increasing number of external
reviews with increasing rank. Forty percent do not
specify a number of external reviewers required
while a third state a minimum number of review-
ers required. According to the survey responses,
five of the ten institutions that specify a minimum
number regularly require more than the minimum
when soliciting reviews while two typically re-
quest the minimum number required by their in-
Many survey respondents convene a review
committee to oversee promotion and tenure activi-
ties. These committees, or the committee chair, most
frequently make the initial contact with potential
reviewers (14 responses or 38%). Library directors
and personnel officers are next most likely to ini-
tiate contact. At only four libraries do immediate
supervisors contact reviewers. In no case does the
candidate contact the reviewer directly.
Very rarely are reviewers unable to partici-
pate. Seven libraries (19%) indicated that a request
to serve as a reviewer had never been rejected.
Occasionally, a reviewer is unable to provide input
due to other work commitments or because they
are deemed ineligible due to rank, lack of tenure,
etc. In some cases, reviewers simply do not respond
to letters seeking input on a candidate’s portfolio.
Although the numbers are small and probably not
large enough to illustrate a clear pattern, there does
not seem to be any correlation between the way an
external review is solicited and the likelihood that
the request will be turned down.
The Candidate’s Portfolio
Few candidates have complete control of the con-
tents of the portfolio sent to reviewers. Most of-
ten the contents are dictated by administrative/
procedural requirements (17 responses or 46%).
Occasionally, candidates are able to select materials
to include in their portfolios, in combination with
required materials (11 or 30%).
Generally, the candidate’s portfolio is sent af-
ter initial contact has been made with a potential
reviewer and the person has agreed to serve (24
responses or 67%). Materials included in the port-
folio nearly always include the candidate’s curricu-
lum vitae (CV) or “factual résumé” (33 or 89%) and
evidence of publishing or scholarly activities (26 or
70%). Respondents who send the CV/résumé with
the candidate’s portfolio tend to send additional
supporting documentation, as well. A significant
number include a summary of accomplishments
written by the candidate (20 or 54%), evidence of
creative and service activities (17 or 46% each), and
job related materials (13 or 35%). Other materials
include criteria for assessment, institutional docu-
ments, peer assessments of teaching, and letters of
reference. One institution reported that they sent
“whatever the candidate submits.” According to
the procedural documents reviewed, only one in-
stitution sends copies of performance appraisals
with the candidate’s portfolio.
A third of the respondents (12) send the review-
er a candidate’s portfolio along with the initial let-
ter of inquiry. The procedural documents of five
of these institutions include a list of the portfolio
contents. All of these institutions submit the can-
didate’s CV or résumé. Other documents include
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