50 · SPEC Kit 293
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
appearance of a fait accompli. These letters should be written in a neutral fashion: “We
are considering recommending Assistant Professor X for promotion,” or “Your comments
are requested and will be used to help us decide . . .” The letters soliciting outside
evaluation should request, if possible, an in-depth analysis of the candidate’s performance
and national stature rather than an overall impression. Thus letters of solicitation should
include a phrase akin to the following:
Please provide us with your analysis of the significance of Professor ____’s
work within the canon. It would also be most useful for us if you could
provide some comparisons of Professor _____ with her (his) peers.
Rank. Letters to referees should indicate the rank to which the candidate is being
considered for promotion. If the promotion considered is to associate professor, the letter
should state that the considered action involves promotion with indefinite tenure. In the
case of a “Q” appointee for whom one is soliciting a letter about the granting of tenure
without promotion, it is important to specify that the candidate is being considered for
“indefinite tenure without change in rank.”
Additional Authorities. The letter to each external evaluator must include the following
required language concerning additional authorities:
The Provost of our campus requests that you provide, in addition to your own
comments about this case, the names of two or three other authorities who might
be consulted about it.
Confidentiality. The letter must also include a statement that the confidentiality of the
referee’s remarks will be protected to the extent possible within the law. The following
language is required:
The policy of the University of Illinois is to hold in confidence all letters of
evaluation from persons outside the institution. Only the committees and
administrative officers directly responsible for the decision of concern here will
have access to your letter. It will not be provided to the person on whom you
comment unless we are compelled by law to do so.
Procedure for Providing Information on Evaluators. The qualifications, including
academic ranks or titles and current affiliation, of all outside evaluators must be provided
in the promotion papers. The evaluators should be well known in the field; it is generally
not appropriate to ask the evaluator to provide a curriculum vitae along with his or her
letter of response. If the basis for evaluation is not indicated in the letter of evaluation,
please identify why the evaluator is writing the letter (i.e., in what way does the evaluator
know the nominee and his or her work) and report any direct relationship (e.g., post-
doctoral supervisor, co-investigator, or co-author) between the evaluator and the candidate.
To avoid non-response, departments may wish to request letters of evaluation as early as
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