External Review for Promotion and Tenure · 77
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Appendix 1
Identifying and Contacting External Reviewers
June 8, 2004
Start immediately, particularly if you have several candidates up for promotion and tenure. Other than writing the
reports, this may be the most difficult part of the whole process.
Committees of whole chairs are encouraged to meet and work together to identify individuals to contact as potential
external reviewers.
You should find two reviewers from outside the University of Tennessee who are librarians at comparable institutions
(where librarians have faculty status or the equivalent). The reviewers should generally work in a similar field, as they will
be asked to assess the quality and importance of the candidate's scholarship and contributions to the profession. In the
case of promotion, reviewers should be at the rank or above that to which the candidate has applied. In the case of tenure
the reviewer must be tenured and at a rank equal to or higher than the candidate. It is acceptable if they know the
candidate, but they should not be former teachers, students, or UT faculty. (Manual for Faculty Evaluation).
There are several strategies to employ to help identify potential external reviewers, including searching academic library
websites, searching the literature of the field, and most effective of all, consulting with colleagues for recommendations.
Send an email inquiry to the individual, following a form similar to the sample below. Be sure to give the individual a
(short) deadline for a response to your email, so that you can move on quickly. Telephone contact is also acceptable.
As part of our promotion and tenure process, the chairs of the faculty review committees at the University of Tennessee
Libraries are in the process of identifying librarians at other academic institutions who would be willing to act as external
reviewers. We have identified you, as someone who works in a field similar to the candidate and is potentially qualified as
an outside reviewer. This email is an initial inquiry to see if you may be willing to serve as an external review for (Jane
Doe) who is being reviewed for (promotion to the rank of Professor). We would appreciate an immediate reply to let us
know if you will be able to work with us.
Ideally external reviewers should hold faculty rank equivalent to that being considered and be tenured at an institution
comparable to the University of Tennessee. {You could add a specific statement here regarding the rank equivalency for
each person, i.e. "In order to be a reviewer for Jane Doe you will need to be a tenured full professor or the equivalent."}
Should you consent to serve as a reviewer, you will receive a formal letter of request for an evaluation from our Dean. You
will also be provided with a copy of our criteria and selected documents from the candidate's portfolio, including the vita, a
narrative statement, and three selections of original work. The Dean will ask that you provide an evaluation of the
candidate's professional work and service. She will also ask for your curriculum vita.
We are aware of the time this service requires and we assure you that input from professionals like you is vital to our
decision-making process. You should be aware that the State of Tennessee has a Freedom of Information Law. Because of
that law, we are unable to guarantee that the candidate will not request to see your letter.
We would appreciate your reply to this email no later than (select a date and time depending on when you send out the
email). Should you agree to serve as a reviewer, you should receive communication from (insert name), Dean of Libraries
at the University of Tennessee early in September. (Date) has been identified as our deadline for return of evaluations
from external reviewers.
(Your name and rank)
Be prepared to deal with negative responses or no response at all. If you do not hear back by your deadline then move
on and contact the next person on your list. If you are using the telephone to make contacts and end up playing phone
tag, then use email. You want to try to get these reviewers lined up as quickly as possible, so that they have plenty of
time to receive and read documents, and complete the evaluations.
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