External Letters for Appointment, Advancement and Promotion

Changes Enacted for the 2019-2020 Academic Year


  1. Number of Required Letters
    CAP/AP’s new recommendation is 4-5 (instead of 5-7) analytic letters for Appointment, Advancement to Above-Scale, or Promotion to Associate or Full Professor/Clinical X/ In Residence, or equivalent positions (including Professor of Teaching series). At least three letters must be department-nominated and non-conflicted. With this reduced number, exceptions to this requirement will be virtually non-existent.
  2. “Non-Conflicted” is replacing “Independent” external letters
    To reduce confusion over the meaning of “Independent” letters, CAP/AP will instead use “Non-Conflicted” to clarify it is an evaluation of specific conflicts, not a department’s view of the independent nature of the review.
  3. New Format for UC-AP-11
    Please check the box to note a Conflict and explicitly describe referee-candidate relationships (conflicted or not) on UC-AP-11. Conflicts might include:

    • Advisor/Mentor at any level (lifelong conflict).
    • Substantive collaboration in the last 4 years:
      • Substantive collaboration includes past or pending grant collaboration, co-authorship.
      • Team Science co-authorship, grant funding, or editorial work on candidate publications are not conflicted if the department explains the incidental or minor nature of the relationship.
    • Close personal or familial relationship.
    • Current faculty/staff at UCI.
    • Direct financial relationship.

A non-conflicted letter still requires explanation of the writer’s relationship to the candidate. This information helps CAP/AP weigh the evaluator’s perspective. For example, being close graduate school friends or previous department colleagues is not a conflict, but is important contextual information. Other examples of non-conflicted relationships might include serving together on an editorial board, committee, or conference panel.

Clarifications and Reminders


Letters are NOT required for advancement to Professor Step VI

    • Candidate has the right to request that the Chair solicit external evaluation letters. If the request is denied, the candidate can note this in their file.
    • CAP may request letters if they feel it is necessary to make a decision.

Letters are NOT required for acceleration:

    • Campus level review information is typically sufficient for evaluation of cases for acceleration.

Preparation of reviewer lists:

    • Candidate list: Prepared by candidate.
    • Department list: Prepared by Department without consulting candidate list.
    • Overlapping names on both lists are designated “Department list.”

Appointment to Assistant Professor (including Assistant Professor of Teaching), Assistant Professor of Clinical X, Assistant Professor In Residence, or equivalent positions:

    • Minimum number of letters required: 3 analytical/evaluative letters.
    • Requested by: Chair from applicant list or directly by applicant.
    • Letter writers: Do NOT have to be non-conflicted. Generally they come from graduate advisors, postdoc advisors, collaborators.



The following APP sections and AP form have been updated to reflect the changes to the external letter guidelines:

  • APP 3-20, Appointment File Documentation,
  • APP 3-60, Merit and Promotion File Documentation for Academic Titles,
  • UC-AP-11 form Identification and Qualifications of External Referees

Should you have any questions, please direct them to your assigned Academic Personnel Analyst.

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