Sample External Reviewers Solicitation Letters (APP 3-60 Resource)

Additional COVID-19 Language
Updated: October 7, 2021

The paragraph below is an example of text that AP and CAP suggest be included in a solicitation letter, either in the body of the letter or as a note below the Chair’s signature. If outside letters were already requested but not yet returned, Chairs are encouraged to send a short supplemental letter to outside reviewers with the information from this paragraph.

“During the pandemic, starting in March 2020, there have been major research disruptions and significant shifts in teaching modalities as well as challenges with dependent care that have impacted faculty productivity. We ask that you take these unprecedented events into consideration when evaluating work performed by the candidate.”

Open All | Close All

Sample: Promotion — Assistant Professor to Associate Professor

Download Word Version

Dear ________:

The Department of __________ at the University of California, Irvine, has under consideration the promotion of Dr._________ to the rank of Associate Professor, an advancement that carries with it tenure. In the University of California system, letters of evaluation from peers and from scholars outside the University are important parts of the review.

In considering the promotion to Associate Professor, the University evaluates the faculty member’s research performance during his/her entire service as Assistant Professor. I would therefore appreciate your assessment of Dr. _____________’s scholarly accomplishments in terms of the significance of the work and its overall contribution to the field, and your description of the main ideas, conclusions, or methods which are especially innovative. In particular, reviewers ask that you comment on his/her research progress as it bears on tenure in the University of California system (the quality and quantity).  Please specify the leading departments (with the most rigorous standards for scholarship) where scholars pursuing the same kinds of work as Dr._________are promoted.  In your judgment, does Dr. ________ meet the standards for promotion to a similar position in these departments?  Would you argue that you would support Professor ________ at your institution?    Please also compare Dr. ________’s record with the record of (a named cohort) of recently tenured candidates at leading departments.

In this regard, the University looks for “evidence of a productive and creative mind (and) that the candidate is continuously and effectively engaged in creative activity of high quality and significance.”[1] With respect to professional competence and activity, “the candidate’s professional activities should be scrutinized for evidence of achievement and leadership in the field and of demonstrated progressiveness in the development or utilization of new approaches and techniques for the solution of professional problems.”[2]

In providing the assessments, it is important that reviewers not only identify research and professional contributions, but also evaluate them. For example, it is helpful to compare a particular work to other similar work in the field; to compare the individual to other named individuals in the field; to comment on the influence of the work to the specific area of research; and to see potential national recognition likely to accrue as a result of the work. The more specific the analysis, the more helpful it will be to the committee.

For your convenience, I am enclosing a copy of Professor __________’s vita, a statement concerning his/her scholarly activities, and reprints of several major articles. We would greatly appreciate if it you could respond to this request at your earliest convenience.

Although the contents of your letter may be passed on to the candidate at prescribed stages of the review process, your identity will be held in confidence. The material made available will lack the letterhead, the signature block, and material below the latter. Therefore, material that would identify you, particularly your relationship to the candidate, should be placed below the signature block. In any legal proceeding or other situation in which the source of the confidential information is sought, the University does its utmost to protect the identity of such sources.
In advance, thank you very much for your assistance.

Sincerely yours,

Sample: Promotion — Assistant Professor to Associate Professor with modified language for family friendly policy

Download Word Version

Dear ________:

The Department of __________ at the University of California, Irvine, has under consideration the promotion of Dr._________ to the rank of Associate Professor, an advancement that carries with it tenure. In the University of California system, letters of evaluation from peers and from scholars outside the University are important parts of the review.

In considering the promotion to Associate Professor, the University evaluates the faculty member’s research performance during his/her entire service as Assistant Professor. I would therefore appreciate your assessment of Dr. _____________’s scholarly accomplishments in terms of the significance of the work and its overall contribution to the field, and your description of the main ideas, conclusions, or methods which are especially innovative. In particular, reviewers ask that you comment on his/her research progress as it bears on tenure in the University of California system (the quality and quantity).  Please specify the leading departments (with the most rigorous standards for scholarship) where scholars pursuing the same kinds of work as Dr. ________ are promoted.  In your judgment, does Dr. _______ meet the standards for promotion to a similar position in these departments?    Would you argue that you would support Professor             at your institution?    Please also compare Dr. ________’s record with the record of (a named cohort) of recently tenured candidates at leading departments.

For Dr. __ , a promotion action at this time is considered within normative time because s/he has been approved to extend the tenure clock in accordance with University of California Family Friendly policy for faculty with childrearing responsibilities.  In accordance with University of California policy, this requires that the dossiers of individuals who have been approved for such extensions be evaluated without prejudice as if the work were done in the normal period of service.

In this regard, the University looks for “evidence of a productive and creative mind (and) that the candidate is continuously and effectively engaged in creative activity of high quality and significance.”[1] With respect to professional competence and activity, “the candidate’s professional activities should be scrutinized for evidence of achievement and leadership in the field and of demonstrated progressiveness in the development or utilization of new approaches and techniques for the solution of professional problems.”[2]

In providing the assessments, it is important that reviewers not only identify research and professional contributions, but also evaluate them. For example, it is helpful to compare a particular work to other similar work in the field; to compare the individual to other named individuals in the field; to comment on the influence of the work to the specific area of research; and to see potential national recognition likely to accrue as a result of the work. The more specific the analysis, the more helpful it will be to the committee.

For your convenience, I am enclosing a copy of Professor __________’s vita, a statement concerning his/her scholarly activities, and reprints of several major articles. We would greatly appreciate if it you could respond to this request at your earliest convenience.
Although the contents of your letter may be passed on to the candidate at prescribed stages of the review process, your identity will be held in confidence. The material made available will lack the letterhead, the signature block, and material below the latter. Therefore, material that would identify you, particularly your relationship to the candidate, should be placed below the signature block. In any legal proceeding or other situation in which the source of the confidential information is sought, the University does its utmost to protect the identity of such sources.

In advance, thank you very much for your assistance.

Sincerely yours,

Sample: Promotion — Associate Professor to Professor

Download Word Version

Dear ______:

The Department of ___________ at the University of California, Irvine, is reviewing Dr.__________’s status and recent accomplishments in order to determine whether it would be appropriate to recommend him/her for promotion to the rank of Full Professor. It has been suggested that you could provide valuable assistance in the assessment of Dr._____________’s scholarship, and I am hopeful you will be willing to assist us in this process.

Dr.______________ is currently an Associate Professor with tenure. To offer insight into his/her work, I am enclosing a copy of his/her vita and copies of some recent publications and papers in press. If you are willing to evaluate him/her, we would need a detailed analysis of his/her work, the significance of his/her contributions, and an assessment of his/her relative standing in the field.  Please specify the leading departments (with the most rigorous standards for scholarship) where scholars pursuing the same kinds of work as Dr.__________  are promoted.  In your judgment, does Dr. ________ meet the standards for promotion to full professor to a similar position in these departments?  Would you argue that you would support Professor         at your institution?

I realize a request for your assistance constitutes an imposition. I would, however, like to assure you that opinions of outside scholars such as you carry critical weight in considerations about promotion in the University of California. If you are unable to provide an evaluation of the type requested, I would appreciate hearing from you at your earliest convenience. If you are willing to assist us in assessing the scholarly contributions of Dr. __________, we would like to receive your letter as quickly as possible, and no later than the first half of December. Should you need any additional information to assist you, please let me know.

Although the contents of your letter may be passed on to the candidate at prescribed stages of the review process, your identity will be held in confidence. The material made available will lack the letterhead, the signature block, and material below the latter. Therefore, material that would identify you, particularly your relationship to the candidate, should be placed below the signature block. In any legal proceeding or other situation in which the source of the confidential information is sought, the University does its utmost to protect the identity of such sources.

Sincerely yours,

Sample: Advancement to Step VI — Professor

Download Word Version

Dear ____________:

The Department of ___________ is reviewing Professor_______________’s status and recent accomplishments in order to determine whether it would be appropriate to recommend him/her for advancement from Professor, Step V, to Professor, Step VI. As you may know, advancement to Step VI is a special one in the University of California system. It requires careful written evaluations by professional colleagues and is granted only on evidence of great scholarly distinction and national or international recognition, highly meritorious service, and evidence of excellent University teaching.I hope that you will be willing to assist us in this process. To offer insight into Professor_________’s research, I am enclosing a copy of his/her vita and a sampling of recent publications and papers in press. If you are willing to evaluate him/her, we would need a detailed analysis of his/her work, your opinion of the significance of his/her contributions, and your assessment of his/her relative standing in the field.

Publications should reveal that the person is among the very best scholars in the field. Does Professor ________ show equivalent accomplishment to other senior colleagues who are setting the standards of excellence today? Is he/she one of those energetic and original scholars who is changing the standards and perspectives of his/her discipline? We would appreciate it if you could address each of these questions and compare Professor ___________’s accomplishments directly with those of other specific senior colleagues. The more detailed and documented your analysis, the more helpful it will be to us.

I realize a request for your assistance constitutes an imposition. I would, however, like to assure you that opinions of outside scholars such as you carry critical weight in considerations about promotion in the University of California. If you are unable to provide an evaluation of the type requested, I would appreciate hearing from you at your earliest convenience. If you are willing to assist us in assessing the scholarly contributions of Professor _____________, we would like to receive your letter as quickly as possible and no later than the first half of December. Should you need any additional information to assist you, please let me know.

Although the contents of your letter may be passed on to the candidate at prescribed stages of the review process, your identity will be held in confidence. The material made available will lack the letterhead, the signature block, and material below the latter. Therefore, material that would identify you, particularly your relationship to the candidate, should be placed below the signature block. In any legal proceeding or other situation in which the source of the confidential information is sought, the University does its utmost to protect the identity of such sources.

Given the campus-imposed time constraints, we would appreciate a letter within a month, sooner if possible. If you are prepared to write but need substantially longer than a month, or you cannot provide us with a letter of evaluation, please let me know as soon as convenient. If you need additional information or publications, please give me a call at (949) ________, and I will be delighted to provide them.

Thank you for your consideration of this request and, I hope, for your assistance.

Sincerely,

Sample: Advancement to Above Scale — Professor

Download Word Version

Dear ____________:

The Department of __________ is considering recommending Dr. ____________ for advancement to Professor, Above Scale, the highest professorial rank in the University of California system. This designation is reserved for scholars of the highest distinction whose work is internationally recognized and acclaimed. We would greatly appreciate your evaluation of Dr. _____________’s scientific work and his/her position in the field of _____________. It would be helpful if you would compare him/her with other scientists and scholars of comparable stature.

While we are interested in your view of his/her scholarship as a whole, we are particularly interested in your evaluation of his/her work over the past three to five years. To aid you in this evaluation, I have enclosed a copy of Dr. _________’s curriculum vitae as well as several of his/her most recent publications.

Although the contents of your letter may be passed on to the candidate at prescribed stages of the review process, your identity will be held in confidence. The material made available will lack the letterhead, the signature block, and material below the latter. Therefore, material that would identify you, particularly your relationship to the candidate, should be placed below the signature block. In any legal proceeding or other situation in which the source of the confidential information is sought, the University does its utmost to protect the identity of such sources.

I would like to thank you on behalf of the Department of _____________ for your assistance. I realize that this is an imposition on you, but the opinions of distinguished outside scholars weigh heavily in consideration of personnel actions at the University of California. As an authority in the field, your opinions will enter significantly in the university’s deliberations on this case. If you would like additional information, please feel free to call me at (949) ____________.

Cordially,

Sample: Promotion — Assistant Professor of Teaching to Associate Professor of Teaching

Download Word Version

Revised Extensively on 8/29/22 to be consistent with family/pandemic/medical leave language in Professor Series.

Dear __________:

The Department of ______ at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), is considering Professor_______ ______ for a promotion from Assistant Professor of Teaching to the rank of Associate Professor of Teaching. Appointees in the Professor of Teaching series are members of the Academic Senate and upon evidence of meritorious achievement in teaching, research/creative activity, and service, they may be awarded Security of Employment (the equivalent of tenure). For promotion to Associate Professor of Teaching, UCI requires letters of evaluation from experts in the field.

In considering the promotion to Associate Professor of Teaching, the University evaluates the faculty member’s performance during their entire service as Assistant Professor of Teaching. As you are making your assessments of quantity, please note that the eight year limit can differ for candidates for a variety of reasons. We are most interested in your evaluation of whether the volume, quality, and impact of work warrants promotion. We do not evaluate the annualized rate at which work was produced.

I am writing to ask if you are willing to assist by writing a letter assessing Professor _________ achievements in teaching, research/creative activity and service. I am attaching Professor ____ CV and materials documenting their contributions to teaching, research/creative activity, and service. I would like to receive your letter no later than Month Day, year, which will allow us sufficient time to meet our internal review deadlines. I realize this request impacts your valuable time and I assure you that opinions of outside scholars such as yourself carry critical weight in considerations for promotion at the University of California.

Promotion to Associate Professor of Teaching at UCI requires contributions in the three major review areas, 1) teaching, 2) research/creative activity, and 3) service with the expected effort in each area outlined below. We have also included the School Expectations Guidance for Merit and Promotion in the Professor of Teaching series.

We ask that your letter address the following issues:

  1. Teaching (XX% effort) [Please insert the percent distribution in each section below based on the Professor of Teaching guidelines established in your school]: What is the evidence that Professor XX is making effective and innovative contributions to the undergraduate and/or graduate academic program in the Department of ________? Please provide specific comments on the candidate’s performance as a teacher (e.g. evidence of effectiveness in the classroom, mentorship, creativity, innovative use of technology, course or curriculum design, assessment strategies, evidence of the use of inclusive pedagogy, etc). Commenting on any additional items such as teaching awards would also be helpful.
  2. Research/Creative Activity (XX% effort): What is the evidence that the candidate has made outstanding and recognized research or creative contributions in their discipline and/or to pedagogy? Evidence of impact beyond the university can include but is not limited to journal publications, books, presentations at national meetings, performing in performances, design for concerts, video creation, or other creative activities, grants to support teaching innovation, and development of training programs.
  3. Service (XX % effort): What is the evidence that the candidate has made appropriate contributions to departmental and university governance and/or contributed service to the profession and the broader community outside of the university? Please also comment on their contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion. In addition, we would appreciate receiving any comments regarding their leadership and level of commitment required for a particular service role.

Finally, it would be particularly helpful if you could comment on whether the candidate would likely be given this promotion at your institution.

Although the contents of your letter may be passed on to the candidate at prescribed stages of the review process, your identity will be held in confidence. The material made available to the candidate will lack the letterhead, the signature block, and any material below the signature block. Therefore, any information that would identify you, particularly your relationship to the candidate, should be placed below the signature block. In any legal proceeding or other situation in which the source of confidential information might be sought, the University does its utmost to protect the identity of sources.

Should you need additional information to help you evaluate Professor ________, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you, once again, for your valuable assistance.

Sincerely,

Sample: Promotion — Associate Professor of Teaching to Professor of Teaching

Download Word Version

Revised Extensively on 8/29/22 to be consistent with family/pandemic/medical leave language in Professor Series.

Dear __________:

The Department of ______ at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), is considering Professor_______ ______ for a promotion from Associate Professor of Teaching to the rank of Professor of Teaching. This designation is awarded to faculty who have had a large impact on the educational mission of the university and whose scholarly work in the discipline and/or pedagogy is well recognized and impactful beyond the university. Promotion to Professor of Teaching at UCI requires letters of evaluation from experts in the field.

In considering the promotion to Professor of Teaching, the University evaluates the faculty member’s performance during their entire service as Associate Professor of Teaching. As you are making your assessments of quantity, please note that the time at rank can differ for candidates for a variety of reasons. We are most interested in your evaluation of whether the volume, quality, and impact of work warrants promotion. We do not evaluate the annualized rate at which the work was produced.

I am writing to ask if you are willing to assist by writing a letter assessing Professor _________ achievements in teaching, research/creative activity and service. I am attaching Professor ____ CV and materials documenting their contributions to teaching, research/creative activity, and service. I would like to receive your letter no later than Month Day, year, which will allow us sufficient time to meet our internal review deadlines. I realize this request impacts your valuable time and I assure you that opinions of outside scholars such as yourself carry critical weight in considerations for promotion at the University of California.

Promotion to Professor of Teaching at UCI requires contributions in the three major review areas, 1) teaching, 2) research/creative activity, and 3) service with the expected effort in each area outlined below. We have also included the School Expectations Guidance for Merit and Promotion in the Professor of Teaching series.

We ask that your letter address the following issues:

  1. Teaching (XX% effort) [Please insert the percent distribution in each section below based on the Professor of Teaching guidelines established in your school]: What is the evidence that Professor XX is making effective and innovative contributions to the undergraduate and/or graduate academic program in the Department of ___________? Please provide specific comments on the candidate’s performance as a teacher (e.g. evidence of effectiveness in the classroom, mentorship, creativity, innovative use of technology, course or curriculum design, assessment strategies, evidence of the use of inclusive pedagogy, etc). Commenting on any additional items such as teaching awards would also be helpful.
  2. Research/Creative Activity (XX% effort): What is the evidence that the candidate has made outstanding and recognized research or creative contributions in their discipline and/or to pedagogy? Evidence of impact beyond the university can include but is not limited to journal publications, books, presentations at national meetings, performing in performances, design for concerts, video creation, or other creative activities, grants to support teaching innovation, and development of training programs.
  3. Service (XX % effort): What is the evidence that the candidate has made appropriate contributions to departmental and university governance and/or contributed service to the profession and the broader community outside of the university? Please also comment on their contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion. In addition, we would appreciate receiving any comments regarding their leadership and level of commitment required for a particular service role.

Finally, it would be particularly helpful if you could comment on whether the candidate would likely be given this promotion at your institution.

Although the contents of your letter may be passed on to the candidate at prescribed stages of the review process, your identity will be held in confidence. The material made available to the candidate will lack the letterhead, the signature block, and any material below the signature block. Therefore, any information that would identify you, particularly your relationship to the candidate, should be placed below the signature block. In any legal proceeding or other situation in which the source of confidential information might be sought, the University does its utmost to protect the identity of sources.

Should you need additional information to help you evaluate Professor ________, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you, once again, for your valuable assistance.

Sincerely,

Sample: Advancement to Professor of Teaching, Above Scale

Download Word Version

Revised Extensively on 8/29/22 to be consistent with family/pandemic/medical leave language in Professor Series.

Dear __________:

The Department of ______ at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), is considering Professor_______ ______ for an advancement from Professor of Teaching to Professor of Teaching, Above-Scale. This designation is reserved for teacher-scholars of the highest distinction, whose work is nationally and internationally recognized. At UCI, Advancement to Professor of Teaching, Above-Scale, requires letters of evaluation from experts in the field.

In considering the advancement to Professor of Teaching, Above-Scale, the University evaluates the faculty member’s performance during their last three to five years. As you are making your assessments of quantity, please note that the time for advancement to Professor, Above-Scale, can differ for candidates for a variety of reasons. We are most interested in your evaluation of whether the volume, quality, and impact of work warrants the advancement. We do not evaluate the annualized rate at which the work was produced.

I am writing to ask if you are willing to assist by writing a letter assessing Professor _________ achievements in teaching, research/creative activity and service. I am attaching Professor ________ CV and materials documenting their contributions to teaching, research/creative activity, and service. I would like to receive your letter no later than Month Day, year, which will allow us sufficient time to meet our internal review deadlines. I realize this request impacts your valuable time and I assure you that opinions of outside scholars such as yourself carry critical weight in considerations for advancement at the University of California.

Advancement to Professor of Teaching, Above-Scale, at UCI requires contributions in the three major review areas, 1) teaching, 2) research/creative activity, and 3) service with the expected effort in each area outlined below. We have also included the School Expectations Guidance for Merit and Promotion in the Professor of Teaching series.

We ask that your letter address the following issues:

  1. Teaching (XX% effort) [Please insert the percent distribution in each section below based on the Professor of Teaching guidelines established in your school]: What is the evidence that Professor _________ is making effective and innovative contributions to the undergraduate and/or graduate academic program in the Department of ___________? Please provide specific comments on the candidate’s performance as a teacher (e.g. evidence of effectiveness in the classroom, mentorship, creativity, innovative use of technology, course or curriculum design, assessment strategies, evidence of the use of inclusive pedagogy, etc). Commenting on any additional items such as teaching awards would also be helpful.
  2. Research/Creative Activity (XX% effort): What is the evidence that the candidate has made outstanding and recognized research or creative contributions in their discipline and/or to pedagogy? Evidence of impact beyond the university can include but is not limited to journal publications, books, presentations at national meetings, performing in performances, design for concerts, video creation, or other creative activities, grants to support teaching innovation, and development of training programs.
  3. Service (XX % effort): What is the evidence that the candidate has made appropriate contributions to departmental and university governance and/or contributed service to the profession and the broader community outside of the university? Please also comment on their contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion. In addition, we would appreciate receiving any comments regarding their leadership and level of commitment required for a particular service role.

Finally, it would be particularly helpful if you could comment on whether the candidate would likely be given this advancement at your institution.

Although the contents of your letter may be passed on to the candidate at prescribed stages of the review process, your identity will be held in confidence. The material made available to the candidate will lack the letterhead, the signature block, and any material below the signature block. Therefore, any information that would identify you, particularly your relationship to the candidate, should be placed below the signature block. In any legal proceeding or other situation in which the source of confidential information might be sought, the University does its utmost to protect the identity of sources.

Should you need additional information to help you evaluate Professor ________, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you, once again, for your valuable assistance.

Sincerely,

Additional Sample Wording for Solicitation Letters

Download Word Version

PROFESSOR, STEP VI
This department is considering John Jones for advancement to Professor, Step VI, and effective July 1, 2009. The department will appreciate it if you will assist us by providing a frank assessment of the significance of Professor Jones’ research and of his professional standing. Do you feel that his accomplishments warrant advancement at this time?

Advancement to Step VI involves a career review. It requires evidence of highly distinguished scholarship, highly meritorious service, and evidence of excellent University teaching; in addition, great distinction, recognized nationally or internationally, in scholarly or creative achievement or in teaching is required.

The University of California divides the rank of Professor into nine steps. Steps VI, VII, VIII, IX – and the rank of Professor, Above-Scale — reward excellence beyond that needed to become full Professor.

PROFESSOR, ABOVE-SCALE
This department is considering John Jones for advancement to Professor, Above-Scale, effective July 1, 2009. Advancement to Professor, Above-Scale, is reserved for scholars and teachers of the highest distinction, whose work has been internationally recognized and acclaimed and whose teaching performance is excellent. The University of California divides the rank of full Professor into nine steps. The most distinguished rank of Professor, Above-Scale, rewards excellence beyond that needed to become Professor, Step IX.

We will appreciate it if you will assist us by providing a frank assessment of the significance of Dr. Jones’ research and of his professional standing. Do you feel that his accomplishments warrant advancement at this time?

Open All | Close All

Comments are closed.