External reviewers for tenure

USF is now asking faculty going up for tenure and promotion to submit names of potential reviewers to their chairs earlier than in the past. If you are up for tenure or promotion in the fall, you should begin your research into potential reviewers now, and look for a members-only tenure workshop or external-reviewers mini-workshop announcement in the next week. The following information is included in the workshop, but the tenure workshop includes a great deal more about the identification of external reviewers.

The USF tenure and promotion guidelines say that faculty and their chairs can both suggest external reviewers, and they should jointly select external reviewers. If there is disagreement, each gets to select half.

If faculty present a credible list of potential reviewers to their chairs, they make the chair’s job easier and give faculty the best opportunity to have input on the selection of external reviewers. A credible list includes at least 6-8 potential reviewers with the following information for each:

  • Name
  • Current affiliation and rank
  • Any notable professional society offices held or awards won
  • Current contact information (e-mail)
  • A brief description of why this individual would be a good reviewer
  • An explicit statement addressing any potential conflicts or an explicit statement that there is no potential conflict (e.g., “My primary contact with Peter Schickele was at the last three P.D.Q. Retrospaetzle Symposia, and he was the chair on one 2007 panel where I presented ‘The Lost Manuscript of “Three Hands Viola and the Half-Blood Piccolo.”‘”).

Below is the language from the 1998 T&P guidelines:

The department chair ordinarily will include in the tenure and promotion packet a minimum of three letters (but not exceeding six from external reviewers who are expert in the individual’s field or a related scholarly field. The candidate and the department chair will suggest external reviewers. The department Tenure and Promotion Committee may also suggest external reviewers. These reviewers should have no significant relationship to the candidate (e.g., major professor, co-author), unless there are mitigating circumstances hat would indicate otherwise (e.g., to review scholarship so specialized that few expert reviewers exist). The chair and the candidate will jointly select the reviewers. In the event of disagreement each party will elect one-half the number of qualified reviewers to be utilized. Letters from external reviewers should be in the candidate’s file prior to the final recommendations by the Tenure and Promotion Committee. All solicited letters which are received must be included in the candidate’s file.


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