Administrative Guidelines

February 25, 1997
Revised June 2008

Preparing Promotion and Tenure Dossiers[[In case of any divergence from or conflict with "The University of Georgia Guidelines for Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure," the official "Guidelines" shall prevail.]]

  1. The department head or appropriate dean or director should take responsibility for the dossier forwarded from her or his unit. The cover letter in the dossier states the promotion unit's position on the promotion. While the faculty member under review is responsible for presenting information to compose the file, essentially it is the department (or school) that is forwarding the recommendation for promotion. That unit executive officer, therefore, is the individual who organizes, prepares narrative, and presents the file to the next level for review. The one exception is that when the executive officer cannot support a promotion recommendation made by the faculty then some other faculty member should prepare the documentation. Under no circumstances should a person recommended for promotion prepare any portion of a narrative which is valuative of teaching, research, or service.

  2. The promotion head should include in the cover letter her or his overall evaluation of the quality of the candidate's contributions to the promotion unit, University, state, and discipline. The letter should provide a sense of the role played by a faculty member when there are joint publications. The evaluation should be explicit on why promotion or tenure is warranted. If the letter is prepared by a faculty member because the promotion unit head voted negatively on the candidate, the same instructions apply.

  3. The dossier should be officially transmitted from the promotion unit by the promotion unit head in a letter which is separate from but attached to the dossier. This letter of transmittal should indicate the position of the promotion unit head on the candidate. In the event that the faculty vote is positive and the promotion unit head recommendation is negative, this evaluation should be included in the transmittal letter.

  4. Seeking external letters of evaluation is critical to the process and it is important that those individuals sought to serve in that capacity are nationally recognized leaders in their respective fields. No full evaluation of the faculty for or against promotion should be taken unless all information is available and, in particular, until external referees' evaluations are available. These letters are sought to help in the evaluation, not to affirm a past vote. Because these letters are important, the faculty member under review should have the opportunity to nominate individuals who can serve as referees. It is equally important that the promotion unit head, or unit evaluation committee, generate a list of recognized experts. Of the minimum of four referees, at least two should have been nominated by the faculty member and at least two should have been selected by the unit. Under no circumstances should letters requesting evaluations from external referees be solicited by the person being evaluated. This is appropriately the responsibility of the unit head or his/her designee. Referees nominated, respectively, by the candidate and the unit should be so marked. Unsolicited letters should not be included in the file.

  5. Letters requesting an evaluation should specifically ask for an evaluation of the impact or quality of the work (see Guidelines), for it is an important element of a promotion or tenure dossier. A review for promotion or tenure is not a review for personal competence: that can be presumed. Rather, the review is designed to determine whether the quality of a person's scholarship is at a level sufficient to warrant promotion and/or tenure at a research University having national eminence. One way to obtain an evaluation is to send copies of reprints or related material with the specific request that the quality of the work be evaluated for its theoretical or empirical impact. It is unnecessary to have all works evaluated, though it is important that the best works (perhaps as judged by the faculty member) be selected for analysis. This will diminish general commentary such as "X is a good researcher as judged by the number of publications" or "I've known X for many years and believe that X's work is of good quality" or "X has made important contributions to the field." Comments of that kind are of little value to the candidate. Descriptions of the quality and impact of the work should be specific enough to reflect a genuine assessment and an analysis of impact. Include a sample letter of solicitation of external references in the dossier.

  6. The narrative provided by the promotion unit head (or designated faculty member) in each of the three areas evaluated (research, teaching, service) should be specific enough in examples of quality work (not exhaustive) to reflect a clear evaluation. Two principal areas for which a person is being promoted (or tenured) should be clearly indentified. The two responsibility areas are those that were expected when the candidate was hired. Summary data are to be employed only as they support the narrative. If the external letters do not give clearly high marks to the quality of the faculty member's work, and if there is a recommendation for promotion anyway, the narrative should account for the discrepancy. The narrative should address what might be seen as weaknesses in the dossier. Review committees do attend to these letters and if they are, at best, of modest praise, questions about the wisdom of promotion will, and should, be raised. Failure to deal with external judgments that a faculty member's work does not have a significant quality impact can work against the promotion of a person who might well be doing exceedingly high quality work.

  7. It is unnecessary to load a file with details. For example, it is unnecessary to include all individual teaching rating forms or all individual comments from students in the dossier. The narrative on teaching should summarize the information succinctly (a table including the average ratings across courses is sufficient -- the raw data need not be included). Similarly, there is no need to include in forwarded dossiers copies of reprints, books, manuals, testimonials, newspaper articles, etc. That the information is available in the promotion unit for reference is sufficient. The candidate should attach as exhibits documentation of the five most important achievements. These five items are forwarded with the dossier to the school/college level and do not go beyond the school/college level. In addition, the dossier of a candidate recommended for professor must document the impact of the individual's work through, for example, evidence of critical response, adoption of technology by the discipline area, or citations.

  8. Recommendation for promotion and recommendation for tenure are separate recommendations and require separate votes. Although different cover letters are required, the same procedures and materials can be used for each activity. Dossiers for candidates for tenure who are not also candidates for promotion can include past letters of evaluation used for promotion or appointment if they have been obtained within the last two years. Otherwise, new letters are advisable.

  9. As an effort to produce a more uniform reporting procedure, particularly as it affects publications, the curriculum vitae should be prepared in the following outline form and included in the dossier in the section indicated in the Guidelines for preparing both the promotion and tenure dossiers:

    1. Academic history

      • Name
      • Present rank, recommended rank, proportion time assignments
      • Tenure status
      • Administrative title (if any)
      • Graduate Faculty status
      • Highest degree, the institution, the date
      • List of academic positions in chronological order with titles and inclusive dates
      • Other professional employment (current and previous), dates
      • Post-graduate awards (fellowships, lectureships, etc.)
    2. Resident instruction and continuing education Narrative summary of facts (e.g., courses of instruction, enrollments, academic advising, etc.)

    3. Scholarly activities

      1. Publications (include all categories listed below; if there are no entries for a particular category, state "none"; indicate number of pages for books or chapters)

        • Books authored or co-authored (in print or accepted) distinguish original editions and revisions
        • Books edited and co-edited (in print or accepted) distinguish original editions and revisions
        • Chapters in books (in print or accepted)
        • Monographs (longer than articles, in print or accepted)
        • Journal articles (in print or accepted)
        • Bulletins or reports (in print or accepted)
        • Abstracts (in print or accepted)
        • Book reviews (in print or accepted)
        • Works submitted but not yet accepted
        • Any other (e.g., popular articles)

        Note: mark with an asterisk those publications which have gone through stringent editorial review; mark with a double asterisk those publications which were invited and which carry prestige and recognition

      2. Creative contributions other than formal publications
      3. Grants received (dates, amounts, principal investigator or co-principal investigator)
      4. Recognitions and outstanding achievements (prizes, fellowships, etc.)
      5. Areas in which research is done
      6. Supervision of student research (including number of theses and dissertations supervised)
      7. Editorship or editorial board member of journals or other learned publications
      8. Convention papers

        Note: mark with an asterisk those which have a published counterpart; mark with a double asterisk those papers which were especially invited {i.e., keynote papers}.

    4. Public service Public services performed:

      • extension,
      • international programs,
      • local community services and relations, and
      • to governmental and nongovernmental agencies
    5. Other services. This would include, for example, service on departmental, college, or University committees and special administrative assignments; service to student groups and organizations and to support units such as libraries, computing services and health services

    Each of the above categories should have a heading entry and, as will be the case, if there are no entries to be made in the categories, enter "none." This will assure that each category is attended to and that there is a common mode of presenting information. 

  10. All dossiers should include a copy of the original letter of offer and a statement of any approved changes in assignment. In addition, a copy of the letter providing a thorough intra-departmental review during the third year of residence should be included in dossiers recommending promotion to associate professor. This material will provide a broader context in which to evaluate the dossiers.