The required contents for promotion and continuing appointment request files include Items 1 through 16, with additional items added as the file is reviewed at each level. The entire file should exist as one original hard copy and an entirely electronic copy.
It is the responsibility of those charged with assembling the dossier to ensure that all relevant data and statements are included and presented in an organized, clear fashion in the order listed below.
A checklist is provided in Appendix C to ensure that all necessary documentation is included. The candidate must be provided with a copy before the file is started.
See Appendix E for the required template.
The document register provides a record of the file's assembly. It's started when the preparation of the file begins, and each document should be recorded on the register as it is received and placed in the dossier.
Each document in the dossier must be numbered and correspond to the document register. Each subsequent university officer having custody of the file is responsible for keeping the register up-to-date.
Confidential letters of evaluation should be listed on the document register only by a number, date and type of document (for example: "Letter of Evaluation #1, dated 7/1/18"). Each confidential document should be numbered in the upper right-hand corner to agree with the document number reported on the document register.
See Appendix F for the required template. The document register must conform to that format in order to avoid controversy and contradictions concerning the contents of the file.
At each level of review, the Summary of Action form must be signed and dated.
The original Summary of Action Form stays with the original copy of the dossier as it moves along to each level of review.
See Appendix G for the required template.
An up-to-date CV is one of the most critical elements of the file. It must be prepared carefully and with attention to detail. The completed CV also must be dated and signed by the candidate.
See Appendix H for the recommended template. To facilitate the review of the file, candidates are strongly urged to prepare their CV using this format, as it contains all the required elements that review committees will be looking for.
The CV should:
- include work under review, work in progress or working papers under a different heading from published work. Work that has been accepted but has not yet appeared in print can be included under the heading of published work.
- list peer-reviewed / refereed publications separately from publications in non-refereed outlets.
- be accompanied by documentation of papers accepted, invitations to revise and resubmit, and letters from publishers about book contracts or interest from a press.
- list papers delivered (or abstracts of such papers), doctoral dissertations and articles in intramural or strictly local publications in a separate category from published work.
- include complete references for publications, art exhibitions, musical compositions, etc. Full bibliographic information is required, including names of co-authors, page numbers, titles of journals in full and dates.
- indicate student and post-doc co-authors.
- clearly indicate the order of co-authorship and indicate senior authorship where appropriate.
- specify the source, dates and amount of support for external funding.
- identify the candidate’s doctoral supervisor, thesis title and, where applicable, the postdoctoral mentor.
Item 4a: Candidate’s description of individual role and contribution for co-authored work (if applicable)
In instances where a substantial amount of the published work is co-authored, the candidate may choose to include a document here that explains their role and contributions on co-authored works. This description may be supported by solicited letters from the candidate's collaborators.
In addition to, or instead of this document, the nature of the candidate’s role and contributions may also be detailed in letters solicited from collaborators and co-authors. See the "Contents of the File" page for more details on "Additional Solicited Letters."
The department should request from Human Resources an Employment History for the candidate, which will indicate the candidate’s appointment status, including periods of time on leave or in qualified rank, during their UAlbany employment.
The department should request from Institutional Research information about what courses were taught each semester and the enrollment in each.
The candidate should prepare separate, concise statements related to research, teaching and service. Specific guidance for each statement appears below. Candidates may also wish to consult the Guidelines for Writing Research, Teaching and Service Statements.
In the research statement, the candidate should summarize the major research questions and/or themes with which they are concerned, and explain the contributions that their work has made in advancing knowledge in those areas.
In addition, the candidate should describe the major methodological approaches they use in research. The statement should clearly illustrate the growth and progression of a body of research that contributes to knowledge in an area, and should not merely be a description of projects or publications. The statement should provide the reader with an understanding of how knowledge in the field has changed or been enhanced by the candidate’s work.
The research statement should:
- be no longer than three to five pages.
- not primarily be a description of various publications.
- be understandable by colleagues in different disciplines. The statement should avoid jargon and highly specialized vocabulary, provide brief definitions or explanations of specific concepts, and allow non-specialists to understand the candidate’s contribution to scholarship in one or more disciplines.
- include both past contributions to a discipline and future directions.
- explain the contributions that the candidate’s work has made to one or more disciplines.
In the teaching statement, the candidate should explain their teaching philosophy and pedagogical approach — at both the undergraduate and graduate levels of the curriculum, as appropriate to the candidate’s unit. The candidate should describe their objectives and strengths related to teaching.
In addition the candidate should describe their involvement in mentoring and advising activities, as well as any involvement in curriculum development and professional development in the form of faculty development workshops focused on teaching or specific pedagogical techniques / issues.
The teaching statement should:
- be no longer than one to three pages.
- not primarily be a list of courses taught, as this information is contained in the CV and candidate’s employment history.
- describe specific classroom teaching strategies and course design, including why the candidate has made those choices.
- describe contributions outside the classroom (for example: mentoring, advisement and curriculum development) and how they enhance student learning.
- include plans for the future related to teaching and curriculum development.
In the service statement, the candidate should describe their involvement in the university at all levels, as well as professional and relevant community service. The candidate should explain their objectives and motivations behind various types of service, and the value of service within the candidate’s professional activities.
Service to the institution (department, school/college or university) typically involves committee service and may also include distinctive contributions on behalf of core functional areas (for example: statistical consulting; mentoring special student groups; contributions to the development of new policies or services to enhance university efficiency, effectiveness or excellence; generation of reports of recommendations upon request by university leadership, etc.).
Service to the profession includes activities such as journal article reviews, journal editorships, leadership of conferences, invited presentations, active involvement and leadership in professional societies and organizations, and production of texts, other publications and media products which are widely used tools that contribute to a profession's collective effort aimed at research and education.
Service to the community includes activities related to the candidate’s areas of expertise such as consultantships (both paid and pro bono), presentation of testimony and leadership involvement in community groups whose interests are related to the candidate's field of expertise.
The service statement should:
- be no longer than one to three pages.
- not primarily be a listing of service completed, as this information is available in the CV.
- describe the candidate’s specific contributions to department, university, profession and community in the performance of service activities.
- describe any service to practice settings (for example: educational institutions, non-profit agencies, government, the private sector), if relevant.
- include future plans related to service.
Solicited letters from external reviewers asked to evaluate the candidate’s scholarly contributions are an essential part of the review process, as well as an important element in the documentation of attainments in scholarship and creative work. Strict attention must be paid to the following important information regarding the selection of external reviewers.
To provide a full and fair basis for judgment, each file must contain a minimum of four letters from qualified objective reviewers. However, it is highly recommended that at least six such letters are included in the file, in case there is any question about the suitability of certain reviewers at any level of review.
An individual may not serve as an external reviewer if someone could reasonably perceive that they has a potential bias (meaning their objectivity may be compromised) or a conflict of interest (meaning the reviewer has an identifiable interest in whether the candidate is tenured or promoted). Persons who have had a close relationship to the candidate — such as former colleagues, research collaborators, current or former students, mentors, thesis or postdoctoral advisors, or co-authors — should not serve as external evaluators. Additional guidance as to the determination of potential bias and/or conflict of interest is available in Appendix I.
The candidate must NOT be involved in selecting external reviewers, and cannot be shown a list of potential reviewers. However, prior to the selection of reviewers, the candidate may identify potential referees who, for personal reasons, ought not to be consulted. External reviewers may be eliminated from consideration for reasons such as a history of conflict with the candidate, a disciplinary controversy placing the reviewer in an opposing ‘camp,’ a close professional or personal relationship to the candidate, or any other circumstance that might result in undue bias for or against the candidate.
It is recommended that department Chairs, Deans or the Chairs of ad hoc departmental review committees make initial contact with potential reviewers by telephone and/or email and secure their consent to serve before an official letter of solicitation is sent. This also provides an opportunity to confirm that the reviewer does not have a prior professional association with the candidate that would compromise their ability to provide an independent assessment. Such conversations should not be used to coach or intentionally persuade the external reviewer toward a specific evaluation.
Following initial contact with a reviewer, a formal letter of solicitation should be sent, accompanied by the candidate’s CV; research, teaching and service statements; copies of the scholarship or creative work to be evaluated; and departmental criteria for promotion and tenure. Departments have leeway in determining what and how much work the packet will contain (meaning reviewers might be sent copies of all the candidate’s publication or simply a subset), and this decision should be made in consultation with the candidate.
All external reviewers should receive identical sets of materials for review, as well as identical solicitation letters. Solicitation should be undertaken at the earliest reasonable time to ensure a timely review of the dossier. See “Deadlines for Promotion and Continuing Appointment Requests” for more information.
Solicited documents are confidential within the provision of Article 31 (Personnel Files) of the UUP Agreement. Procedures regarding maintaining confidentiality are detailed in sections 7b and 7e below.
Solicited letters should be current and should be solicited for the specific action under consideration. A complete set of solicited letters should be available at the time of the initial level of review; and all letters solicited and received must be included in the file with clear notation documenting when they were solicited and received.All external reviews must be presented in form of a letter written by the external reviewer, with their signature.
The section of the dossier containing solicited letters pertaining to scholarship should contain the following items:
- A statement on the method used to select reviewers.
- A copy of the letter used to solicit external reviews.
- Letters from each external reviewer, accompanied by a statement signed by each reviewer indicating the terms by which the letter may be shared with the candidate.
- A CV or abbreviated CV for each reviewer.
Each of these items is explained in greater detail below.
Item 7a: Statement of the method used to select reviewers
The file must contain a detailed statement that describes how and why the reviewers were selected. Such a statement must include:
- who was involved in identifying reviewers,
- how potential reviewers were identified,
- how potential reviewers were contacted,
- how many individuals were initially asked to serve as reviewers,
- how many declined and why they declined,
- how many letters were ultimately received
- and a brief explanation of why these particular individuals are qualified to serve as external reviewers.
See Appendix J for a template that can be used to describe the reviewer selection procedures.
To achieve the desired number of letters, more than six individuals should be asked to serve as reviewers. It is often necessary to ask 12 or more individuals in order to identify at least six who agree to serve in this role.
Reviewers should be from peer or better institutions, departments or programs, and should hold an academic rank higher than the candidate’s current rank. For example, only full professors may serve as reviewers for associate professors seeking promotion to full. More senior associate professors may serve as reviewers for assistant professors seeking promotion to associate; however, departments are encouraged to limit the number of more senior associate professors and clearly document the reason(s) why they have invited associate professors.
In addition, reviewers should be currently active in research, be selected from among the leaders in the candidate's area(s) of specialization, and be familiar with the performance standards and norms for promotion in U.S. academic institutions.
If a reviewer is not from a peer or better institution, or is not from an academic institution, care must be taken to justify why this individual is a qualified reviewer. For example, there may be instances where a particular department in a non-peer institution is highly regarded in a particular discipline, or an appropriate reviewer may be a researcher with very relevant disciplinary expertise who works at a research institution or university outside the United States. Reviewers who fit these, or similar situations, may be used but their number should be limited and the rationale for their choice should be clear and strong.
In certain circumstances, it may be appropriate to include letters from some reviewers who are professional practitioners (for example: government officials) in a position to evaluate the quality and impact of a candidate's contributions in other settings. These reviewers should be carefully selected with a view towards their special knowledge of the context and information needs of non-academic institutions and practitioners. Again, a strong justification for their choice and appropriateness must be provided.
Reviewers that have served in prior personnel actions for the candidate are not recommended. If they are included, identify this prior service and provide a rationale for the repeat service.
Citation indices should not be used as the sole source of names of prospective reviewers.
When a candidate's area of research is very highly specialized, it is incumbent on the Chair or person soliciting external letters to find reviewers who are close enough in their disciplinary expertise to be able to review the candidate’s work intelligently, while remaining “at arm’s length” in their personal ties with the candidate.
Prior effort should also be made to personally confirm that a proposed reviewer does not have a prior association with the candidate that would compromise their ability to give an objective review. The department or school must certify the independence of each reviewer and then explain the basis for the judgment that they are detached from the candidate and in a position to deliver an objective review.
The statement should explicitly address any instances in which a reviewer could reasonably be interpreted to have a potential bias.
Item 7b: Copy of the letter used to solicit external reviews
A formal letter requesting an external evaluation should be sent to each reviewer. This letter should come from the department Chair, the faculty member responsible for compiling the dossier or the Chair of the ad hoc committee charged with compiling the dossier.
Reviewers should be encouraged and directed to comment on the candidate’s record of achievement from the perspective of quality standards and productivity norms within the candidate’s academic discipline(s).
Reviewers should not be asked to indicate whether the candidate would receive tenure at the reviewer’s institution.
Reviewers should be asked to comment, as specifically as possible, on the following topics:
- The quality and quantity of published or submitted work in comparison to individuals at a similar career level in the candidate’s discipline(s).
- In cases of promotion to full, reviewers should be asked to evaluate the candidate’s entire career with a particular focus on contributions since tenure.
- The quality and/or standing of the publisher and/or the journals in which the work has been published.
- The candidate’s area(s) of specialization and the significance of their contributions to the field.
- The candidate’s reputation nationally and/or internationally, and the impact of specific aspects of the candidate’s work on others.
- The nature of past personal interactions, if any, that the reviewer has had with the candidate.
Under Article 31 of the Agreement between the United University Professions and the State of New York, when official solicitations for evaluation are made and included in the personnel file, the response may be made available to the employee according to the respondent’s preference. Reviewers must be instructed to indicate one of the following options at the conclusion of their response:
- The candidate may read this recommendation as is.
- The candidate may read this recommendation if all identification as to its source is deleted.
- The candidate may not read the recommendation.
If the respondent does not indicate one of the preceding options, or if the respondent chooses option 3, the statement shall not be available to the candidate at any time, whether before or after the tenure and/or promotion decision.
The solicitation letter must:
- identify what accompanying materials are being sent to each reviewer.
- avoid biased or leading statements and must request a letter of evaluation, not a letter of recommendation.
- inform reviewers exactly of the candidate's situation (for example: a candidate for continuing appointment and promotion from assistant professor to associate professor, or promotion from associate professor to professor). It should also be made clear that "continuing appointment" is equivalent to what is usually called "tenure."
See Appendix K for a letter of solicitation template.
Item 7c: Letters from each external reviewer
Item 7d: CV or abbreviated CV for each reviewer
For evaluation of the candidate's research, each reviewer's standing in the field should be documented in an abbreviated CV or extended biography. Each CV/biography should appear immediately following that reviewer’s letter in the file.
Item 7e: Statement signed by each reviewer indicating the terms by which the letter may be shared with the candidate
See Appendix K for a template.
Additional letters from other individuals who are in a position to evaluate the candidate’s scholarship may be solicited and included.
In a case where a substantial amount of the candidate’s work is co-authored, it is recommended to solicit letters from co-authors which explain the candidate’s contributions to their collaborative work. These letters must explicitly identify the author’s association with the candidate and are not counted toward meeting the minimum requirement of four independent external reviews.
All solicited letters must be accompanied by a statement signed by each reviewer indicating the terms by which the letter may be shared with the candidate.
Unsolicited letters and statements — or letters and statements received by persons other than an authorized university official — may be included in the file. Anonymous statements or letters cannot be placed in the file.
Unsolicited letters are not confidential and are therefore available to the candidate.
Before placing unsolicited letters of evaluation in the file, a letter should be sent to the individuals who have submitted unsolicited letters advising the writers that the recommendations are not confidential and will be made available to the candidate, colleagues and administrative officials (See Appendix L for a template of that letter). The sender should then be given the opportunity to withdraw the letter or affirm their intention that the letter not be confidential.
The file must include a document for each unsolicited letter indicating approval for its use.
Teaching is evaluated based on several types of evidence. This includes the amount and type of teaching as documented on the candidate’s employment history and CV, the candidate’s statement on teaching, student course evaluations, peer evaluations, primary teaching documents, solicited letters from co-teachers or instructors for whom the candidate has guest lectured, solicited or unsolicited letters from former students, awards, and other evidence that may illustrate teaching contributions and accomplishments.
Not all files will contain all of these types of evidence but each file should contain a portfolio of different types of evidence to provide a comprehensive basis for evaluating the quantity, quality and effectiveness of the candidate’s teaching and relationships with students. Some of this evidence is prepared by the candidate and some is prepared by the department.
University policy mandates both peer evaluation and student evaluation serve as components in the assessment of a faculty member's contribution as an instructor. So while this section must include the results of student evaluations — often Student Instructional Rating Forms (SIRF) — or other departmental systems that provide opportunity for comparison across courses and instructors, student evaluations alone are not sufficient. This evidence must include results from some form of peer evaluation.
For guidance on the documentation of teaching and the performance of peer evaluation in particular, please consult Suggestions & Strategies for Peer Review of Teaching and/or UAlbany Principles of Effective Teaching.
This section of the file should include the following elements:
Item 10a: Description of procedures for required peer and student evaluation of teaching
An introductory statement describing the procedures the department used to assemble and present documentation of teaching, as well as the procedures used to conduct the peer evaluations, should be included. This statement should end with a list of the documents that are included in the rest of this section.
Item 10b: Results of peer evaluation of teaching
A summary of the methods used to conduct the peer evaluation of teaching, along with a detailed statement that presents an overall evaluation of the candidate’s teaching, should be included. This statement, presenting the findings of a peer review committee, should be prepared by a member of the teaching faculty other than the department Chair and should give a clear indication of the candidate's strengths and weaknesses as a teacher.
The peer evaluation of teaching should be based on the following:
- a representative sample of the candidate's course syllabi, reading lists, examinations and grade distributions.
- an assessment of the faculty member's role in the departmental teaching mission, including developing new courses, teaching required courses, serving on doctoral committees and mentoring graduate students, if applicable.
- an assessment of the candidate's involvement in the University's curricular and pedagogical initiatives, such as the formulation and teaching of General Education courses, the teaching of writing-intensive courses, the mentoring of students at risk, the teaching of online courses and so forth.
- first-hand peer observations of classroom performance, if used. If first-hand peer observations of the candidate's classroom performance are used in the department’s review, there should be multiple observations, conducted at various times and by more than one peer. Departments should avoid conducting peer observations only at the time of the tenure review process.
A copy of any existing department/school’s policy and procedures for peer evaluation of teaching is required to be included as well.
Item 10c: Analysis of student evaluations of teaching
For candidates for promotion to associate professor, the department will prepare a comprehensive report and summary analysis of all student evaluations during the candidate's employment at UAlbany. For candidates for promotion to Full Professor, the department will prepare a report and summary analysis of at least the five most recent years of student evaluations.
Both qualitative and quantitative data are expected. A presentation of raw data alone will not meet this requirement. In preparing the report, all the actual evaluations and questions used are to be tabulated or graphed in a way that reveals individual strengths and weaknesses that may be obscured by averages.
The report must include:
- course-by-course information on the number of students in the class, the number of students responding and the percentage of responses.
- comparative information dating back at least five years, that includes
- departmental average rating with the candidate removed,
- average rating of instructors teaching the same or similar course
- and the average number of students enrolled in the same or similar course.
- departmental average rating with the candidate removed,
- a summary of the evaluation results and some comparison with others teaching the same or similar courses within the department.
- a summary of student comments, addressing positive and negative themes.
For further guidance, refer to the Sample Report / Analysis of Student Evaluations of Teaching.
This section must also include a copy of the student evaluation form that the department uses.
All of the raw student responses from evaluations conducted during the candidate’s employment at UAlbany (for tenure decisions) or the raw responses from the previous five years (for promotion to full professor) should be included in the dossier's appendix.
Item 10d: Solicited and unsolicited letters (if any)
Letters may be solicited from former students, co-instructors, hosts of guest lectures and any other individuals in a position to comment knowledgeably on the candidate’s effectiveness as a teacher. Testimony from current students should not be solicited and any letters solicited from former students should include explicit statements that they are former, not current, students. As solicited statements, these letters may be confidential at the discretion of the reviewer. See Appendix K for a letter template.
Unsolicited letters that speak to the candidate’s teaching may also be included here, provided they have been properly authorized by the author for disclosure to the candidate. See Appendix L for a template letter requesting that authorization.
Item 10e: Primary teaching documents
Primary teaching documents (such as course syllabi, reading lists, tests and major assignments) should be included here with an explanatory cover sheet prepared by the candidate that outlines how these documents show evidence of excellence in teaching.
A recent syllabus from each course taught should be included (limited to the past five years for promotion to full professor). If a course has undergone significant change over time, then old and new versions of the syllabus may be included to illustrate modifications. A cover sheet should be included to indicate such changes.
Institutional, professional and relevant service to the community and the public is documented in the CV, in the candidate’s statement on service and in a peer presentation on evidence of effective service contained in this section.
The documentation of service is primarily composed of letters solicited from the Chairs of significant committees and councils, representatives of professional organizations, journal editors and/or representatives of community organizations that describe the scope and significance of the candidate's contributions. As solicited statements, these letters may be confidential at the discretion of the reviewer (See Appendix K for a template letter soliciting an external reviewer). This section should also include statements solicited from individuals in a position to describe and evaluate the particularly distinctive ways in which the individual has changed the institution or profession, or made a contribution in other ways that is uniquely innovative and substantial.
This section should present comprehensive evidence documenting the quality and quantity of the candidate's service to the institution (department, school/college, university, SUNY system), profession and community. Just as statements concerning the candidate's scholarly attainments and teaching effectiveness need to be supported by external evaluations, as well as student and peer assessments, the candidate's service contributions should also be documented with external evaluations.
Service to the institution (department, school/college, university) typically involves committee service. Service to the institution may also include distinctive contributions on behalf of core functional areas (for example: statistical consulting, mentoring special student groups, contributions to the development of new policies or services to enhance university efficiency, effectiveness or excellence, generation of reports of recommendations upon request by university leadership, and other distinctive contributions).
Service to the profession includes activities such as manuscript reviews, journal editorships, organization or leadership of conferences, invited presentations, active involvement and leadership in professional societies and organizations, and production of texts, other publications and media products which are widely used tools that contribute to a profession's collective effort aimed at research and education.
Service to the community typically includes activities such as consultantships (both paid and pro bono), presentation of testimony and leadership involvement in community groups whose interests are related to the candidate's field of expertise.
Unsolicited letters that speak to the candidate’s service may also be included here, provided they have been properly authorized by the author for disclosure to the candidate. See Appendix L for a template letter requesting that authorization.
The department (not the candidate) should prepare a list of the major scholarly journals in the candidate’s field, and then create a comparison of that list and the journals in which the candidate has published. This information should include rankings or other indications of journal quality, as well as an indication of whether each journal is peer-reviewed. Department bibliographers in the University Libraries may be able to assist with information about major journals and impact factors.
See Appendix M for a template that can be used to report this information.
In disciplines where journals are not common as venues for scholarship and creative activities, the department should prepare a list of the major venues for recognition of scholarly or creative contribution.
Detailed citation analyses, when relevant to the candidate’s discipline, should be included in every dossier. Citation analyses should be prepared by the department, with relevant input from the candidate as requested.
The citation analysis should include citation counts for all of a candidate’s publications, where available. Self-citations should be counted separately from citations by others.
Detailed instructions for conducting and presenting citation analyses can be found in the Faculty Library Guide. See Appendix N for a template that can be used to presenting the results of citation analyses.
The Chair’s letter should explain the disciplinary context for the citation analysis or its absence.
Departmental policies and procedures about who votes on tenure and promotion cases vary.
The Chair should prepare a table that describes the composition of the voting faculty in the department, including the number of voting faculty at each rank, with and without continuing appointment.
In the rare cases where non-tenure-track faculty or students have voting rights for tenure and promotion cases, this should be indicated separately and explained here as well.
A written departmental document outlining the norms and expectations for tenure and promotion is required.
Copies of publications
Copies of publications and/or scholarly works should be included in an appendix — or, in the case of books, artistic works, etc., included with the file in some way. For promotion to Associate Professor, this usually should include all such works. For promotion to Full Professor, this should include the work completed since the last promotion.
Raw course evaluation data
The actual summary reports from all student course evaluations from the relevant timeframe, as well as any qualitative comments that students have submitted with their evaluations, should be included in the appendix.
If the candidate has conducted any supplemental evaluations on their own — such as qualitative evaluations used for course improvement — the results of those open-ended evaluations can be included here.