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Though the decline of tenure-track positions in academia has been widely publicized, the promise of tenure remains a highly motivating factor for new faculty members at colleges and universities. As part of the tenure-review process, many institutions require feedback from an external evaluator — typically a senior-level faculty member at another institution. This external factor introduces unpredictable variables beyond the tenure candidate’s control.

An article published by The Chronicle of Higher Education gives tenure candidates tips on how to optimize the information provided to external reviewers and, in doing so, increase the likelihood of clear and thoughtful responses.

David D. Perlmutter, dean of the college of media and communication at Texas Tech University, recounts the difficulties of an external tenure reviewer in his article, “Know the Vital Players in Your Career.” He says poor information packets and lack of clear direction from the requesting institution makes the job of external reviewers more challenging than necessary. He encourages tenure candidates to be proactive in managing their files and ensuring outside reviewers receive the best information and directions possible.

“Other than your dissertation, the tenure packet is the single most important file you will compile in your career,” Perlmutter writes. “Give it the respect and attention it merits.”

The article goes on to offer advice for tenure candidates. Perlmutter says candidates should know their institution’s rules about selecting outside reviewers, and should build a network of potential reviewers in their disciplines who are familiar enough with their area of study to provide accurate and informed reviews.

He also says tenure candidates should meticulously organize the packets being prepared for outside reviewers, and ensure that the materials demonstrate not only a track record of strong academic work but also a passion and potential for future growth in the field.

“You should seriously think about how your tenure packet best reflects what you can be, not just what you have been,” Perlmutter writes.

The full article from The Chronicle of Higher Education is available here:

Content originally published on Learn more about Interfolio’s acquisition of Data180 here.