I am planning to apply for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor this Fall 2018.

In our institution, it is not required to obtain the external letter of support for the application towards tenure and promotion to Associate Professor level.

However, it is required for the promotion from Associate Professor to Full Professor. I was told that when an associate professor applies for the promotion to Full Professor, the candidate need to take an electronic copy of the whole P&T file, then colleagues external to the University will be contacted and provided the electronic P&T file towards obtaining their letter of support.

However, I am thinking if it would be prudent to obtain external letter of support and attach it along with my tenure and promotion to associate professor application file.

I have already took PDF of the whole P&T file. I am wondering if it would be OK to upload the P&T PDF file to Google drive and provide the link to the file in the Google drive to the colleagues external to the University towards the letter of support.

Please advise.

  • 2
    I don't see how a non-confidential letter that you obtained from a colleague selected by you would have any weight on your tenure case.
    – Matteo
    May 13, 2018 at 14:42
  • Could you clarify if what you are proposing would be acceptable for promotion to Full Professor? (And are any specific colleagues you are worried may die or go into hiding before the next round of promotions?) May 13, 2018 at 20:07
  • 3
    @Matteo At my university, promotion candidates typically provide names of potential references. The only requirement is that a strict majority of the actual references are not suggested by the candidate. And of course, the department solicits all reference letters directly; a letter submitted directly by the candidate would be considered poison.
    – JeffE
    May 14, 2018 at 0:37
  • Check your department's and your college's rules. In my college, external letters for promotions must be solicited by the department, and the solicitation, though signed by the department chair, is specified word-for-word by the college. The candidate is allowed to suggest external reviewers, but a letter solicited directly by the candidate could not be included in the promotion file (and would probably result in a severe rebuke from the dean (if he found out), either for the candidate who solicited it or for the department administrators who allowed that solicitation). May 15, 2018 at 2:04

1 Answer 1


You can request the letter but I would recommend that the request be directly sent by and returned to the chair of the department or the chair of the departmental P&T tenure committee. They can then decide if it should be attached to the P&T file.

As far as sharing it via Google Drive or equivalent services, I would suggest that you investigate if your institution has a designated file transfer service and use that instead. Your P&T file is probably not something you would want to have "leaked."

  • 6
    I would not recommend requesting the letter yourself. I would recommend suggesting to the department chair that they request external letters, using exactly the same protocol they already use for full-professor cases. And then, if the standard protocol allows, suggest external references.
    – JeffE
    May 14, 2018 at 0:40
  • @JeffE Agreed. I’ve added that to my answer.
    – aeismail
    May 14, 2018 at 1:34
  • It is not clear what you mean by "through the person responsible sending out letters"
    – Dawn
    May 14, 2018 at 1:41
  • Hopefully this edit has made it clearer.
    – aeismail
    May 14, 2018 at 3:30

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