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To be promoted in my school as an NTT, one needs external letters of recommendation. The requirements are similar to the tenure promotion recommenders (basically, the recommenders cannot be your friends/colleagues, etc.). The recommenders are supposed to comment both on my research and teaching.

I was asked to find two such recommenders myself. How can one find them? My publication list isn't that impressive (otherwise, I would be a TT), but I do have some papers and citations. Do I just write those people who cited to comment on my work? I don't know those people and never interacted with them. What about teaching?

What's the common practice in the US?

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    I would suggest that you get advice from somewhere at your institution who supports your promotion. What works better or worse depends heavily on what the people evaluating your application think is important, and that will depend on your department and university. It's unusual for external reviewers to be asked to comment on teaching, and it's unusual for NTT faculty to be evaluated on anything other than teaching and service, so it's not clear to me what your department or university would be looking for. Aug 24, 2023 at 20:18
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    It's also unusual for faculty to actually do the asking themselves; more common is that the faculty member names some people they think would be familiar with their work and the chair or the committee running promotion does the asking. Aug 24, 2023 at 20:20
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    @AlexanderWoo I think those comments would make a good answer.
    – Bryan Krause
    Aug 24, 2023 at 20:47
  • @BryanKrause: I have been previously told on Meta that such comments are not an answer but rather a reason for closing for depending on individual factors. Aug 24, 2023 at 22:50
  • Unfortunately, the head of the promotion committee only told me that the recommenders cannot be from the same school, nor can they be former colleagues, classmates, family members, etc. I am having hard time to even think how one can get such letters. It's really like "ask a friend to ask a friend to write a letter", esp if that relates to teaching.
    – Vika
    Aug 28, 2023 at 17:09

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To be promoted in my school as an NTT, one needs external letters of recommendation. The requirements are similar to the tenure promotion recommenders (basically, the recommenders cannot be your friends/colleagues, etc.). The recommenders are supposed to comment both on my research and teaching.

Well, you ask (sufficiently senior) people in your field to write you a recommendation letter. This is not common, but also not extremely rare - I have personally written around five such letters in about as many years. Of course not everybody you ask will say yes, but it's also not an outrageous request. That you don't know them personally isn't so uncommon either, some places (most notably the US Department of Homeland Security) explicitly ask for recommenders that you have never even spoken to.

Of course, these letters are different from the kind of letters you would get as an aspiring PhD student - everybody understands that if you ask for a letter from somebody with no conflict of interest you are not getting an evaluation of you as a person, but rather a judgement of how impactful and visible your work is in your field. That said, it is similar in the sense that if you struggle to find people agreeing to write you a letter, one problem may be that your work is indeed not very visible and all the people you ask decline rather than writing you a poor letter.

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  • How can senior people in my field who are not in my department comment on my teaching?
    – Vika
    Aug 28, 2023 at 17:02
  • @Vika Whenever I get asked about such recommendations it's about research, and research alone.
    – xLeitix
    Aug 29, 2023 at 9:42

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