I'm a few months away from defending and my advisor is going up for tenure shortly after I finish. I found out that every other student of my advisor, including a student who graduated a year ago, except for me was asked to write a letter for consideration in the tenure process. One of the students just joined the lab and was confused as to what exactly he was supposed to say. These requests weren't sent out by my advisor, but by another professor on behalf of the tenure committee. (That professor just happens to be on my advisory committee.)

Should I be concerned about this or am I just being paranoid?

  • 12
    I'm sure it was just an oversight. Given that you get no real benefit from doing this, I'd just be thankful to be spared the extra work! Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 22:35
  • 4
    Probably they needed N letters, your advisor has N+1 students, and someone rolled an (N+1)-sided die. I wouldn't worry about it.
    – JeffE
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 10:13
  • Since the requesting professor is on your committee could it be conflict of interest instead of an oversight? Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


If you think there was an oversight, you could always ask the chair of the tenure committee directly if they left you out. Alternatively, you could simply write the letter and submit it to the committee. The worst-case scenario here is that the letter is not forwarded to the committee.

  • I'm ok with it somehow being an oversight. I can't say that I don't mind being spared the extra work! Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 20:03

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