4.4.9 Promotion Dossiers

It is the individual's responsibility to present the best case for promotion since he or she is most clearly involved in the outcome. It is extremely important that the dossier be well organized and carefully prepared because superfluous or confusing information may obscure more than it enhances one's qualifications and achievements. Unless otherwise noted in the faculty appointment letter, all work in rank, even if conducted at other institutions of higher education, shall be considered for promotion and tenure. It shall be the faculty's responsibility to include evidence of this work in his/her dossier and to clearly identify when and where this work was performed. (Rev. 5/10/07).

All dossiers should be organized under the following headings in this order:

  1. Introductory Material
    1. Contents and Guidelines
      1. Recommendation for Promotion Form
      2. A table of contents
      3. A copy of the University, college, and department promotion and tenure criteria
    2. Application for Promotion
      1. Candidate's letter requesting promotion
      2. A curriculum vitae
      3. Candidate's statement (optional)
    3. Two and Four Year Reviews for Faculty Seeking Promotion to Associate Professor
      1. Reviews conducted by the corresponding department committee
      2. Reviews or evaluations conducted by the department chair
    4. Internal Recommendations
      1. The department committee's recommendation
      2. The chairperson's recommendation
      3. College committee's recommendation (if any)
      4. Dean or director's recommendation or endorsement
      5. University committee's recommendation
      6. Any appeal materials (appeals and rebuttals)
    5. External Recommendations

1. List of the external reviewers who were nominated by the candidate versus those nominated by the department, and the criteria used to request from specific reviewers

2. Procedure for choosing external reviewers

a. Solicited external evaluations serve as a major indicator of an individual's impact on the profession and are always required for promotion. Although the number may vary by rank and department or division, every dossier must include external reviews solicited by the departmental committee and written by highly qualified individuals with established reputations in the candidate's field. These statements should analyze and evaluate critically the candidate's work and accomplishments during the review period and they should also comment on the candidate's potential for future development.

b. The solicitation of these evaluations must follow these guidelines:

1)  A candidate will submit a list of potential reviewers, some of whom will be approached for recommendations. The department committee will suggest additional reviewers. This total list of names will be greater than the total number of letters solicited. Although the candidate must be informed of all potential reviewers and have an opportunity to comment on them, it is the department committee, and not the candidate, that makes the final selection. The final list of names will not be given to the candidate so as to preserve confidentiality of the reviewers.

2)  Candidates must not contact potential reviewers about the promotion process at any time.

3)  Letters of evaluation will be confidential and external reviewers will not be mentioned by name or affiliation in any recommendations or evaluations. Reviewers may be referred to by number.

4)  Each review should be accompanied by the letter requesting the evaluation, a curriculum vita or biographical statement describing the reviewer's credentials, and a statement of relationship to the candidate. Insofar as reasonable and possible, only reviewers without personal ties to the candidate should be selected.

5)  If a candidate has collaborative works, it must be clear to the external evaluator what the candidate's contributions were to the finished work. Reviewers must be able to determine whether an individual can execute research in his or her own right.

6.  External teaching evaluations should attest to the candidate's pedagogical competence, knowledge of the subject matter, organization and preparation, ability to stimulate intellectual curiosity and willingness to work, innovative capacity, and such. 

7.  External service evaluations will be required for those CT faculty whose primary contracted area of responsibility is service. The external evaluations can be performed locally, but should be external to the academic unit

  1. Letters of evaluation from peer reviewers together with supporting material. These letters will be numbered sequentially for reference. (Rev. 5/2016)


  1. Evidential Materials
    1. Teaching

      Teaching is an extremely important factor in promotion decisions and one must incorporate into the dossier several kinds of evidence. Possibilities include:

      1. Student evaluations, properly tabulated and summarized. The procedures used in administering the evaluations should also be described. Where available comparable departmental evaluations and past measures of the candidate's performance should be provided. (Note: Student evaluations should only be used in conjunction with other indicators to measure teaching competence, not just popularity. The type and size of courses should be taken into account).
      2. Samples of student comments from student evaluations. The means by which these samples were selected should be provided.
      3. Testimonials from a selection of former and current undergraduate and graduate students. The procedures for drawing the sample should be clearly described.
      4. Course portfolio evaluation
      5. Student performance in later sequential courses
      6. Standardized test scores
      7. Self-evaluation
      8. Long-term follow-up of students
      9. In-person classroom observation and evaluation in courses taught by the candidate, done by university faculty and/or staff (such as from the Center for Teaching & Assessment of Learning), chosen for their pedagogical expertise.
      10. Teaching awards (e.g., Faculty Senate Excellence in Teaching)
    2. Scholarship
      1. Evidence of scholarly attainment including:
        1. Published Materials. Books, refereed and other articles, conference proceedings, works of art, recordings, and other permanent additions to the candidate's field are to be listed in the dossier. For all of these works, the candidate should make clear the extent to which the work has been peer reviewed. For collaborative works, the candidate's contributions (e.g., percent effort, specific activities performed, etc.) should be clearly indicated. Different fields have entirely different traditions that determine the order of names associated with these works (e.g., alphabetically or by seniority) and the significance of the order of the names should be clearly stated in the dossier. The ratinale for the choice of journals chosen for publishing one's work should be clearly indicated, as well as the level to which the works have contributed to the field.
        2. Awards and prizes.
        3. Lectures/presentations/performances at other institutions or conferences, specifying if these were local, national, or international, and whether they were peer-reviewed or not.
        4. Unsolicited External Evaluations. There are other kinds of information that can be interpreted as external evaluations, although not of the same kind as derived through solicitation. This material, which should also be included in the dossier since it too describes the candidate's accomplishments, includes among others: articles citing the individual's work and the reasons for its importance; reprinting of articles or parts of books in collections of distinguished contributions to a subject, and so forth.
        5. Professional Activity Prior to University Employment. Scholarly productivity for promotion to the rank of associate professor generally cannot be based on work completed in earning the doctorate or other appropriate terminal degree or post doctorate work prior to arrival at the University of Delaware. The research involved for that degree or post doctorate work was one of the reasons for initial employment; promotion, on the other hand, must consider evidence of scholarship accomplished subsequent to that performed for the degree or post doctorate work.

          This requirement does not mean that publications based on the dissertation should be totally ignored. Rather, the candidate must offer clear evidence of substantial scholarly achievement made after the awarding of the doctorate or other appropriate terminal degree or post doctorate work.

          Like research, any prior teaching or service plays its role in the hiring contract, the level of monies involved, and the responsibilities attached to it. Prior activity plays little or no role in the promotion except to form a meaningful context against which later development and accomplishments can be judged. There must be evidence of continuing productivity.

        6. Prestigious Grants. The acquisition of research or other grants, such as Guggenheim or NSF awards, is obviously a testimony to a person's competence and reputation and should be described in the dossier. The candidate's contribution, and the funds coming to the candidate, should be clearly indicated, especially in projects with multiple principal investigators.
        7. Reviews of Published Materials, Performance, or Exhibits.
        8. Unpublished Material. Unpublished material may in some circumstances be an important indicator of a candidate's competence and achievements. Its evaluation, however, must be especially thoughtful. In particular, if it is to be a formal part of the dossier, it should be sent to outside reviewers for a critical assessment of its merits. The comments are meant to apply to unpublished manuscripts as well as so-called "in house" publications, such as research reports that are not subject to an external review process.
        9. Other Evidence of Scholarship Appropriate to the Profession. This type of evidence, if important for a department, should be indicated in the department's promotion and tenure document.
    3. Service
      1. Service includes innumerable types of activities rendered for the benefit of the department, college, university, community, profession, or nation. Willingness to undertake such work and competence in performing it are taken into account in the promotion process. Evaluating service is difficult. Promotion and tenure committees need to know when there has been an outstanding level of service that has taken appreciable effort or service that has been done in some way that can be noted as excellent. Other than that, the main concern is that a person has fulfilled his or her service commitment under the criteria of the academic unit concerned and that the unit is satisfied. Administrative responsibilities can be considered as part of the service component, but they may not be used as a substitute for accomplishment in a scholarly discipline. (Section 4.4.9 Rev. 5/2016)