External Reviews Guidelines for Candidates & Deans Rank Promotion

Faculty applying for rank promotion must undergo evaluation by an external reviewer as part of the process. Evaluations by accomplished professionals who are not a part of the UNCSA community provide a valuable element in assessing the accomplishments of faculty. External evaluations must be solicited and reviewed in the form of letters of evaluation. The purpose of these letters is to provide an independent and unbiased assessment of the individual’s creative activity/research, teaching, and service work with a focus on local, regional, and national engagement and recognition within the discipline.  

Selection of External Reviewers
Reviewers should be highly regarded and recognized professionals in the candidate's field and able to evaluate the quality, productivity, and significance of his/her professional activity. Reviewers may be individuals who know the candidate through professional interactions. External reviewers may not be members of the UNCSA faculty, and should be selected so as to minimize the possibility of conflicts of interest; actual, potential, or apparent. Outside reviewers should not be selected from among those with whom the candidate has had familial or close personal relationships.

Nomination of External Reviewers
Using the External Reviewer Nomination Form for Rank Promotion, Candidates should recommend at least five reviewers to their dean. Candidates will provide brief bios of the proposed reviewers including their professional/artistic credentials, most recent professional accomplishments, and a summary of their creative activities and scholarly work. If reviewers who have had significant previous contact with the Candidate are recommended, reasons for that choice should be presented in sufficient detail to facilitate a reasonable and fair decision about the approval of the reviewer.

Following the submission of the External Reviewer Nomination Form for Rank Promotion, the Dean will review the submitted list and identify the approved reviewers. The dean will work with the Candidate to select a minimum of three from whom reviews will be solicited.

  • At least one approved reviewer will be from the list submitted by the Candidate. 
  • The second Reviewer will be selected jointly by the Dean and faculty member, and may or may not be drawn from the submitted list.
  • It is the Dean’s discretion to select the final reviewer from the submitted list, or an External Reviewer of his/her own choosing. 
  • The Dean and the Candidate may also select two alternates to ensure the participation of three External Reviewers.
  • If the list does not provide a sufficient number of approved reviewers, the applicant and Dean will add additional names until a sufficient number of External Reviewers are approved.

Solicitation of External Reviews
All contact with the reviewers is to be done by the Dean.

The dean will email the Request for External Review for Rank Promotion to at least three nominees requesting their participation. In this request, the External Reviewer will be asked to comment on the quality, quantity, impact, and creativity of the Candidate’s accomplishments. The request also informs the External Reviewer that his/her review will become part of the personnel file of the Candidate, and that, accordingly, the review may be examined by the Candidate upon request. The Request for External Review should be sent from the dean's UNCSA email address and should be retained until the evaluation process has concluded.

Upon a nominee’s agreement to provide an external review, the dean will send a formal request for external review using Instructions for Confirmed External Reviewers for Rank Promotion via Interfolio RPT.  The instructions include links to the  External Reviewer Evaluation for Rank Promotion, the Guidelines for Reviewers of Rank Promotion Applications and Definitions & Sample Criteria for ESP Rank Promotion).

The External Reviewer will be given access to the Candidate’s Rank Promotion Packet in its entirety via the Interfolio RPT platform.

If less than three External Reviewers are available, the Dean will return to the list of nominees for other potential reviewers. If necessary, additional names will be added as needed to help ensure a minimum of three participating External Reviewers. 

If a Candidate is using the same external reviewers for rank promotion from a previous contract reappointment evaluation (within the past 2 years), each external reviewer will still need to complete the External Reviewer Evaluation for Rank Promotion but they will only be required to complete the scoring section. They may add additional comments but are not required to do so.

The Office of the Dean will send the following documents to the external reviewer under these circumstances:

  1. External Reviewer Evaluation for Rank Promotion
  2. The External Reviewer Evaluation for Contract Reappointment Evaluation previously submitted by the external reviewer
  3. Engaged and Sustained Resume
  4. Engaged and Sustained Narrative
  5. Guidelines for Reviewers of Rank Promotion Applications
  6. Definitions & Sample Criteria for ESP Rank Promotion Applications

External reviewers have the option of requesting to see the entire packet.

Inclusion of External Review Letters in the Rank Promotion Case
External Reviewers will be directed to upload the External Reviewer Evaluation for Rank Promotion to Interfolio RPT as part of the Rank Promotion case. 

By rule and ethics, all solicited external evaluation letters received are to be included in the Candidate’s portfolio for review at the departmental and university levels. The arrival of a late letter does not affect subsequent deadlines, and the Dean, and Provost are not obligated to re-evaluate a Candidate in the event an external evaluation letter arrives after the stated deadline.

The Dean or designee, will complete the Final List of External Reviewers for Rank Promotion and upload it to Interfolio RPT for inclusion in the Candidate’s case by the published deadline. 

Advice for Identifying Appropriate External Reviewers
The life of the UNCSA faculty member interested in rank promotion requires a long-term view and active thinking about one's career development.  Know what the engaged and sustained three-pronged rank promotion process is and see if you are willing to live with it over time. Be realistic about your vision and goals. Be honest with yourself about how willing you are to either adjust or continue your current level of engagement with creative activity/research, service, or teaching criteria. Be realistic.

There has to be a genuine career, teaching or service reason for the activities in which you choose to engage in a sustained and vital way. It is not merely about the rank application or contract reappointment evaluation alone. Creating and committing to dynamic initiatives is important; equally important is framing your successes in ways that are compelling. Is your activity innovative, impactful, successful or providing a platform for the next success or innovation?

Particularly when you work on the margins of traditional paths, as artists, craftspeople, creative technicians, arts managers and administrators do, whether it is in creative activity/research, teaching, or service, you have to let others know what you are doing clearly.

In the arts, in particular, do not assume that anyone will immediately understand what is innovative about your work, how it is achieved, recognized or rewarded. Those of us doing know why we do it, why we are passionate about its link to our institutional mission, and how we can excel in its performance. Not only is it appropriate for your career to frame how others see your work, it helps transform the mission of UNCSA.

As you move forward in your career at UNCSA, bear in mind the following recommendations as they pertain to rank promotion:

  • Document your initiatives of engagement
  • Work with people who are like-minded or to whom you have explained what you are doing
  • Tell people what you are doing and explain it if they come from traditional paths
  • Write about process, including challenges
  • Talk, write and document the things about your work that are important
  • Disseminate your work where appropriate
  • Create partnerships and communities of endeavor
  • Educate potential reviewers
  • Solicit peer review before you ever get to the rank promotion application stage

When contemplating peer reviewers within or external reviewers outside of UNCSA, measure them against the following criteria:

  • Are they from academic, arts, or practice organizations?
  • Are they familiar with your field(s) of service, teaching, or engaged creative activity/research?
  • Work with your dean and/or appropriate individuals at UNCSA to determine the best and most appropriate mix of peers inside and outside of the university setting.
  • Have you met and established some relationship with a potential reviewer?
  • Are they familiar with your areas of initiative?
  • Do they understand the definition and value of engaged and sustained activity?
  • Will they write about your local, national, and/or international excellence in one of your three areas of evaluative criteria?
  • Will they write about the impact your work has had on your artistic, academic, or professional communities?
  • Can they document experience with specific examples?
  • Will they write with integrity about your integrity, commitment, passion, engagement, long-term projects and/or engagement with specific communities?