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 Candidate 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.  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 send the Request for External Review for Rank Promotion letter to at least three nominees requesting their participation.  In this letter, the External Reviewer will be asked to comment on the quality, quantity, impact, and creativity of the Candidate’s accomplishments.   The letter also informs the External Reviewer that his/her letter will become part of the personnel file of the Candidate, and that, accordingly, the letters may be examined by the Candidate upon request.  A copy of the letter requesting an evaluation of the Candidate should be uploaded to Interfolio ByCommittee.

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. 

Upon a nominee’s agreement to provide an external review, the dean will send the External Reviewer the  External Reviewer Evaluation for Rank Promotion (contains links to Guidelines for Reviewers of Rank Promotion Applications and Definitions & Sample Criteria for ESP Rank Promotion) along with the Candidate’s Rank Promotion Dossier.

Inclusion of External Review Letters in the Portfolio

External Reviewers will be directed to upload the External Reviewer Evaluation for Rank Promotion to Interfolio ByCommittee as part of the Rank Promotion Dossier. 

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.  Any letters received after the deadline shall be placed into the “Additional Candidate Supplemental Support” section of the portfolio. 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. A portfolio is considered incomplete and cannot be evaluated if fewer than three external letters are included.

The Dean or designee, will complete the Final List of External Reviewers for Rank Promotion and upload it to Interfolio ByCommittee for inclusion in the Candidate’s dossier by the published deadline.  This is a list of the External Reviewers who provided a review letter and includes their current academic and/or professional affiliations, a brief biographical statement, disclosure of any connection between Candidate and reviewer, and indications of how each reviewer was selected (i.e., at the suggestion of the Candidate or the dean) and why.

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?

Revised March 23, 2017