Summary: In the official tenure documentation, there really isn't much said about the outside
review letters. Our documentation states: Each reviewer should be asked to state, at
the very least, the nature of his or her acquaintance with the candidate, and to evaluate
the candidate's published work and/or creative endeavors, and recognition and standing
among his or her peers.
Here is my opinion.
1. The credentials of the reviewer are important. The person must be an expert in the
field. We seek letters from recognized national authorities in the candidate's special
field. We prefer references who have achieved senior status and national recognition.
They are asked to evaluate your
· Reputation in the area of expertise.
· Leadership in professional activities and how demonstrated.
Thus, a reasonable match between the research expertise of candidate and evaluator is
required. Otherwise, they are not able to comment on your reputation or professional
2. It is important that they be familiar with your research. Otherwise, they may not
agree to serve as a reviewer. Half of the letters of reference must come from your
list, so you should be reasonably confident they will accept. I would definitely pick
people you have met conference organizers, someone who you talked to at a
conference, someone who you have corresponded with about research, someone you have