Penn State College of Engineering Penn State College of Engineering

Office of Human Resources

101 Hammond Building
Phone: 814-865-7530
Fax: 814-865-8767

Faculty Resources

Promotion and Tenure - Guidelines for the Preparation and Submission of Promotion and Tenure Reviews

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In all cases, University policy HR-23 (Promotion and Tenure Procedures and Regulations) and the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs' annual Administrative Guidelines shall apply and these College guidelines should serve only as a supplement to those two documents.

  1. The material for the second-year review of the provisional appointment period must be submitted in official dossier format to the Dean's Office. The College P&T Committee does not typically review second-year cases.
  2. The documentation for the fourth-year review must be prepared in official dossier format. The College Committee reviews all fourth- year cases.
  3. Normally, department heads forward a brief progress report to the Dean for all Engineering faculty members during the fifth year of the provisional appointment. These reports contain only supplemental material indicating any important activities and evaluations, especially in teaching and research, which have occurred since the fourth-year dossier was prepared. These reports are not in dossier format and are not included in the sixth-year dossier.
  4. In special cases, where it is deemed in the best interest of the faculty member and the College, a formal third- or fifth-year review may be conducted. In such cases, a complete dossier must be prepared.
  5. In general, neither the department nor the College promotion and tenure review committee is involved in the process of submitting a fifth-year progress report. However, if a formal third- or fifth-year tenure review is conducted, then both the department and College committees should be involved.
  6. For a promotion or sixth-year tenure review, a complete dossier must be prepared in the official format in accordance with HR-23. Also, one copy of the faculty member's five best publications must be maintained in the Department office as reference material for the College committee and the Dean.

    External letters of assessment are mandatory for all promotion and sixth year tenure reviews:

    1. References should be solicited from the recognized leaders in the field of the candidate. See Administrative Guidelines, (Appendix C) , for sample letters to external evaluator.
    2. Each dossier must contain at least five (5) external letters of assessment.
    3. External evaluators should not be former teachers, students, or collaborators (e.g., co-authors) of the candidate.
    4. A majority of the external letters should be from academic evaluators; they should be of higher rank for promotion candidates, and they should be tenured for tenure candidates.   Note:  The University Promotion and Tenure Committee looks for external letters from diverse sources.  The University Committee also prefers an indication of who recommended each of the external reviewers.
    5.  Separate external letters of assessment for promotion and for tenure are not required and should not be solicited.  One letter from each external evaluator will serve both purposes.
    6. Candidates for both promotion and tenure, require only one dossier with two cover (signatory) pages: first cover page to document decisions on the tenure consideration and the second to document decisions on the promotion consideration.  In such cases the dossier which serves for both promotion and tenure should include all evaluative statements from previous provisional tenure reviews (Administrative Guidelines, Section III.C.11.C ) The Department Committee, the Department Head, and the College Committee must each prepare one evaluative statement which serves for both tenure and promotion.  All statements must be in the combined promotion and tenure dossier.
    7. Candidates should not have any contact with external reviewers before or during the promotion and tenure review process.  The guidelines state that candidates may recommend some of the names, but should never know who is being asked to write letters.  Reviewers should not be called before receiving a letter requesting an assessment.

    When assembling sixth-year tenure dossiers (or early tenure dossiers), be sure to include all previous tenure review evaluations (see Blue Divider card).  Here is a list of the previous tenure evaluations* that must be included in a final tenure dossier: 

    1. Department Committee's second-year evaluation
    2. Department Head's second-year evaluation
    3. Dean's second-year evaluation 
    4. Department Committee's fourth-year evaluation 
    5. Department Head's fourth-year evaluation 
    6. College Committee's fourth-year evaluation 
    7. Dean's fourth-year evaluation

    Note:  If a formal third-year and/or fifth-year review was conducted, the sixth-year dossier must also include the evaluations of the Department Committee, Department Head, College Committee, and the Dean.

     *If any of these evaluations cannot be located in departmental files, please contact the College of Engineering's Human Resources Office (865-7530) and request copies for inclusion in the dossiers.

  7. Supplemental support materials which are not part of the dossier but which have been assembled for a candidate’s review should be on file in the department office.  The department office should devise procedures for storing these materials and making them available for review by subsequent committees and administrators upon request.
  8. The signed original and the appropriate number of copies of each dossier are submitted to the College Human Resources Office (101-G Hammond) within the Dean's Office. Do not copy the dossier pages back-to-back and do not staple dossiers - use binder clips.


    1. Second-year - Original plus two (2) copies
    2. Third-year Formal Review - Original plus nine (9) copies
    3. Fourth-year - Original plus nine (9) copies 
    4. Fifth-year Formal Review - Original plus nine (9) copies 
    5. Fifth-year Progress Report - Original plus one (1) copy  (not a dossier)
    6. Sixth-year and Early Tenure - Original plus nine (9) copies


    1. Original plus nine (9) copies
  9. Dossiers should be prepared using the promotion and tenure dossier format.  The format is available in Word and WordPerfect.  It is located at Q\Human Resources\P&T\dossier format.  The dossier format is also included in the respective sections of this online handbook.
  10. Number the dossier pages by section.  Example:  Orange divider pages are numbered A-1, A-2, A-3, etc.; green divider pages are numbered B-1, B-2, B-3, etc.  ( Administrative Guidelines, Section III.C.2.f-k)
  11. Review the dossier divider cards carefully to ensure that factual material is recorded in proper sections.(Administrative Guidelines, Section III.C.4)
  12. The tenure/promotion candidate is responsible for reviewing the factual part of the dossier (all sections except the external letters) for accuracy and completeness prior to the beginning of the review process.  Evaluative statements from previous tenure review committees and administrators are considered part of the factual sections of the dossier.  Previous tenure statements are not included in dossiers prepared for promotion only.  Upon completion of the entire review process, the candidate may review the dossier, except for the external letters, in accordance with HR-60 , Access to Personnel Files. (Administrative Guidelines, Section III.E.2 and III.C.3).

    If changes are made in the factual part of the dossier during the review process, the candidate and all previous levels of review must be informed and given the opportunity to review and reconsider their recommendations.  (Administrative Guidelines, Section III.F )  All previous levels of review must submit a statement indicating whether or not the changes resulted in a change in their recommendation.  The candidate must also submit a statement indicating that s/he saw the new information.

    The candidate must provide the department with factual information for the dossier according to deadlines established by the department head
    .  Following that deadline, the candidate will be permitted to include only important new information that arrived after the deadline set by the department.  Requests for inclusion of new material after the dossiers are distributed to the College committee require approval of the Associate Dean for Administration and Planning.
  13. Dossiers must contain a brief (one page maximum) narrative statement , written by the candidate in the third person, regarding the candidate’s areas of emphasis and major contributions.  The narrative statement must be objective and must not contain any evaluative content.  The statement's purpose is to clarify and highlight the primary area or areas of concentration and contribution by the candidate. The narrative statement should be located immediately after the College and Department criteria statements.
  14. Dossiers should not contain evaluative statements written by the candidate, samples of the candidate’s publications, letters of appreciation or thanks, course outlines, vita, etc. (Administrative Guidelines, Section III.C.9)
  15. The Candidate’s Signature Statement should be the very last item in the dossier. (Administrative Guidelines, Section III.C.2.M )