How to Write a Letter to Be Considered for Tenure


Letters seeking consideration for tenure are typically written by university professors who are up for tenure, or by their colleagues. However, if you want to put yourself up for consideration instead of waiting for another person to nominate you, you can write a letter explaining why you deserve tenure. Schools have different tenure requirements but most require a professor to have a history of performing as an educator and a sufficient publishing background. Tenure makes it difficult for a school to fire a professor without a valid reason.

Determine the exact name and address of the head of the department. This information is typically located in a faculty directory or on the department's web page. Alternatively, you may wish to address the letter to the dean or to your fellow professors.

Begin the letter with "Dear __:" and spell out the exact name of the department chair.

Write an introductory paragraph that states your full name, academic rank and degree. If you are writing the letter to seek tenure for another person, use that person's information.

Discuss your teaching credentials, history and accomplishments in the next paragraph. Give examples of what makes you a stand-out teacher who deserves tenure.

In the next paragraph, discuss your history of research. Give examples of studies you conducted, their accuracy and their place in the academic world. Explain how you broke new ground and why your research makes you deserve tenure.

Discuss your publication history in your next paragraph. Typically, this means discussing scholarly publications and publications of studies, but it may also involve books you have published. Emphasize how your publication relates to the department. Are you adding a new viewpoint? Are your publications considered extremely detailed or well-written? Explain how you contribute to the department more than other teachers do.

Write a brief history of your clinical practice if you are in the medical community.

Explain why you are an exceptional candidate in ways other than your academic and career history. Are you someone students can talk to about anything? Do you contribute to the research of your peers even though it is not a requirement?

End the letter with a summary of your research and a list of references.


Double-check your letter for typos and spelling errors before sending it to a department head.

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