Statement on the Relationship between Tenure Track Faculty and Peer Review Committees


This document is intended to outline expectations for tenure-track faculty and their peer review committees (PRCs) in interacting with each other.  The over-riding guidance for these interactions is “open communication” which can be equated with “no surprises.”  Candidates should not be surprised by the responses, comments, and evaluations they receive from their PRCs, but rather should have an understanding of how their tenure case is viewed long before seeing the evaluative comments in writing each year.  Similarly, PRCs should not be surprised by new directions in librarianship, service, or research being pursued by the candidates, particularly those which may challenge the viability of the candidate’s tenure case.

This is not, nor is it intended to be, a comprehensive list of suggestions and hints.  This reflects the fact that there are several processes involved in evaluation for promotion and tenure at the University Library.  Campus-wide there are two levels of review – departmental and college/school. The University Library is a college, with equivalent reviews set up to mirror those of the other colleges at the University.  The annual reviews on campus are outlined in Provost’s Communication 13; the tenure process is applicable to all tenure-track and tenured faculty members and is articulated as Provost’s Communication 9. The University Library’s Faculty Review Committee coordinates our annual report process which is equivalent to a departmental review, occurring on a regular basis and providing limited feedback.  The University Library’s Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee coordinates annual review of our dossiers and is equivalent to review at the school or college level.  The UL Dean’s recommendations for promotion and tenure are equivalent to recommendations at both the department and college executive level.

Candidates this process is yours!  It is what will enable you to proceed with your academic life on this campus!  Redacted, successful dossiers are available from the University Librarian’s Office.  Reviewing these examples can be very beneficial for your understanding of the final form and purpose of the dossier.


Candidate PRC
Your tenure is ultimately your responsibility.  The Library will give you whatever guidance you seek, but you must build your tenure case yourself. Your primary responsibility is honest and objective review and evaluation of the candidate’s progress toward tenure.
Ask questions!  There is a lot about the process which is ambiguous.  Seek guidance from your PRC when you have any questions. Carefully read the instructions for PRCs and be prepared to help the candidate with his or her questions.  If you are unclear about the instructions, contact PTAC.
Expect questions.  Your PRC members may not work closely with you on a daily basis, so may not be well-versed in your librarianship, research, or service.  Be ready to clarify what you do and why, and think of this as good practice for the time that your papers will be reviewed by faculty outside the Library. Ask questions of the candidate, not only for your own understanding of his or her work, but also as a means of offering suggestions about how the candidate could better articulate his or her work as important faculty-level activities.
Seek meetings with your PRC at regular intervals throughout the year.  Four times per year is the suggested minimum. These meetings should focus on your recent and ongoing work in librarianship, research, and service. Contact your candidate to arrange meetings on a regular basis—we suggest four times a year.  Get updates on their work and talk with them about whether and how that work fits into a dossier.
You have the right to ask the University Librarian to replace your PRC members.  You need not give a reason. The continuance of involvement in a peer review committee is the prerogative of the candidate and may be based on a variety of factors.    As colleagues you will be understanding and helpful should this occur.  “It is nothing personal.”
In the case of unresolvable issues with other librarians or staff with whom you work, you may ask for advice from your PRC, but the avenue for pursuing resolution of these problems is most likely through Human Resources, the Library Grievance Committee or Library Administration. You may provide the candidate with advice to the extent you feel qualified to do, but it is not your responsibility to intervene in professional and personal issues.
Seek and incorporate the advice of your PRC regarding the content and quality of your dossier statements regarding librarianship, service and research.  In addition, remember that we have the services of the Writing Center available to work on the mechanics of writing. Advise your candidates on the content and quality of their statements related to librarianship, service and research.  (This includes not only the intellectual content, but the grammar, punctuation, and mechanics of writing the dossier where you feel comfortable doing so.)



Candidate PRC
Be aware of, and able to articulate the job for which you were hired. Be aware of the candidate’s expected role in library operations and the mission and goals of the library with regard to that position.
All assignments in the UL are not the same and reflect different aspects the profession.  But some guidelines exist for your use, e.g. Subject Specialist Roles and Responsibilities. Assist the candidate in their understanding of their responsibilities as a member of the faculty.  How their librarianship may be similar to other librarians and fits into the whole picture.



Candidate PRC
Seek guidance regarding your research agenda and progress.  While your PRC members may not be well-versed in the particular areas of your research, they can offer advice and direction on different types of research output and how those fit into a dossier. Advise candidates on their research agenda and progress. The candidate is free to pursue a research agenda that is not directly related to library studies as long as it supports the mission of the library, with outputs that appropriately reflect the scholarly nature of the research (such as peer-reviewed articles).
You may seek out a mentor who is not on your PRC but who can help by discussing your research agenda, reading drafts and/or suggesting publishing venues. Although it is perfectly fine to serve as a mentor for the candidate, your job as a PRC member is to evaluate the impact and cohesiveness of their scholarship.
Research output is essential for your promotion!  Incorporate research time into your workflow on a regular basis.  Work with your Unit Head to determine the scheduling of research times that complement your work style and the needs of the unit.  If you feel you are not allotted the research time you need to be productive, seek advice from your PRC. Strongly encourage the candidate to schedule and use research time in the manner that best suits the individual’s research style.  Problems in scheduling research time should be discussed with the Unit Head and with the University Librarian if necessary.
Regarding the quantity of research output, your dossier will be assessed on the extent to which it demonstrates a coherent body of important work, with a significant theme or themes that shows your evolution and growth as a scholar and your future potential contributions.  A large number of papers either on unrelated topics or on the same very narrow or inconsequential topic will not necessarily be viewed favorably by a P&T review committee. (see for more information) The PRC should feel free to discuss venues for the candidate’s research output with subject specialists in the related field.  They should not, however, dictate to the candidate how many, what type, or where the candidate should publish.



Candidate PRC
Service comprises 20% of your tenure case making it the smallest component, but not insignificant. Advise your candidate to strike an appropriate balance with their committee obligations.

Carefully consider the committees you wish to be involved with.  You are free to decline invitations to join committees which are outside of your librarianship, research area, or professional interest.  Within the Library this includes removing your name from ballots posted by NEVP if you are not interested in being voted onto a specific committee.  Once a year, there will be a call from the University Librarian’s office to accept new members to Library committees; review committee information ( and be prepared to volunteer. Seek advice from your PRC about appropriate committee appointments within the Library or on campus.

Advise your candidate about the most appropriate committees to align with their librarianship and research areas.
Professional Organizations:

At this point in your career, the purpose of participating in professional organizations is to get to know who the experts in your area of research who might be called upon to comment on your case in the future.

Seek advice of senior or subject librarians regarding appropriate organizational memberships and involvement for the candidate.
Professional Organizations:

In your work within these organizations, be mindful that conference presentations and posters are important means of increasing your visibility within the profession.  Seek opportunities that have high impact and fit well with your research and librarianship in order to build a strong professional reputation.

Seek advice of senior or subject librarians regarding appropriate opportunities for the candidate in this area.


Annual Evaluation:

Candidate PRC
“If you are concerned with written comments made by your Peer Review Committee in your annual evaluation, please contact the members of your Peer Review Committee to arrange a meeting to clarify any misunderstandings or misconceptions. Conversely, if you are pleased with your report, this is an appropriate vehicle for so stating.”

From the DossierCoverSheet0Y5Y


Ultimately, the PRC is charged with the evaluation of the candidate’s case.  This is not intended to be a mentoring relationship in the most common sense of the word.  Your job is to look at the candidate’s case and provide critical and accurate comments regarding progress toward tenure.  Being clear with the candidate about this relationship at the outset and effectively communicating this relationship can reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings.






“After meeting with your Peer Review Committee, if you feel that your accomplishments in the area/s of Librarianship, Service and/or Research and Publication, have not been represented accurately, please respond first to your Peer Review Committee with a written clarification. Your response should take into account any extenuating circumstances not recognized in the Peer Review Committee report such as administrative hardships in your unit and personality conflicts within the unit, etc.”

From the SignaturePage


Be aware that there may be other aspects of the candidate’s case that have not been revealed in prior discussions which may impact the case.


Submitted June 26, 2013 by Carissa Phillips and Lynne Rudasill

Approved by EC November 25, 2013