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Some colleges and universities require external reviewers when candidates apply for tenure and promotion. Perhaps we can maintain a list here or find another way to aid those who need to find external reviewers at specific ranks.

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Nice idea Robin. Happy to throw my name into the ring as my university values this type of service. 

I currently hold the role of Professor of Interaction Design. In American parlance, I would be considered the Dean of Design for my University. I lead Ngā Pae Māhutonga, a design school which holds a top 100 world QS ranking in Creative Arts and Design.  

Prior to my move to NZ, I was a Professor of Design at MassArt in the United States. I am comfortable assessing both candidates for promotion and tenure at free-standing art and design institutions and research-focused Universities. 

I am a NASAD evaluator, but have not done much service in this area now that I live overseas. 

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I like that idea! I wonder if there's a way we can do this, make it somewhat rigorous, update it, and make it relevant to subspecialties?

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I have done a number of these of late, many times for people I don't know well at all or never met. I felt like it was an honor to be asked to review someone's materials and took it very seriously.

Good thread,
James

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I've performed 30+ external reviews for tenure and promotion over the past two decades. I have a couple of ideas for how this process can be improved.

Requesting institutions should always send the reviewer the department's tenure and promotion guidelines, so that the reviewer has context for the review (requirements, norms, expectations, departmental and collegiate culture, etc.).

The faculty member (or chair, or dean, or whomever solicits the review) should try to find a strong fit between the candidate and the reviewer – type of institution, faculty rank, sub-disciplinary affinity, career accomplishments, scholarly emphasis, etc. 

If invited to review, requesting institutions and promotion candidates must recognize that the reviewer will bring their expertise, judgment and opinions to bear on the assessment – for better or worse it's part objective and part subjective. 

Finally, the requesting institutions should pay an honorarium to the reviewer. This is not a "pay for positive assessment" condition; it's an acknowledgement of the reviewer's time and effort spent doing service to another institution. Look at it this way from initial hire to tenure decision: search costs (flights, hotel, faculty time, etc.), start up costs to new hire (moving expenses, training, mentoring, research investment, equipment, furniture, etc.), pay and benefits over years until decision (5-6 years' worth of salary, health care, retirement) – this probably equals $500,000! Now does a $250 honorarium sound unreasonable? (In my experience, private universities are more likely to pay honoraria than public institutions.) 

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In the YSU Department of Art, we have decided to completely eliminate this requirement from tenure and promotion consideration.

While this benefits me, I was personally against the decision as I require objective feedback to improve myself.

Not having it has done me a great disservice throughout the entire tenure and promotion process this year. IMHO it has enabled my colleagues to take less stock in my work, accomplishments, and impact. 

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On 2/27/2018 at 1:08 PM, Dan Wong said:

I like that idea! I wonder if there's a way we can do this, make it somewhat rigorous, update it, and make it relevant to subspecialties?

this is really an important issue in our departmental guidelines and I think across the university. communication design is so broad that you have to find reviewers who have appropriate experiences to review work otherwise this is doing a disservice to all involved. we had changed our guidelines to reflect this almost a decade ago and it has served us well. 

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On 3/7/2018 at 11:30 AM, RJ Thompson said:

In the YSU Department of Art, we have decided to completely eliminate this requirement from tenure and promotion consideration.

While this benefits me, I was personally against the decision as I require objective feedback to improve myself.

Not having it has done me a great disservice throughout the entire tenure and promotion process this year. IMHO it has enabled my colleagues to take less stock in my work, accomplishments, and impact. 

i'm curious as to the response to this at the university level. I know of some departments (only at private institutions) where this happens and in departments with such diverse disciplines faculty are not experts nor understand the nuances of all disciplines, so external letters are useful to contextualize work within the field. The concerns you voice are ones I would have for any colleague. 

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This is a great topic, given that I am in the process of doing this now. I was given a list of Peer Reviewed School and told to look for people of higher rank and with similar research interests. This was not so easy!

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This is a great idea Robin. I am joining the conversation late; so, I am not sure where you or DI is in the process of putting together the list. I would be happy to add my name to it and to serve the design community this way.

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