For many academics, the tenure process is something of a mystery even after you have gone through it. PhD students don’t hear much about it. Assistant professors are told what to prepare but they know little about the other elements in a tenure case. For example, they have no idea of the critical role that the department letter plays or how detailed it is — not to mention the same for the external letters. In my experience, department letters are in the 15-20 page range (single spaced). Helpful outside letters are usually 3-4 pages each and go into substantial detail on papers — this is a especially important indicator of impact since papers have typically not been out long enough to gather citations. It is in that context that I prepared this presentation for the STR doctoral consortium. I hope it is useful to some of you.
Contributed by Russ Coff