The letter should contain the Chair’s independent evaluation of the candidate’s teaching, scholarship, mentoring, service, and Extension if applicable, and should make a clear recommendation regarding the tenure and/or promotion of the candidate, supported by the reasons for it (APT Policy Section IV.A.1).
An explanation should be provided for negative votes and voluntary abstentions.
For joint appointments, the head of the secondary Unit should also provide a letter that is inserted immediately following the Department Chair’s letter.
The Chair’s letter is most useful when it places the performance of the candidate in the context of the Department or discipline, and it comments on the APT Review Committee’s report. It is particularly useful for informing the Committee about the criteria used to evaluate the candidate and the Chair’s assessment of the candidate with respect to those criteria. While the letter may summarize the basic information about the case, APT Review Committees expect the Chair’s interpretation of the information about the candidate: an honest and balanced assessment of the candidate’s scholarship or creativity, teaching, mentoring and service, and a clearly stated recommendation. If this recommendation differs from that of a Department APT Review Committee, it is crucial to provide reasons. The Chair should also attempt to explain reasons for negative faculty votes and abstentions when they are known. If the candidate filed an objection to an external evaluator who was subsequently chosen by the Unit, the Chair’s Letter should note this objection.