Promotion Letter Template

Provided by Fran Berman - 1998


It's been my pleasure to write a number of letters in support of your merit raises and promotions. It has been striking to me how successful the CSE faculty is and how many kinds of contributions we provide to the various research sub-communities. I feel privileged to be in such a strong department.

While we are not quite finished with academic files yet, it occurred to me that you might find it helpful to see the template that Jeanne and I have been using to write the letters. Knowing how you will be assessed at UCSD should be helpful as you proceed from level to level. Included here is a general template with each of the categories used to assess your progress. Thanks for all of your help with the letters this year.

Fran Berman
CSE Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, 1998-99



Merit Advancement/Promotion of (your name here!) from (current level) to (next level).

Recommended Action

Written by the Department Chair and Vice Chair


This part gives a short history of your career.

Usually included:

  • Where you graduated and year
  • Current level position
  • Recommended level position
  • Broad topic of Research
  • Anything else of note might go here.

Summary of This File

The file is summarized here. Mostly it has to do with describing what the attachments are, etc. The Chair/Vice-Chair will refer to the Ad Hoc letter and other materials.

Published Work For This Review Period:

The letter will discuss both the quality and the quantity of the work. We are interested in refereed journal articles, refereed conference papers, book chapters, unrefereed conference and workshop papers, and invited keynote addresses. It is important to have the acceptance rates of refereed conference papers if available, as conference papers in other disciplines are often unrefereed.

Joint authorship issues may also be discussed in this section. We need to demonstrate that there is a body of work that constitutes a significant contribution to your research community and for which you are primarily responsible. If you publish repeatedly with a co-author, an argument may need to be made that your contribution is substantive. A way to diffuse potential problems is to have a diverse set of co-authors.

Research Contributions

We will include a description of the research performed during the merit period (or more generally for a career review such as tenure or associate-to-full). It is extremely helpful if you can provide us with a description of the significant research contributions as judged by your community. The more detail you can provide us, the better apt we will be to capture what is really important to your research colleagues. You may also want to provide an additional (separate) description of your research contributions for CAP in your file.

Grants and Honors or the Review Period

We will summarize your grants and describe any honors (prizes, awards, etc.) for this period.

Contributions to Education

In this section, we give your CAPES for the last review period and describe any other activities (course development, student advising, etc.) relevant to education. Occasionally, we need to explain poor CAPE scores or lack of student advisees. You can help your case by making sure that your activity is above threshold here.


We will describe both your departmental service and service to your research community. Participation in departmental and university committees is relevant to your service at UCSD. Program committees, award committees, steering committees, review committees, etc. are relevant to service to your research community.

Comments of the External Reviewers

For career promotions (tenure, associate-to-full, full 4-to-full 5), outside letters will be solicited. You will be allowed to suggest some reviewers and your departmental ad hoc committee and other faculty will select others. It is very helpful if these letters are positive. Negative letters must be explained in the departmental letter, but one negative letter, which can be explained, will not destroy your case.

You can help generate positive comments by making the most senior members of your research community aware of your work. In addition, it is helpful for CSE faculty to be aware of who the most senior people in your area are. What are the top 5-10 departments in your area? Who are the most important researchers? This is valuable information for the department in assessing your case.

Consultation with CSE Faculty

If you are at a career promotion, the vote will be reported. A weak vote (which is generally interpreted as non-supportive) will have to be explained in this letter. In general, it is unusual to have a unanimous vote.


A summarizing paragraph reinforcing the Chair's recommendation for the file.