Tenure Application Cover Letter Sample

Dear Dr. Stephenson,

I am writing to apply for the open tenure-track faculty position in the English Department at New Parkland Univeristy. Currently, I’m an English faculty member at Cslifornia Regional Community College. I have a Ph.D. in English along with nine years of experience teaching English to college students.

At the community college, I teach English 101, English 102, Creative Writing, World Literature and Composition courses. These classes are transferable to a four-year program if students choose to pursue their bachelor’s degrees. I design the curriculum, tests and course syllabuses and present lectures to teach the material.

As a faculty member, I have been fortunate to have published three books during my tenure along with some academic articles in English Journals. I would enjoy teaching at a University where I could teach more advanced undergraduate as well as graduate English courses and I have some very good ideas about possible courses. For example, I would like to teach a class on Chaucer in the original Renaissance English.

I would be a great addition to the faculty of the English department. My curriculum vitae is enclosed along with a list of my published works. I look forward to speaking with you in person.


Dr. Stephen Shephard

I’m not sure exactly why, but professors rarely publicly post their tenure applications or promotion applications. Google searches will yield few examples, and usually the applications are not even shared within the school (for example, assistant professors drafting their own applications often have to walk the halls asking for examples). I understand the fact that applications are personnel-related, but they have a reasonably large number of readers within an institution and are hardly “private” documents.

Needless to say, this tendency to suppress information conflicts with my blogger’s ethos, which is to leave no thought unpublished. Indeed, I spent a couple dozen hours working on each of my applications, and there are very, very few projects since 2005 where I’ve spent that much time preparing a document but have not shared the resulting document online. So I’m going to overcome the norm that P&T applications aren’t publicly shared and post my application for tenure and promotion from assistant to associate professor (from 2008) as well as my application for full professor that I submitted last year:

* 2007 Application for Promotion and Tenure plus Exhibits A, B, C and E (Exhibit D may have some confidential information, so I’m omitting it)

* 2011 Application for Promotion to Full Professor

I also submitted my CV as part of the package. You can see my latest version here.

For those of you who stumble across this post from random Google searches, I hope my examples provide you with some thoughts about how to draft your own tenure application or promotion application. Obviously, you should use your own institution’s application form if one exists (we didn’t have such forms in the law school), and you should conform your application to the P&T standards that govern you—which, especially for those of you outside law school, are almost certainly very different than the standards that applied to me. So my applications aren’t meant as exemplars, but I do hope they provide some inspirations.

Ultimately, P&T applications should tell a story–your story. The story of how you’ve added value to the many disparate communities that you engage with as a professor. The story of how you will continue to do all of that and more with tenure or a promotion. Tenure and promotion aren’t destinations; they are milestones in a career-long journey that, once achieved, should help you achieve even greater heights. If your application tells that story, you’ve increased your odds of success irrespective of the application’s outline or form.

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