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Summary 2: Guide to the Preparation of a Dossier

By means of the following, the Council on Academic Personnel wishes to highlight many features which it finds desirable in a well-prepared dossier for an appointment or promotion case. This list is not intended to be exhaustive. The official and detailed description of what such dossiers should contain can be found in The Call. Faculty should also refer to APM 210, which clearly outlines the University’s standards regarding the evaluation of teaching, research, and service. “Teaching, research, professional and public service contributions that promote diversity and equal opportunity are to be encouraged and given recognition in the evaluation of the candidate’s qualifications” — Academic Personnel Manual Section 210-1-d.

I. Teaching

A. Student Evaluations for the Past 3 or 4 Years

A tabulation of the numerical rating achieved by the candidate and a comparison with the Department average, or the group average of all those teaching the same courses, is helpful.

B. Other Sources of Evaluation

Letters which have been impartially solicited from peers, faculty, teaching or research assistants, postdoctoral fellows, students and others may be used to supplement teaching evaluations from questionnaires. This applies especially to thesis advising, innovative teaching projects, clinical or workshop guidance, and other teaching activities outside the conventional classroom situation. Critical analyses of syllabi prepared by the candidate can be valuable.

C. Peer Evaluation

Evidence of peer evaluation should be reflected in the department ad-hoc and/or department letter, using the following methods:

1. Comparative Charts

  • Comparison of individual’s teaching with department average.

2. Visitations

  • Classroom visits by standing committee or ad-hoc committee.
  • Written evaluation by committee or individual letters of evaluation.

3. Letters from Peers

  • Solicited letters from individuals who may have co-taught with candidate.
  • Letters should be solicited by department, not candidate.

4. Review of Materials

  • Analysis by committee of course materials.
  • Review of syllabus.

5. Courses and other teaching activities that should be considered as contributing to UCLA’s diversity priorities should be clearly identified on the Data Summary Forms (annotated with “DIV” in parentheses after the course number or activity).


II. Research and/or Other Creative Activities

A. List of Publications and/or Other Evidence

Such lists should be in chronological order with some method employed to indicate items that are new since last review. Particular care should be taken to guard against double-counting. Each item should be identified by a label such as:

1. book;

2. book chapter;

3. full-length paper in a referred journal;

4. letter to the editor or communication;

5. abstract;

6. paper in a symposium digest;

7. report;

8. review; and

9. other evidence.

The labeling can be done item by item if the list is not subdivided, or subdivisions by categories can be used, in which case each sub-list should be chronological.

The first and last page of each published item should be noted. For items with joint authorship, it is helpful to indicate the degree of contribution by the candidate. Clear identification of items accepted but not yet in print, and of items submitted, is also desirable. Publications that contribute to UCLA’s diversity priorities should be clearly identified on the Data Summary Sheet (annotated with “DIV” in parentheses after the publication information).

B. Disaggregation of Collaborative Research

It is important to clearly identify the candidate’s role in each collaborated paper/publication.

C. List of Co-Authors

List UCLA faculty who have co-authored with the candidate for actions where a review committee might be appointed. This list should be indicated on the last page of the Bibliography in alphabetical order.

D. Departmental Review

The Department review of the relevant record should not be solely an advocacy document. Rather, it should be a balanced assessment of all salient features (positive and negative), including points brought out in the faculty meeting called to consider the case.

The portion of the Departmental review concerned with the candidate’s recent creative activity should be penetrating and should offer a critique of all major items. What is the significance? Is anything seminal? Are there known reactions from the candidate’s peers?

III. Letters of Evaluation

When it is appropriate for the review in question that letters of evaluation be solicited, the following procedure is recommended:

  1. the candidate is encouraged to submit a list of four or five external people from whom letters should be requested;
  2. the Chair should put together a supplemental external list not revealed to the candidate (these lists will sometimes overlap);
  3. a third list of reasonable size (perhaps six to eight names) should be prepared by judicious selection from the two partial lists: only the third list (not to be revealed to the candidate) should be included in the dossier with identification of the source of the individual entries;
  4. extramural letters should be solicited from all people whose names appear on this third list;
  5. the list of external letter-writers must clearly indicate if the letter writer originated from the candidate’s list, chair’s list or if suggested by both;
  6. when feasible, examples of the candidate’s recent creative activities should be sent to each referee who should be asked to make substantive comments about this evidence and to rank the candidate among other researchers in the field; and
  7. it is helpful if a biographical paragraph is attached to the letter from each referee, establishing the credentials of the referee (this can be from "Who’s Who" or some equivalent source).


Internal letters should be requested from knowledgeable sources, but with regard to the need to preserve a pool of faculty from which a review committee can be formed if necessary. Internal referees should only be selected if they can provide special information not available from other sources.

The candidate should be given the opportunity to indicate potential referees who might have a prejudice.

IV. Professional Competence and Activities

This is a category in which the actual activities vary markedly from discipline to discipline. It is often helpful to include a brief explanation of what constitutes pertinent activity in the given discipline (e.g., editorship, consulting), followed by a description of the candidate’s activities, their significance, and how the candidate’s level of activity compares to the norm. Activities that advance the diversity priorities of UCLA should be clearly identified (annotated with “DIV” in parentheses after the activity).


V. University Service

In addition to a tabulation of the committees on which the candidate has served, and the dates, it is helpful to point out which of these committee assignments have been more than normally important and what contributions the candidate made. If there is information available about the effectiveness with which the candidate discharged these committee assignments, it would be useful to include it. Service that advances the diversity priorities of UCLA should be clearly identified (annotated with “DIV” in parentheses after the service activity).


VI. Self-Evaluation Letter

Many departments ask the candidate to place in the file a written statement of the candidate’s own assessment of achievements in teaching, research, and service since the last review. It can help all reviewing agencies to understand the candidate’s philosophy of teaching, construction of new courses, the nature of collaborative research, etc. Guard against overlong self-statements. These letters can be very informative but they should be kept to a modest length (3 to 5 pages) and should not serve as a substitute for the penetrating departmental review.


VII. Adherence to Bylaw 55

The department should place a clear statement in the file which describes the faculty participation and voting procedures which were followed in reviewing the dossier. Voting on appraisals should be on a single closed ballot with one of three preferences checked (favorable, reservations, unfavorable). All other voting can be on a yes/no basis.

Revised 1/26/12

Web page updated 2/6/12