Tips on Preparation of Dossier

Preparing yourself for promotion

  • Start building your dossier early and update it regularly. Review the current call letter annually. Gather copies of your employment letter, departmental and/or divisional requirements, annual reviews, reviews of teaching, awards, etc. It is easier to exclude something you don’t need than to include something you don’t have.
  • Be aware of department and divisional expectations. They are used at all levels of review.
  • Keep your resume or CV current.
  • Examine your progress regularly—paying special attention to your evaluations. Are you on track? Are corrections necessary/desirable? Have you responded to your annual reviews?
  • Increase and maintain your visibility in your field and develop outside contacts. (These will be very helpful when it comes to getting strong outside evaluation letters).
  • Nurture your professional associations and work to establish a national/international reputation within your field. Seek positions of responsibility; participate in conference/workshop planning, Research Review boards, etc. Focus on your strengths, look for opportunity and don’t spread yourself too thin. Your reputation also is influenced by those you publish with.
  • Your teaching is important. While good teaching alone will not earn you promotion at MU, unacceptable teaching may very well impede, if not prevent it. Teaching is used in the broad sense here and includes advising and graduate student mentoring.
  • Seek mentoring both within and outside your professional area. Seek the advice of others and network with colleagues in your department, division, across campus and in your professional organization.

Preparing the materials

  • Be well organized.
  • Do not procrastinate.
  • Follow directions. Check the provost's office call document annually for changes in instructions. Include everything asked for in guidelines in the format specified. Don't make committees dig and try to provide their own interpretations.
  • Err in the direction of providing more information than is necessary. It's easy to "miss" important contributions sometimes due to the way they are presented.

Discussing your work and accomplishments

  • Never assume your accomplishments are obvious to others.
  • Update significant new accomplishments and take time to elaborate the significance of accomplishments.
  • Provide detail to support your unique contributions.
  • Subdivide publications into types of works with separate headings (e.g., archival articles, book chapters, notes, letters, conference proceedings, etc.)
  • Know your strengths and make sure that they are emphasized in your vita and list all of them completely. Don't leave anything out for people to infer. If your strengths are rather unusual in your field, your department may not even be aware of them or think of them as strengths unless you put them in your vita.
  • Provide as much context as needed for others to appreciate your contributions. For example, if getting a paper into a specific conference, or writing a "standard" is a major accomplishment, provide documentation so that committees can properly judge the worth.
  • Be accurate (do not exaggerate or mislead).
  • Don’t give short shrift to your work-in-progress and where it fits in your future research agenda. The committee wants to see evidence that you will continue to maintain high research productivity after promotion.
  • Emphasize professional service activities and awards that reflect your national and/or international reputation within your discipline.
  • Try to make sure your dossier manifests institutional service at all relevant levels: department, college, and campus. 

Understanding the process

  • Remember that the final decision is not made at the department, college/school, dean or the campus committee levels. So, a “no” vote at one level does not mean the process is finished. If you feel you have a case, you should persevere. 
  • Don’t quit on yourself. If you receive significant negative votes or recommendations at any level, ask why and seek a personal reconsideration to address the reasons provided. Focus only on the concerns raised. At the reconsideration distribute information supporting your position on these concerns. Even if the results remain negative following your reconsideration, add the materials presented to your dossier so they can be viewed at levels above.
  • Votes and recommendations at each level are considered independently and all are advisory to the chancellor who makes the ultimate decision.
  • Who we hire, who we promote, and who we retain determines who we are and the future of our academy.

Resources