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Tips for Letters Evaluating the Effectiveness of Patient Care

The following tips are designed to help department chairs acquire appropriate letters evaluating the effectiveness of patient care by faculty seeking promotion and/or tenure.


(For clinicians seeking promotion/tenure only)

Department chairs must ensure that the Patient Care section of the dossier contains two to four letters attesting to the patient/clinical care effectiveness of the candidate during the period of time that is under review.

Letters from clinicians inside Penn State should be solicited directly by the department chair. Reviewers should be asked to provide a letter evaluating the effectiveness of the faculty member’s patient care.

Clinicians outside Penn State are contacted by the Office of Faculty Affairs and asked to provide a letter evaluating the effectiveness of the faculty member’s patient care. External letters are required only if the clinician interacts regularly with external clinicians, as in a referral-based practice or as a consultant.


  • Letters are required for clinicians undergoing review for promotion or tenure, including those undergoing provisional tenure reviews (clinicians inside Penn State are solicited for provisional reviews).
  • These letters should address only clinical care specifically and not the other mission areas in which a candidate participates; the letters should not make a recommendation on promotion and/or tenure.
  • Associate and full professors are considered to be “senior” faculty members and are eligible to provide these letters (inside Penn State only). Academic rank is not required for clinicians who are providing letters from outside Penn State.
  • Letters of thanks or appreciation are not allowed in the dossier (see AC-23 Administrative Guidelines III.C.10).
  • The letters are placed in the Patient Care section of the dossier and must be in the dossier when the candidate reviews and signs off on it.
  • Chairs who provide a template to the reviewers should not include evaluative language in the template. Chairs should instruct the evaluators to provide their own evaluation of the candidate‚Äôs performance.