Skip to main content
Navigate Up
Sign In


How Do I Prepare a Dossier for Promotion or Tenure?

Almost every discussion of promotion and tenure begins with the word “dossier.” Indeed, all candidates for promotion and tenure at the University of Colorado School of Medicine must prepare a comprehensive dossier before promotion or tenure can be considered.

What is a dossier?

According to various dictionaries, a dossier is “a file containing detailed records on a particular person or subject.” A dossier may also be defined as “the accumulation of records, reports, miscellaneous pertinent data and documents bearing on an individual’s subject of study or investigations.”

A dossier is more complicated than a simple curriculum vitae; in fact, the CV is just one component of a complete promotion dossier. Dossiers also include internal and external letters of reference, promotion matrix tables and learner evaluations. Most importantly, dossiers also include carefully written narratives that explain the faculty member’s activities, effectiveness and accomplishments as a clinician, educator or scholar.

All dossiers are submitted electronically, using ByCommittee®, an electronic submission and routing platform. For more information about the content and organization of dossiers, please see the Guide to Building a Dossier for Promotion and Tenure.

When should dossier preparation begin?

Ideally, you should begin to prepare your dossier during your second or third year as Assistant Professor. Dossiers are unwieldy documents; preparation requires time and is dependent upon careful documentation of your teaching, research, service and clinical activities over several years. Dossier preparation is, therefore, a continuous process. Preparation should begin early, with guidance provided by your chair and mentors.

When should dossiers be reviewed? By whom?

Your dossier, even in its earliest stages, should be reviewed periodically by your mentor(s). Also, you should ask your department chair, division head or other academic supervisor to review your promotion dossier periodically, more frequently as you near promotion. Assistant professors, please note: Your draft promotion dossier must be presented and reviewed during your mid-course comprehensive review that takes place during your third or fourth year in rank.[1]

What are the deadlines for submission of dossiers?

The deadline for submission of all dossiers (appointments, promotions and tenure awards) to the Office of Faculty Affairs is December 31st of each year. However, each department has an earlier deadline for submission of dossiers for review by the Departmental Advisory (Promotion and Tenure Review) Committee; these deadlines vary by department.

How long should my dossier be?

Ideally, your entire promotion or tenure dossier will not exceed 100 pages, excluding your curriculum vitae and your internal and external letters of reference. You should exceed this limit only if you feel that a more extensive dossier is necessary to ensure adequate consideration and evaluation of your accomplishments. 

How is a dossier organized?

In addition to your CV and letters of reference, your dossier will include separate portfolios that summarize your work in teaching, clinical care, and research or scholarship, as appropriate. Each portfolio, in turn, will include three components:  1) your teaching, research or scholarship and clinical narratives; 2) your personalized “promotion matrix tables;” and 3) teaching evaluations, letters of commendation or other relevant supporting documents.

How long should each narrative be?

Each candidate for promotion or tenure must provide a narrative summary of his or her accomplishments in teaching, research or scholarship and clinical practice or service. While there is no minimum or maximum length for your narratives, we suggest preparing succinct narratives (which may include full paragraphs, charts or bulleted lists) of 3-6 pages for each area. In each area, your narrative should focus specifically on the scope of your activities, your accomplishments and successes, and the impact and importance of your work. Be sure to include a description of each of the activities and accomplishments that you have listed in your personalized promotion matrix. Provide links to all supporting documentation (such as curricula, journal publications, policy papers or other relevant products of scholarship). For more information about preparing narratives, please refer to later sections of the Guide to Building a Dossier for Promotion and Tenure. Also, consider attending a Promotion 101 workshop, which focuses on dossier preparation (

Are there documents that should not be included in my dossier?

You should not include reprints of original articles or course syllabi. Instead, you can include links to these documents. If you have questions about how to create links from PubMed for your publications, please contact the Health Sciences Library. Try to limit the number of letters and emails from colleagues, patients, trainees and others, including only those that are substantive. Also, it is usually not helpful to include announcements of your lectures, slides prepared for your lectures, meeting agendas or copies of awards.

How will I know when my dossier has been reviewed?

Once your dossier has been reviewed by the Faculty Promotions Committee, your department will be notified of the outcome of the review. Your department should then provide this information to you. After approval by the Faculty Promotions Committee, all promotion recommendations are forwarded to the School of Medicine Executive Committee and then to the Chancellor’s Office for final approval. Tenure awards are also subject to approval by the Board of Regents.

1According to the Laws of the Regents and the Rules of the School of Medicine, each Assistant Professor must undergo a comprehensive academic review in the third or fourth year in rank. The comprehensive review should resemble a “mock” promotion or tenure review and should include a detailed evaluation of the faculty member’s promotion dossier, which must be prepared by the faculty member. Following the mid-course review, a written evaluation must be provided to the faculty member; this evaluation must comment on areas of strength and areas needing improvement and provide an overall assessment of the faculty member’s progress toward promotion or tenure.