A guide for writing anti-racist tenure and promotion letters


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2 Scopus citations


In a two-page tenure letter, senior faculty can make or break a career. This power has an outsized impact on Black academics and other scholars with marginalized identities, who are awarded tenure at lower rates than their white colleagues. We suggest that this difference in tenure rates is due to an implicit, overly narrow definition of academic excellence that does not recognize all the contributions that Black scholars make to their departments, institutions and academia in general. These unrecognized contributions include the (often invisible) burdens of mentoring and representation that these scholars bear disproportionately. Here we propose a set of practical steps for writing inclusive, anti-racist tenure letters, including what to do before writing the letter, what to include (and not include) in the letter itself, and what to do after writing the letter to further support the candidate seeking tenure. We are a group of mostly non-Black academics in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) based in the United States who are learning about and working toward Black liberation in academia; we hope these recommendations will help ongoing efforts to move toward an inclusive academia that appreciates and rewards diverse ways of doing, learning and knowing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere79892
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Neuroscience


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