School of Nursing: Standard On Writing An Appointment, Promotion, And Tenure Essay

Unit Standard


School of Nursing: Standard On Writing An Appointment, Promotion, And Tenure Essay



To provide guidance to faculty members writing appointment, promotion, and tenure (APT) essays.


This applies to all faculty who are required to write an essay in which they are to convey their accomplishments and the professional impact(s) of the accomplishments within the areas of research, teaching and service.


The most important part of the dossier you submit to APT for promotion and/or tenure is the essay you write organizing and reflecting on your accomplishments and goals. The following suggestions will assist you to complete this essay in a way that will best showcase your work. Both your division head and the APT chair are available to help you and to review your essay before it is submitted.

Your essay should be no more than 5 pages (single-spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins). You should use the School of Nursing's Standard on Faculty Appointment Promotion and Tenure. You should look for information about the rank you are seeking, specific criteria for promotion, and examples of items to include on performance, impact, and recognition in the areas of teaching, research, and/or service.

Purpose of essay

The central purpose of this essay is to showcase and interpret your work for reviewers: to tell the members of APT and external reviewers what you want them to see, and how you wish them to see all the things you have done. This essay is your opportunity to show reviewers what distinguishes you and what the center of your work is: what holds it together. This essay allows you to help reviewers to read your vitae, since a vitae is not a self-evident document. You must tell your reviewers how you want them to see the items listed there, without repeating what is on the vitae. For example, do you want them to see a certain publication as a contribution primarily to teaching, research, or service: as an example of knowledge generation, integration, application, or dissemination? In addition to your vitae (formatted as using the recommended UNC-CH format), append only those documents that will best support your interpretations and that represent work since your last review. For example, you do not have to append copies of the syllabi from every course you have taught, or of every paper you have published, but only those syllabi or papers that will best show what you want to show.

Writing template

You should organize your essay using the following template:

Introductory paragraph

Area of excellence or of primary review

  • Performance
  • Impact
  • Recognition

First area of competence or secondary review (if applicable)

  • Performance
  • Impact
  • Recognition

Second area of competence or of secondary review (if applicable)

  • Performance
  • Impact
  • Recognition

In the introductory paragraph(s), you should state your area of excellence or area of primary review. Faculty on the tenure-track must show excellence in one and competence in the other two of the following domains: teaching, research, and service (in our school, practice is reflected in the service domain). Faculty on the fixed-term track (clinical or research) must show excellence in the domain in which their primary responsibility lies. You might also include here a broad statement that distinguishes your work: its past and future directions. For example, you might describe your scholarship as directed toward the development, implementation, and evaluation of distance technologies for undergraduate nursing education, or your research program as directed toward the management of symptoms in HIV/AIDS patients. The idea is to identify and name the heart of the work around which your efforts in the School of Nursing have been organized.

In the next section, you should present a brief but comprehensive review of your performance in your stated area of excellence or of primary review. Summarize what you have done - that is, your performance - over the years since your last review and interpret and document the impact of your work and the recognition you have received for your work. When presenting evidence of teaching, provide a
summary of your teaching including your role in the course, your self-evaluation of your teaching, and include student and peer evaluations as described in the School of Nursing's APT guidelines. In order to maintain brevity, refer to appended documentation, such as certain publications, syllabi, student and peer evaluations, and awards. Once you have referred to any one of these items, you should not refer to them again in other sections. That is, for example, you must decide whether a certain accomplishment of yours (a published paper, a video, a protocol) is primarily an example of a contribution to research, teaching, or service. You should not keep referring to the same item to mean different things.

In the next section of your essay, you should move to a brief but, again, comprehensive review of your performance in the first area of competence (not excellence) or of secondary review, or the one that occupies the more significant portion of your time and for which you have the most documentation. For example, if more of your time is spent in teaching than in service, teaching should be discussed in this section. Again, refer to the School of Nursing's APT guidelines to summarize and interpret your work, with references to supporting documentation you submit. Faculty on the fixed-term track are not required to discuss any areas of their work other than the one in which their primary responsibility lies. But they may choose to do so if they have accomplishments they wish to show-case in these other areas, or if they have responsibilities in more than one domain.

In the final section, you should summarize and interpret your performance in the second area of competence or of secondary review.

You should end your essay with a summary of your goals for the future and of the direction you will take your work. You might also include here the significance your goals have for the School, the University, nursing, and/or health care.

You should not hesitate to ask your division head or the APT chair for guidance.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

Unit Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Primary Contact

  • Mary R. Lynn, APT chair

Important Dates

  • Effective Date and title of Approver: 1/10/2000, APT
  • Revised: 8/03; 1/2010; 2/2020

Approved by:

Mary H. Palmer

APT chair

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Article ID: 132431
Thu 4/8/21 9:31 PM
Wed 12/6/23 11:35 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
School of Nursing
Issuing Officer
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Next Review
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07/28/2023 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
07/28/2020 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
07/28/2020 12:00 AM
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07/28/2020 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
01/10/2000 11:00 PM