“A narrative statement indicates a candidate’s sense of their scholarship of teaching and learning; scholarship of research and creative accomplishments; and service and the scholarship of service to the University, society, and the profession. The purpose of this statement is not so much to call attention to achievements that are listed elsewhere in the dossier as it is to afford candidates the opportunity to place their work and activities in the context of their overall goals and agendas. Candidates for promotion and tenure were encouraged (but not required) to describe how the events of 2020/21 (e.g., COVID-19 pandemic, societal/racial tensions, political unrest) impacted their work, and the steps they took to manage these impacts, in the narrative that accompanies their dossier for promotion and/or tenure. We encourage candidates to be as succinct as possible. The narrative statement should not exceed 2,000 words; this word length will be reduced to 1,600 words when there are no candidates pursuing tenure who were in their probationary period in calendar year 2020.” (from Administrative Guidelines for AC23 Promotion and Tenure Procedures and Regulations).
- Ask colleagues in your program/field to share their narrative statements with you. Also, once you have a draft of your statement, ask your division head and/or colleagues in your program/field to give you feedback.
- Do not put off writing your narrative until the last minute. It is a good idea to give yourself at least one month to develop your statement, especially if you plan to seek input from colleagues. It is never too early to ask colleagues for examples of their narratives.
- The narrative is the first personal item in the dossier and appears immediately after the cover sheets and the College and division policies. As such, this statement is the committee members’ first impression of you. Consider how you want to present yourself and how best to frame the rest of your dossier.
- Keep in mind that the majority of committee members at the various levels will be outside of your discipline. You should therefore try to avoid overly technical terminology or, if necessary, provide explanations of the terms so that those outside your field can understand your work.
- If there are elements of your teaching, scholarship, and/or service that you find difficult to capture in the limited “just the facts” entries of your dossier, the narrative is a good place to expand on these items. Likewise, if there are challenges that are unique to your field—both in teaching and in research—this is your opportunity to explain them and, if applicable, to detail the ways in which you address these challenges.
- Don’t limit your narrative to past achievements; give committees a sense of your future plans. NOTE: In tenure-year and promotion to Professor reviews, “Manuscripts in Progress” are not permitted in the “Scholarship of Research and Creative Accomplishments” section; however, you can mention these projects in your narrative statement.
- The levels of review are intended to be formative. As you progress through the P&T process, re-read your administrative letters from previous reviews (copies of which will be provided to you at the close of each cycle). When constructive feedback is noted, explain how you have attempted to address these issues.
- Make sure that you provide consistent information in your narrative statement and in your dossier. For example, if you mention in your narrative that you have published four peer-reviewed articles and presented at seven national conferences, make sure that these numbers correspond with the entries in your dossier. These discrepancies tend to occur during the revision process; candidates will sometimes update one section without remembering to update the other.
Sample Narrative Statements
Sample Narrative Statements are available on the Penn State Altoona Full-time Faculty Orientation site.