Asking for an endorsement from a faculty member can be a daunting task. Below you will find a few strategies and templates to use when approaching tenure-line faculty.
Not sure if a certain faculty member is tenure line research faculty?
Check the department website. The faculty member listing will cite the individual as an assistant professor, an associate professor, or simply a professor. This usually means that the individual is tenure line. Program and other association directors and advisors are also usually considered tenure-line faculty. When contacting the professor, be sure to iterate that you require a tenure-line faculty endorsement. If they do not fall within this category, then they will let you know.
Not sure if the faculty member remembers who you are?
Be mindful that faculty members have a lot on their plate, sometimes teaching up to 4 classes per semester. So, although you took their course just last semester, often times they need a little reminder of the context in which they came to know you. Starting your email with a small recap on your relationship with the faculty member avoids embarrassment on both ends if the person does not quite remember your personality and accomplishments.
Not sure if the faculty member will endorse you?
Be strategic, be polite, and JUST ASK! The information given in your request for endorsement allows the professor to see you in a more positive light, no matter your past relationship. Giving them clear reason to endorse you is a prime strategy in developing an effective endorsement request. Give them a snippet of the side of you that they were not able to see before.
Email Endorsement Template
Feel free to use the following email template in requesting a faculty endorsement. Type up your email using the structure provided below. Be mindful that the faculty member may request to speak with you in person. This template also requires that you consider and incorporate the two questions asked on the self-nomination form:
- Why do you want to become a member of Students for Humanities?
- What would you like to work on if you were to become a member of this association?
Start the email (as all emails) with a salutation, as in a letter:
Dear Dr. [Faculty last name],
Paragraph one: “self-introduction”:
In three or four sentences, introduce yourself (your name, major, and class standing) and your relationship with the professor--how you came to know the faculty member and the professional relationship between you two. Explain the UTHC program to which you’re applying and state that the process requires an endorsement from a UTK tenure-line faculty member. End the paragraph with a polite request that the faculty member consider endorsing you for the position.
Paragraph two: “self-endorsement”
In three or four sentences, give 2-3 reasons why you are a good candidate for nomination. These may include explaining how well you work in a group setting and therefore desire involvement in a humanities-based community; explaining your accomplishments in creative/classroom research and therefore desire more support in pursuing your academic and research interests; and/or explaining what you would like to work on if you were to become a member of this association. Be specific. This paragraph will give the professor a look at your personality, accomplishments, and aspirations.
Paragraph three: “In Closing”
Close with a polite request for a short meeting with the professor during office hours, indicating the days you are free to come by with the application to talk about the position and your qualifications. Indicate that you understand that the faculty member is very busy and that you won’t take up much of their time.
Be sure to thank the professor for their time and consideration.
End the email (as with all emails) with a closing:
[Your Full Name]