Burnett, Hoffman Co-author Op-Ed on Letters of Recommendation in Academia
Posted June 14, 2022
Rebecca Burnett, Professor Emerita in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, and Courtney Hoffman, assistant director of the Writing and Communication Program and Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow, co-authored an op-ed titled “Fixing the Broken Letter-of-Recommendation Process” in Inside Higher Ed.
In the article, Burnett, Hoffman, and their co-authors examine how letters of recommendation in academia have become “a common site for problems of increased inequity at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels.” To combat this inequity, they propose a collaborative, five-step process for writing letters of recommendation.
“For us, collaboration occurs as a way for both writer and applicant to determine how and what to say about the applicant,” they write. “While the writer ultimately controls the final content of a letter, including the applicant in the process of composing the letter allows for the creation of a narrative about the applicant that fits with the overall construction of their professional identity through their materials.”
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Cassidy Chreene Whittle