Sample 2-GoodExample

I think this is a great letter.
Sample Letter #2
Dear Prof. Wildermuth-My colleague xxx tells me that he is a candidate for a faculty position at the
University of Utah Law School. He asked that I write a reference for him, and I
am happy to do so. I believe he is an excellent candidate, and I recommend him
to you without reservation.
I am Chair of the Politics Department at Pomona College, a small elite
undergraduate liberal arts college in Southern California. With the strong
support of my ten-person department, I invited xx to join the Politics faculty in
September 2009 to fill a one-year position teaching in American politics and lawrelated courses. We knew xx because he was an outstanding student in the
department in the 1990s, and we had observed his post-graduation success as an
attorney and legal academic. We were delighted that he accepted our invitation
and moved from Georgetown to Claremont.
xx has exceeded our high expectations on every dimension.
Most importantly, he has been an outstanding teacher. We assigned him to teach
two introductory courses in American politics, our two-semester sequence in
Constitutional Law, and an advanced course of his choosing. He took on these
responsibilities with typical ambition, reaching well beyond conventional
textbooks to select challenging and diverse materials for his syllabi, organizing
his content well and devising assignments for students in each of the courses.
He made quite a splash: the word of mouth among students was immediately strong
and positive, and his courses filled quickly. I have read all student
evaluations for these courses and they are overwhelmingly positive, noting his
ability to lecture clearly and helpfully, lead productive discussions, respond to
questions in ways that advanced student understanding, and meet with students
outside of class as necessary to help them do productive and successful work. He
returned student work quickly and thoughtfully (one student commented that xx's
response to one short essay was longer than the essay itself). He developed an
ingenious seminar on "Politics' Legal Victims" that used in-depth reading on
diverse cases to help students understand the complex interactions between
politics and the law. Students have learned tremendously from him, and I
frequently get requests that we keep him beyond this year.
Xx has also continued to do productive work as a legal scholar while in the
department, most recently on Constitutional issues raised by the filibuster in
the US Senate. Though I am certainly not a lawyer, I have some modest background
training in Constitutional law, and I have been struck by xx's work. He is
clearly very smart and well-trained, but perhaps more importantly he is an
incisive and demanding analyst of the Constitution and the law. In the
filibuster case, this has led him to what for me is an unexpectedly forceful
legal analysis of what the Constitution requires. I look forward to watching his
continuing development as a legal scholar, and I envy the department that has him
as a scholarly colleague.
xx has been a valued colleague beyond his teaching and scholarship. He has been
generous with his contribution to the day-to-day business of the college and the
department: meeting with and advising students, giving talks, helping keep things
running. He has done this with good humor and modesty, recognizing the
limitations of a short-term, untenured appointment in the department, but he has
exceeded all expectations for short-term visitors. He has quickly established
his value to his colleagues and students, and he and his family have become
familiar and welcome sights on our residential campus.
My colleagues in the Politics Department pressed me last year to work hard to
gain authorization for a second year appointment for xx. I did, the college
found the resources to enable me to make the offer, and we have been very glad
that he accepted and stayed. I am frustrated that we cannot keep him longer -the college requires that a tenure-track position be filled with a PhD in
political science -- but I am glad that we will have him for these two years.
I am also glad to hear that there is strong interest in xx among law schools this
year. He is a gifted scholar with a strong commitment to a career in academia,
and academia needs more people like him.
There is a lot more I could tell you about xx, because I have known him and his
family for nearly 15 years. Suffice it to say that I recommend him to you with
enthusiasm and confidence.
I wish you well in your deliberations. Please do not hesitate to contact me if
there's anything else I can do to assist you.
Professor and Chair, Politics Department XX College