Like most of you, I’m sure, I write a fair number of recommendation letters for students. The vast majority are for internal programs (usually study abroad) because such things abound at this university. However, I still write a number of letters for fellowships, summer programs, graduate schools, and so forth.
Never ever have I been asked to share these letters with anyone. However, today I got an email from a colleague (outside of my department, who I don’t know personally) who told me that a letter I’m currently working on must be approved by her office before it goes out. Is this common practice?
I’ve felt pressure before – wondering if my students’ success hinges on the quality of my letter – but the pressure (tinged with outrage) that I feel this time is qualitatively different.