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Office of Faculty Affairs : Distinguished Professor Guidelines



The Distinguished Professorship is created to recruit and recognize persons who have made a significant impact upon their field through scholarship, creativity, and leadership. This program shall facilitate the recruitment of the most distinguished scholars in the world.

Criteria for Appointment

Criteria for appointment as a Distinguished Professor are discipline-specific. Standards of excellence are not the same for a physical scientist, a creative artist, or a social scientist, for example. The criteria used for nomination and appointment within a particular academic field must be ones that recognize only the highest level of attainment in the field. The specification of such criteria and verification that the candidate's work meets or exceeds them is a major responsibility of the person(s) nominating scholars for consideration as Distinguished Professors.

The criteria should reflect recognition of (1) outstanding scholarly/creative contributions; (2) widely regarded leadership status within the nominee's field; (3) recognition by arbiters of the highest level of intellectual eminence, for example, the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, or the National Academy of Engineering.

Processing Guidelines

In cases of internal candidates, recommendations will be reviewed once a year. The College-level deadline for this year's internal nominations is Wednesday, February 4, 2015. Department heads are asked to send the names of any proposed nominees to Dean Azar prior to developing a nominations packet, so that a decision may be made as to which nominations will be put forward by the College. It is advisable to wait on soliciting additional documentation such as external letters of support until the Dean's Office has given approval to proceed with a nominations packet.

If a nomination proposal is approved by the College, the final application supporting the nomination must contain at a minimum the following documentation for consideration of this honor:

  • Letter of support from Department Head to the Dean
  • Letter of support from Dean to the Provost
  • Current curriculum vitae
  • Letters of support from leaders in the field explaining and documenting the impact of the nominee's work (minimum of three letters - nationally and internationally; letters must be detailed and a short bio of the letter writer must be provided)
  • Original nomination packet plus electronic copy in PDF format

All nominations will be reviewed by a panel appointed by the Provost and including individuals from the current roster of UIC Distinguished Professors. The panel will forward recommendations to the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The panel members will hold their appointments for a period of at least three (3) years in order to maintain knowledge and history of this process. The reviewers will be given considerable time in order to solicit additional letters from nominees' colleagues and scholars in their area of expertise.

Term of Appointment

The appointment of UIC Distinguished Professors will become effective at the beginning of the next academic year following the Board of Trustees approval. The appointment is for the duration of their full-time tenure at UIC.

Institutional Support

Distinguished Professors will be supported, according to the negotiated conditions of appointment agreed to at the time of appointment. Department or area resources, college resources, and campus resources, in combination, must assure sufficient recurring funds to support the Distinguished Professor according to the conditions of appointment agreed upon by the Professor and UIC officers. It is not anticipated that there be a formula that must be met for support to be forthcoming for each appointment. Rather, the three campus units (area/department, college, campus administration) must be considered as potential contributors to the Professor's support.

A one-time monetary award will be presented to faculty appointed as Distinguished Professors. Award recipients will be recognized at the Faculty Awards Dinner in the fall.

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If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Faculty Affairs