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3.3.5 Distinguished Professors


The designation of Distinguished Professor is the highest academic honor bestowed by Illinois State and exists to enable the University to honor individual faculty members of distinction and to demonstrate to the broader community that excellence is the foundation of the University.

To be eligible for an appointment to Distinguished Professorship, a person must already hold the rank of Professor at this University and must have achieved national or international recognition for scholarly research, creative production, or leadership in creative or scholarly activities.  In addition, the individual must have either been clearly identified by students, colleagues, or external agencies as an outstanding teacher, or must have contributed significant public service in accord with his/her academic discipline.  Current members of the University Research Council are ineligible. 

Responsibilities and Rights of a Distinguished Professor

  1. A Distinguished Professor shall continue to hold rank as Professor in an academic department in accord with ASPT guidelines. The individual may be listed as Distinguished Professor on public documents such as departmental websites, University catalogs, and correspondence. 
  2. A Distinguished Professor shall receive $5000 added to base salary. 
  3. For two years, a Distinguished Professor shall receive a minimum $1000 budget per annum in support of activities as a Distinguished Professor. Each year, the Provost's office will establish the per annum budget for the upcoming award year.
  4. Distinguished Professors will hold ten-month appointments for two years. 
  5. Each Distinguished Professor will be invited to deliver one public lecture or presentation on a topic of his/her choosing. The lecture or presentation shall be widely advertised within and outside the University community.
  6. Persons holding an administrative position, including department chairperson, may not be awarded the Distinguished Professorship. A Distinguished Professor who accepts an administrative position, including department chairperson, may keep the title of Distinguished Professor.
  7. The assignment of a Distinguished Professor will include teaching, research and other activities of a professional nature, with specific assignments to be made with the mutual agreement of the professor and the department chairperson. Should the Distinguished Professor and the department chairperson be unable to agree as to the specifics, the matter will be settled by the Dean of the College.
  8. Distinguished Professors may hold the title throughout their years of service to Illinois State University, unless disciplinary action involving the removal of honors has been imposed. 


  1. Any Department or member of the University community may nominate an individual who meets the foregoing qualifications for a Distinguished Professorship. The Provost shall maintain and circulate a uniform procedure for nomination and documentation in the spring of each year in the form of an annual letter calling for nominations so that nominees may have the summer to compile their portfolio. 
  2. Nominations shall be addressed to the Dean of the College and shall include as much supporting documentation as possible. The Dean shall forward all nominations, with recommendations, to the Provost. Each College Council or equivalent body is responsible for ensuring that faculty throughout their careers are well informed regarding the levels of achievement that generally lead to a Distinguished Professorship in the given discipline(s) of faculty members appointed within the college. These bodies shall also keep the Provost informed regarding national standards of achievement in their various disciplines at institutions with similar prestige and similar balances among teaching, research, and service assignments. 
  3. The sitting faculty members of the University Research Council and an equal number (up to ten) of Distinguished Professor representatives, including to the extent possible at least one from each college or division represented, as chosen by the current Distinguished Professors (including emeriti who choose to participate) will conduct the initial review of portfolios and forward all recommended nominees to the Provost. The Provost may be present for and participate in the deliberations. Candidates whose portfolios are not recommended to the Provost by the faculty members of the University Research Council  and the Distinguished Professor representatives serving with the council for this purpose will receive feedback from the council and/or the Provost as to how their portfolio might be improved. 
  4. The Provost shall, after seeking the advice of the nominee's department and the Dean of the College regarding the nominees forwarded by the faculty members of the University Research Council and Distinguished Professor representatives, evaluate all nominations and make recommendations to the President, submitting also the results of all advice that has been sought. The Provost shall determine in consultation with the Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies and the Associate Vice President for Academic Fiscal Management the number of Distinguished Professorships to forward each year. Nominees recommended to the Provost but not forwarded by the Provost to the President remain eligible to be recommended to the President in subsequent years. 
  5. The President shall make recommendations to the Faculty Caucus of the Academic Senate. These recommendations shall be accompanied by supporting materials submitted by the Provost. Following discussion in executive session, the Faculty Caucus will vote, by secret ballot, upon each of the President's recommendations.
  6. Appointments recommended by the President and confirmed by the Faculty Caucus will be recognized during the next Founder's Day Convocation. 

Initiating body: Academic Senate / Provost

Contact: Vice President and Provost (309-438-7018)

Revised on: 12/06/2018

2019-08-13T11:25:54.914-05:00 2019