Academic Policy  1405.13

Guidelines for University and Distinguished Professor Appointments


The University of Arkansas (U of A or UA) acknowledges outstanding faculty through conferring promotion to "University Professor" or "Distinguished Professor." Promotion to University Professor or Distinguished Professor is a high honor reserved for only a few and the very best faculty at the U of A in recognition of sustained excellence in the performance of their duties, as outlined below. University Professor and Distinguished Professor are unique and parallel ranks with different, but similarly stringent requirements. Only in rare circumstances should the holder of one rank become a candidate for the other rank.

  1. Substantive Criteria
    1. University Professorship
      Promotion to University Professor is a special honor conferred only upon active faculty in recognition of an extended period of exemplary service in a spirit of collegiality to the University of Arkansas and a combination of service in their profession and to the public through their professional activities. In order to achieve this distinction, faculty members must, in addition to having an extended period of documented exemplary service to the University of Arkansas, have gained wide recognition at the national or international level for their sustained excellence in service, teaching, research or creative activity germane to their respective disciplines and academic roles while serving as a member of the faculty of the University of Arkansas. See Annex A for further guidance on these criteria.

      Eligibility for promotion to University Professor is limited to active tenured faculty who hold the rank of Professor. Generally, a candidate is expected to have served in the rank of professor at the University of Arkansas for 10 years before nomination. Sitting administrators are not eligible to be nominated for promotion to University Professor. For the purpose of this policy individuals who have held, or are holding, positions that carry an administrative appointment that is greater than fifty percent (50%) are considered to be administrators and should be three years removed from that position before nomination.

    2. Distinguished Professorship
      Promotion to Distinguished Professor at the University of Arkansas is a special distinction that is reserved for those individuals who are recognized nationally and/or internationally as intellectual leaders in their academic disciplines as a result of extraordinary accomplishments in research, teaching, published works, creative activities in the arts or endeavors of similar merit in other venues. Individuals may have gained such distinction at this university, another university or other venues. See Annex B for further guidance on these criteria.

      Promotion to Distinguished Professor shall only occur when clear indication exists that an individual so appointed will continue to provide exemplary academic and intellectual leadership and continue his or her professional activities in such a way as to maintain national and international recognition and a commensurate level of accomplishment.

      Eligibility for promotion to Distinguished Professor is limited to active tenured faculty who hold the rank of Professor or incoming faculty who will be awarded tenure and who hold credentials of similar merit from another university or other venues.

  2. Policies and Timing
    Nominations for promotion to University and Distinguished Professor will follow the applicable policies in Board Policy 405.1 and Academic Policy 1405.11 as well as the established timeline for promotion identified in Academic Policy 1405.101.

    The tenured and tenure-track faculty of each school or college and each unit shall establish and include in the school and unit personnel documents, substantive criteria and procedures for use in considering nominees for University or Distinguished Professor within that school or college and unit. Unit criteria shall not be in conflict with, nor less rigorous than, the criteria for promotion to University or Distinguished Professor noted in this document. Unit criteria are subject to approval consistent with all revisions to school and unit personnel documents under University policy.

  3. Documentation/Dossier
    The candidate must complete the Faculty Review Checklist and provide supporting materials required by that document and any additional materials that may be required by the unit.

    The information supplied in the Faculty Review Checklist should be sufficiently detailed so that a candidate can be evaluated in terms of both sustained superior performance as outlined in the background section and the potential for continued superior performance.

  4. Process
    Unless specifically noted below, the process will follow the procedures outlined in Section III, B of Academic Policy 1405.11, "Evaluative Criteria, Procedures and General Standards for Initial Appointment, Successive Appointments, Annual and Post-tenure Review, Promotion and Tenure."
    1. Any UA faculty member holding the rank of Professor may nominate himself or herself for promotion to University or Distinguished Professor. Alternatively, any tenured or tenure-track member of the faculty or the department chair or head of the unit may nominate a Professor for promotion to University or Distinguished Professor. A letter of nomination must set forth the achievements of distinction that warrant the promotion and must be submitted to the nominee's department head/chairperson.

    2. For faculty members with affiliations with multiple colleges, such nominations shall be considered in the department and college or school where the nominee has the greatest percentage of, or principal appointment. Faculty with appointments equally divided among two or more colleges or schools shall be considered by the college or school within which they hold tenure, but in the course of such review the views of the other appointing schools or colleges shall be sought and considered.

    3. All tenured faculty at the rank of professor or higher in a unit are eligible to vote for individuals being considered for University or Distinguished Professor.

    4. Academic Policy Form 1405.10D, Ag only, Nomination for Appointment to University Professor or Distinguished Professor must be completed.

    5. Nominations for appointment at the rank of Distinguished Professor for incoming faculty must follow the process prescribed in this document. However, the process may be expedited in the following manner:
      1. While the steps prescribed in policy 1405.101 must be followed, the timeline may be changed or expedited.

      2. Completion of the Faculty Review Checklist (policy 1405.11) is not required. However, appropriate documentation and justification, similar in scope and content of the Faculty Review Checklist, must be provided by the nominee and/or nominator for review through the same procedures that begin with the appropriate campus units of the department, the college or school, the dean, the provost, and chancellor.

      3. The requirement for external review letters requested from this campus (policy 1405.11) may be waived.

    6. All nominations for Distinguished Professor will be reviewed for the provost by a university committee consisting of 6 Distinguished Professors prior to the review by the provost. Similarly, all University Professor nominations will be reviewed by a university committee of 6 University Professors. Their recommendations and rationale will be available in the review and appeals process. The membership of the university committees will be for a term of 3 years, and one-third of the committee is expected to turn over each year. In the first two years, the outgoing members will be chosen by lottery.

    7. The two committees will be appointed as follows: Half of the members of the two committees will be appointed by the chair of the Faculty Senate in consultation with the members of the Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure Committee of the Faculty Senate. The other half of the committee members will be appointed by the provost in consultation with the chancellor and the deans of the various college/schools. Both committees will have representation from at least three colleges/schools/libraries.

    8. External letters of reference may be reused for one successive cycle of consideration for promotion to Distinguished/University professor.

At any point prior to the Chancellor's recommendation, the nominee may withdraw his/her name from further consideration.


Reformatted for Web October 1, 2014