New Procedures for Nomination and Review of Candidates for Distinguished Faculty Rank (May 9, 2005)


To: Members of the Council of Deans
From: James V. Maher
Date: May 9, 2005

New Procedures for Nomination and Review of Candidates for Distinguished Faculty Rank

I have now had an opportunity to reflect on the suggestions of the Distinguished Faculty Committee, provided at my request, for improving our procedures for appointments to the several distinguished faculty ranks that require a recommendation from that committee under the University’s policy governing such appointments: University Professors, Distinguished Professors, and Distinguished Service Professors. The committee and I are in agreement that it is desirable to introduce some additional measures in order to ensure that future appointments at these ranks will continue to be consonant with the high standards that are set forth in the policy. Accordingly, and in essential agreement with the committee’s suggestions, the following procedures will be adopted, effective with the 2005-06 academic year:

Candidates will normally be reviewed at a single meeting each year (probably in late January) and the Deans of the various schools will be apprised of that date toward the end of the previous academic year, so that nominations and supporting dossiers can be forwarded for committee review on a timely basis. As deemed necessary, exceptional cases (e.g., those entailing an urgent recruitment or retention) could still be considered at other times during the year.
Supplementing the criteria set forth in the University policy, each school will be asked to provide a statement of its own school-specific criteria for the use of the committee. My office will distribute all the schools’ statements of criteria to the other schools for their general information.

Deans/Chairs contemplating making nominations will be required to participate in an initial screening process in which possible nominees, prior to their formal nomination and development of supporting dossiers, will be advanced for the committee’s consideration along with some preliminary documentation. These possible nominations will be reviewed at a meeting of the committee to be held early in the fall term of each academic year, with the committee having the option of asking Deans/Chairs to appear before it to expand upon the cases they have advanced. The date for this preliminary review meeting will also be announced prior to the end of the previous academic year.

As noted, these procedural changes are being made in the interest of promoting continued adherence to the high standards contained in the University’s policy for appointment to distinguished faculty rank. I am grateful to the committee for providing these helpful suggestions. These new procedures will be implemented through the office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, which provides staff support for the Distinguished Faculty Committee.