Distinguished Professor Guidelines

The Distinguished Professorship at The University of Illinois at Chicago


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. Department heads should discuss consideration of potential nominees with Dean Rosenblatt prior to developing nomination materials, so that a decision may be made as to which nominations will be put forward by the College.  Such discussions should take place by no later than mid-January to allow sufficient time for crafting a nominations packet for submission to the Provost by February 19, 2021. Nominators are advised not to proceed with soliciting external letters of support until the Dean has given approval to proceed.

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

  • Detailed letter of support from Department Head to the Dean, including a description of what criteria are especially important for defining excellence and national eminence in the nominee’s field of learning.
  • Letter of support from Dean to the Provost
  • Current curriculum vitae
  • Letters of external review from leaders in the field explaining and documenting the impact of the nominee’s work within his or her field of study. (A minimum of three letters are required from high-level experts/authorities in the field, both nationally and internationally.  The letters must be detailed and must not be from previous collaborators, previous students, previous employers, or others who have worked closely with the nominee. Include a short bio of each letter author).
  • 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.

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