PROV-031: Appointment of University Professors

Date: 04/01/2019 Status: Final
Last Revised:
Policy Type: Executive Vice President & Provost
Oversight Executive: Executive Vice President and Provost
Applies To:

Academic Division.

Table of Contents:

Policy Statement

Reason for Policy:

Explains the eligibility, nomination, election, and review procedure for a faculty member’s appointment to a University professorship.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Named Professorship:

    Endowed chairs and eminent scholars chairs established by private donors, by the alumni association, or by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

  • University Professor:

    A distinguished professorship at the University of Virginia established to facilitate cross-university collaboration and recognize excellence in a broad field of study.

Policy Statement:

The University has established distinguished University professorships for full professors who teach and conduct research that crosses school boundaries. University professors are eminent in their respective disciplines, hold the same or higher qualifications of any faculty holding a named professorship, and are held in the highest regard by their national and international academic peers. University professors continue to hold their appointment as a professor in their original department(s) and school(s); they hold the title of University professor in addition to their formal faculty title(s) and any named professorships to which they are concurrently elected.

University professors report to the president, receive an annual research stipend, and are expected to engage in educational and scholarly activities across school boundaries. The executive vice president and provost (“provost”) maintains a fund dedicated to the University professors program that can be used to cover a portion of the University professors’ salaries or research. The University professor appointment is subject to periodic review and contingent on continued superior performance.

In addition to having achieved national eminence, a nominee must be a full-time employee of the University of Virginia and hold the rank of full professor, or, in the case of a new hire, be under consideration for a position of similar stature.

Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Offices of the President and the Executive Vice President and Provost.


Procedure for Nominating and Electing Faculty to a University Professorship:

  1. The dean of a school submits a nomination for University professor to the provost that includes:
    1. A nomination letter. The letter should evidence the candidate’s excellence in a broad field of study as well as describe how this appointment is expected to contribute broadly to the University in scholarship and teaching;
    2. A curriculum vitae;
    3. Three to five letters of peer review from distinguished outside scholars. If letters recently solicited for other purposes (such as distinguished professorship in the school, an award, etc.) exist, then the dean may opt to use these in lieu of seeking new letters.
  2. All nominations will be reviewed by a five-person review committee comprised of current University professors selected by the provost, called the University Professors Review Committee, who will evaluate and recommend a prioritized list of candidates to the president and provost.
  3. The president will submit his or her recommendations for University professors to the Board of Visitors for approval of their election.

Review of University Professors:

  1. University professors submit their annual performance report to the president, or to the provost if the president so designates, with a summary evaluation from their dean(s).
  2. The University Professors Review Committee reviews University professor appointments every five years to ensure continued superior performance. This review is based on a current CV and a letter of evaluation from the faculty members’ dean(s). A recommendation regarding the University professors’ performance is then forwarded to the president and the provost.
  3. Based on this recommendation, the president may renew the University professor appointment for an additional five-year term.
  4. University professors appointed after January 1, 2019 may be asked to relinquish their University professor title if this review is insufficient.

Salary Offset and Requests for Research Funding:

  1. The provost may use a portion of the funds dedicated to this program to cover a percentage of the University professor salaries, depending on the availability of funds. The balance of faculty members’ salaries is covered according to their regular academic appointment.
  2. University professors receive an annual research stipend of $5,000. Unexpended research funds may be carried forward for up to five years.
  3. University professors may request additional research funding for special projects that allow them to explore a new direction, or that enable their collaborative engagement across schools or disciplines. Such requests should be made in writing to the provost. Documentation supporting the request must explain the nature of the project and the expected use of the funds requested.
Related Information:

PROV-029: Faculty Appointment Types and Titles
Appointment of Endowed and Eminent Scholars Chairs

Major Category: Executive Vice President & Provost Policies
Next Scheduled Review: 04/01/2022
Approved by, Date: Executive Vice President and Provost, 03/29/2019