Distinguished Professors Awards Guidelines
STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK
Distinguished Service Professorship
Distinguished Teaching Professorship
Policies And Procedures
NATURE OF THE PROGRAMS
Created by the State University Board of Trustees as a prestigious system-level distinction, the Distinguished Faculty Rank (DFR) programs recognize and reward SUNY’s finest and most accomplishedfaculty. The Distinguished Professorship (DP), Distinguished Service Professorship (DSP), Distinguished Teaching Professorship (DTP), and Distinguished Librarian (DL) are designations that constitute this highest system tribute conferred upon SUNY faculty.
Distinguished Faculty Rank programs encourage ongoing commitment to excellence, kindle intellectual vibrancy, elevate the standards of instruction and enrich contributions to public service. They demonstrate the StateUniversity’s pride and gratitude for the consummate professionalism, the groundbreaking scholarship, the exceptional instruction and the breadth and significance of service contributions of its faculty.
Appointment constitutes a promotion to the State University’s highest academic rank, and itis conferred solely by the State University Board of Trustees. The expectation is that individuals so appointed will receive additional support, consistent with the resources of the campus.
In addition, Distinguished Faculty are automatically members of the SUNY Distinguished Academy, which encourages a renewed commitment to quality instruction, service to our campuses and the State, and strong leadership development for newer faculty.
SCOPE OF THESE PROGRAMS
The Distinguished Professorship is conferred upon faculty having achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within the individual’s chosen field through significant contributions to the research and scholarship, or through artistic performance or achievement in the fine and performing arts.
The Distinguished Service Professorship is conferred upon faculty having achieved a distinguished reputation for service not only to the campus and the University, but also to the community, the State of New York or even the nation, by sustained effort in the application of intellectual skills drawing from the candidate’s scholarly and research interests to issues of public concern. It is bestowed on faculty in any of the disciplines or fields of study.
The Distinguished Teaching Professorship is conferred upon faculty for outstanding teaching competence at the graduate, undergraduate, or professional levels. Teaching mastery is to be consistently demonstrated over multiple years at the institution where the Distinguished Teaching Professorship is bestowed.
Distinguished Librarian is conferred upon librarians whose contributions have been transformational in creating a new information environment by providing access to information, sharing or networking information resources, and fostering information literacy.
REWARDS OF CONFERRALRank
NY State-operated Campuses
The Distinguished Faculty Rank is a promotion to a prestigious, tenured rank above that of full professor. Individuals so appointed are at a professional level beyond that which can be attained at the campus level.
SUNY Community College Campuses
Each SUNYCommunity College campus must confirm in writing whether their Distinguished designation awards will be an honorific distinction or a change in faculty rank.
Honors and Privileges
Each new designee will become a member of the SUNY Distinguished Academy and so honored at the annual meeting and banquet. All Distinguished Faculty will be noted on both the State University and the SUNY Research Foundation websites.
In addition, the expectation is that individuals so appointed will receive additional recognition and support, consistent with the resources of the campus:
SUNY State-operated Campuses
Appointment is a promotion that carries tenure in rank, if it has not already been attained, and a salary increase of up to $5,000. (This is in addition to any negotiated general salary increase). Such increases will be funded from the campus budget through the normal process for funding promotions. The increase is built into the salary base of the appointee, and it must be included in campus budgets of ensuing years.
SUNY Community College Campuses
If a SUNYCommunity College award is a change in faculty rank, the statement above, under “State-operated Campuses,” applies. If it is an honorific distinction, the Community College will decide if there is a monetary sum associated with the award.
Other Commemorative – The Distinguished Faculty medallion, specifically commissioned to commemorate this distinction, is awarded to each newly promoted faculty member who obtains the Distinguished Rank.
Appointment to Distinguished designation carries with it an extraordinary responsibility. As members of the SUNY Distinguished Academy:
SUNY State-operated Campuses
All State-operated campuses may nominate faculty.
SUNY Community College Campuses
All SUNYCommunity College campuses may nominate faculty. In a SUNYCommunity College’s first year of participation, its Board of Trustees and President must sign a letter indicating their willingness to participate. The letter must also state their college’s intention to designate these Professorships as either an honorific distinction or a change in faculty rank. Please send this letter to Dr. Elizabeth Bringsjord, Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor, State University Plaza, Albany, New York 12246.
NUMBER OF NOMINATIONS
Eligibility is limited to faculty having attained the rank of full professor. There is no limit as to the number of campus nominations for Distinguished Professor or Distinguished Librarian. For DTP and DSP, however, campuses may make nominations only on a ratio to full-time, full professorial lines indicated for the campus during the previous fall. Campuses having 124 or fewer full-time, full professors shall receive one nomination allocation annually. Campuses with 125 or more full-time, full professors shall receive two nomination allocations annually. The number of nominations allocated to each campus for the DTP and DSP shall accompany the annual program announcement.
The individual eligibility criteria are detailed in the program-specific information below.
General Restrictions on Eligibility
The following are special conditions, applicable to all programs that limit eligibility:
PROGRAM-SPECIFIC ELIGIBILITY AND SELECTION CRITERIA
Distinguished Professorship – DP
Academic Rank – Candidates must have attained the rank of full professor.
Length of Service – Candidates must have held the rank of professor for at least five years and must have at least one year of full-time service at the nominating institution.
Criteria for Selection –To be nominated for the Distinguished Professorship:
__ The person's work must be of such a character that the individual’s presence will elevate the standards of scholarship of colleagues both within and beyond the individual’s respective academic field.
__ The individual must have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within the individual’s chosen field through significant contributions to the research literature or through artistic performance or achievement in the case of the fine and performing arts, beyond that which is expected for a full professor.
__ The individual must have obtained national or international awards that provide evidence of distinguished research, scholarship, or other creative activity.
__ Individuals who are also inventors should have achieved prominence as assessed by the extent their discoveries have had measurable benefit to society.
Distinguished Service Professorship – DSP
Academic Rank – Candidates must have attained the rank of full professor.
Length of Service – Candidates must have held the rank of full professor for five years, must have at least three years of full-time service at the nominating institution, and must have completed at least ten years of full-time service in the State University of New York.
Criteria for Selection – Acandidate for Distinguished Service Professor must demonstrate substantial distinguished service both:
A. At the local campus level and/or local community or regional level; and
B. At the state-wide and/or nation-wide and/or international level.
Distinguished service must exceed the work generally considered to be part of a candidate’s basic professional work (professional committees, etc.) and should include service that exceeds that for which professors are normally compensated. Thus, faculty with a concurrent administrative appointment – above the level of department chair/director or equivalent – for which they receive extra compensation are ineligible. Furthermore, it is not appropriate to build a nomination dossier of a former administrator based upon service while in an administrative appointment. Distinguished service must extend over multiple years and involve the application of intellectual skills drawing from the candidate’s scholarly and research interests to issues of public concern, and may include, but not be solely based upon, exceptional leadership in local and system-wide faculty governance.
Distinguished Teaching Professorship – DTP
Academic Rank – Candidates must have attained the rank of full professor.
Length of Service – Candidates must have held the rank of full professor for five years, have completed at least three years of full-time teaching on the campus that recommends the appointment and ten years of full-time teaching within the System.
Nominations must be drawn from faculty members who have regularly carried a full-time teaching load, both in terms of the number of semester hours taught and the number of students served, as defined by the campus for full-time faculty. The definition of a full-time teaching load varies from campus to campus, but each campus should be satisfied that there could be no question that its nominee meets this criterion.
Department chairpersons/directors or equivalent may be nominated for the Distinguished Teaching Professorship contingent upon the individual's carrying the campus-defined full-time teaching load for all persons performing such administrative responsibilities (e.g., if a campus defines 15 hours as a full-time teaching load for full-time faculty and 12 hours as a full-time teaching load for department chairs, then an individual serving as a department chair teaching the 12 hours and meeting the other eligibility requirements would be eligible for nomination). Administrators with less than a campus-defined teaching load (e.g., dean, associate dean) are ineligible.
Criteria for Selection – The primary criterion for appointment to the rank is skill in teaching, with evidence that the nominee’s work has elevated the standards of colleagues at their institution or the field in general. Consideration shall also be given to mastery of subject matter, sound scholarship, service to the University and the broader community, and to continuing growth. The following criteria are to be used in the selection of persons to be nominated for the Distinguished Teaching Professorship:
□ Teaching Techniques and Representative Materials – There must be positive evidence that the candidate performs superbly in the classroom. The nominee must maintain a flexible instructional policy that adapts readily to student needs, interests, and problems. Mastery of teaching techniques must be demonstrated and substantiated. Consideration should be given to the number of substantially different courses taught, the number of students per course, and the teaching techniques employed in the various courses.
When available, student evaluations (in the form of student questionnaires administered and compiled by persons other than the nominee) presented for several different courses over a period of several recent years may provide the local selection committee with a clear idea of the nominee's impact on students.
□ Scholarship and Professional Growth – The candidate must be a teacher/scholar who keeps abreast of and makes significant contributions in his or her own field and uses the relevant contemporary data from that field and related disciplines in teaching. Examples of evidence in this category may include publications or artistic productions, grant awards, and presentations at symposia in his or her disciplines.
□ Student Services – In relating to students, the candidate must be generous with personal time, easily accessible, and must demonstrate a continual concern with the intellectual growth of individual students. For this category, consideration should be given to the accessibility of the nominee to students outside of class (e.g., office hours, conferences, special meetings, the nominee's responsibility in terms of student advisement, and the nominee's teaching-related services to students).
□ Academic Standards/Requirements and Evaluations of Student Performance – The candidate must set high standards for students and help them attain academic excellence. Quantity and quality of work that is more than average for the subject must be required of the student. The candidate must actively work with students to help them improve their scholarly or artistic performance. The local selection committee should consider the quality, quantity, and difficulty of course-related work. Evidence of academic standards and requirements may be assessed by the accomplishments of students, including placement and achievement level.
The candidate's evaluation of students' work must be strongly supported by evidence. Expert teachers enable students to achieve high levels of scholarship. Consequently, it is possible that the candidate's marking record may be somewhat above the average of colleagues. There must be evidence that the candidate does not hesitate to give low evaluations to students who do poorly. Grading practices should be evaluated by the local committee. In particular, grade distribution for all courses in recent academic years should be reviewed and any seemingly unusual grading patterns explained.
In order to clarify the difference between the Distinguished Professorship and the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the files for candidates must provide evidence that they are or have been involved for some substantial period of time in developing or promoting excellence in teaching through pedagogical methods and/or principles or in substantive educational enhancement either in their disciplines or to meet community needs on a regional, national, or international level.
Distinguished Librarian - DL
Academic Rank – Candidates must have attained the rank of full librarian or, for community colleges, the rank of full professor with clear and direct full-time responsibilities pertaining to library service.
Length of Service – Candidates must have completed at least five years of full-time service at the rank of full librarian (or full professor with direct library responsibilities at a community college) on the campus that recommends the appointment and at least ten years of service within the State University of New York.
Criteria for Selection– The scope of librarianship extends beyond the library's physical walls to the opening of limitless electronic networks and to the fostering of information literacy and skills in navigating the information universe. Through such endeavors, librarians create a new place and new roles for themselves in the academy. Librarians demonstrate unique talents and skills as faculty who promote and facilitate access to information for the widest community and assist all sectors of the community to make informed judgments about the nature and quality of the information they seek, find, and use.
The pathways to the rank of Distinguished Librarian are many and diverse. To attain the rank of Distinguished Librarian, a candidate must exhibit all of the following qualities and levels of accomplishments.
CAMPUS NOMINATION/SELECTION PROCESS
The Distinguished Professorship programs require that nominations coming forward to the System-level be the product of an objective and rigorous campus review. Further, the nomination process should benefit from the involvement of as a broad spectrum of the campus community. It should be made clear to all that, under no circumstance, may faculty apply or self-nominate for these programs.
Appointment to the Distinguished Professorship, Distinguished Service Professorship or the Distinguished Teaching Professorship is an academic career capstone. Conversely, non-selection elicits enormous disappointment. The sensitivities inherent in these programs and the nature of the supporting documentation make it imperative that all deliberations, communications, and actions of the campus committee remain strictly confidential. (Ideally, this should extend to the identity of those selected by the local selection committee as the campus’ nominees for these promotions.)
Further, because of the confidentiality of these proceedings, the System-level coordinator of these programs will interact only with the campus President or the President’s designee.
The program-specific nomination requirements follow:
Distinguished Professorship (DP) – The formal submission of a nomination for appointment to the rank of DP is entirely at the discretion of the campus President. To select candidates for nomination,the campus may employ any screening process it chooses.
Distinguished Service Professorship (DSP) – nominations for the DSP should arise from the entire faculty, student body, and administration and should be based on continuing and recognized service.
Distinguished Teaching Professorship (DTP) – nominations for the DTP should arise from the entire faculty, student body and administration, and should be based on continuing and recognized teaching quality.
Distinguished Librarian (DL) – nominations for the DL rank should arise according to procedures determined by the local campus President and should be based upon sustained, continuing, and recognized excellence in librarianship significantly above and beyond those needed to attain the rank of Full Librarian.
LOCAL SELECTION COMMITTEES FOR DSP, DTP and DL
Committee Appointment and Structure – Thelocal selection committees for DSP, DTP and DL shall be appointed by the local governance structure (as is currently done by each campus for appointment of other faculty committees) with the concurrence of the campus President. It shall be structured to include the chair (or designee) of the campus faculty governance organization, and one member, designated by the campus President, to act in an ex officio capacity. In addition, it shall include for the:
Distinguished Service Professorship – faculty who have considerable seniority
Distinguished Teaching Professorship – full-time faculty and student representation; and
Distinguished Librarian – faculty who have considerable seniority and knowledge
Committee Role – The local selection committeeis empanelled specifically to solicit nominations, to conduct an objective and unbiased evaluation of the merits of proposed candidates, to prepare the final nomination portfolio, and to forward to the campus President or the President’s designee only the campus’ finest exemplars of the qualities recognized through the Distinguished Service and Distinguished Teaching Professorships. The local selection committee must determine that a candidate meets, and preferably surpasses, the selection criteria for the Distinguished designation for which nominated (e.g., that for the DTP, the candidate meets – and preferably surpasses – the campus’s requirements for scholarship).
Other than self-nomination, the committee, working with the campus President or the President’s designee may establish whatever procedures are deemed appropriate to elicit nominations for the DSP, DTP and DL (e.g., bulletins, announcements at departmental meetings, campus newspapers, e-mails, listservs, etc.). It also determines the process the campus will follow in evaluating and selecting candidates to forward to System Administration.
The local selection committee shall make its report in the form of a recommendation to the President, and shall forward to the President no more than the number of nominations allowed.
NOTE: The campus process may be more extensive and the campus requirements more rigorous than the requirements outlined in the System guidelines. For instance, although not required under program procedures, some campuses require that candidates have received the comparable Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in order to be considered for nomination to the Distinguished rank. However, campus processes may never be less stringent than System-level requirements.
Once a decision is made to submit a nomination, a nomination portfolio will be compiled. It will consist of the President’s letter of endorsement, a nomination abstract, the candidate’s curriculum vita, key campus nominating letters, external letters of recommendation, and course evaluations for DTP nominations. The contents of these supporting documents are described below:
Distinguished Professor – Articles in refereed and non-refereed journals should be clearly distinguished from one another and, preferably, listed separately with full pagination and ordered by date of publication. Books should be listed separately from articles. Publications with multiple authors should indicate the senior author, if there is one, either by a note at the beginning of the publications list (if senior author position is consistent throughout) or by an asterisk indicating the senior author in each entry. External funding entries should indicate agency, amount, dates, and, if there are multiple named investigators, which is the PI.
Distinguished Teaching Professor – At least two of these letters should be from current students attesting to the candidate’s teaching ability, dedication and service to students.
Distinguished Professor – These letters should be from individuals whose own status or accomplishment is appropriate to a promotion at this level. They should be persons sufficiently acquainted with both the candidate’s work and the profession to be able to write an informed letter specifically locating the candidate’s standing in and contribution to the discipline, and explaining the significance of the candidate’s awards and honors. Letter writers should be disinterested, that is, generally individuals who have not collaborated, co-authored, co-taught, or been in a student-teacher relationship with the candidate. If the letter writers have collaborated with the candidate in the past, they should pass the same distance test used by the major funding agencies in the candidate’s field: if the relationship is recent or close enough that the proposed letter writer would have to recuse himself/herself from a funding panel considering an application for that candidate, then the proposed letter writer is too recent or close for this promotion dossier.
Distinguished Teaching Professor (three for community colleges) – In these letters, the recommenders should: comment briefly about their relationship to the candidate, corroborate the candidate’s merit for appointment, describe the candidate’s teaching techniques, catalog the candidate’s most important achievements, speak to the influence and impact of the candidate’s contribution to teaching in general or in the discipline, and explain the significance of the candidate’s awards and honors. At least two of these letters should be from former students of the candidate attesting to the candidate’s teaching ability, dedication and service to students.
Distinguished Service Professor (three for community colleges) – In these letters, the recommenders should: comment briefly about their relationship to the candidate, corroborate the candidate’s merit for appointment, describe the candidate’s stature in the profession and/or community, catalog the candidate’s most important achievements, speak to the influence and impact of the candidate’s contribution on the profession and/or community, and explain the significance of the candidate’s service awards and honors.
Distinguished Librarian (three for community colleges) – In these letters, the recommenders should: corroborate the candidate’s merit for appointment, describe the candidate’s stature in the discipline, catalog the candidate’s most important achievements, speak to the influence and impact of the candidate’s contribution on the discipline, (in laymen’s terms where possible) and explain the significance of the candidate’s awards and honors.
SUBMISSION OF NOMINATIONS
Nominations are to be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, one two-sided copy of the nomination portfolio should be mailed (see Appendix). Copies of the candidate’s works, articles, reviews, etc., are not to be included as part of the portfolio. The campus must retain the original portfolio containing original signatures of the President, Chief Academic Officer, appropriate Dean and each scholar submitting a recommendation.
PROCEDURES AT THE SYSTEM LEVEL
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF NOMINATIONS
Receipt of nominations will be acknowledged electronically to the campus President, and a copy of the acknowledgement will be sent to the President’s designee.
SYSTEM-LEVEL REVIEW OF NOMINATION PORTFOLIO
A review of the candidate’s nomination portfolio will be conducted at the University-wide level by specifically constituted panels known as the University-wide Advisory Councils on Distinguished Professorships.
Each Distinguished rank will have a separate panel comprised of Distinguished Professors, Distinguished Service Professors, or Distinguished Teaching Professors from across the University and of representatives from the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost at System Administration. In addition, for the DSP and DTP, the President of the University Faculty Senate (or designee) participates in nomination review for State-operated campuses, and the President of the Faculty Council of Community Colleges (or designee) participates in nomination review for Community College campuses.
Nominations for appointment to the rank of Distinguished Librarian will be evaluated by an ad hoc panel constituted specifically by the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost to review the nomination. This panel will consist of four individuals: at least two referees external to SUNY and two additional referees, either also external to the State University or current holders of the Distinguished Librarian rank from other SUNY campuses.
The nomination portfolio will form the basis for the System-level reviews. Except for DL, no external referees will be involved in the System-level evaluation process. All deliberations will be held in the strictest confidence.
To facilitate timely review of nomination portfolios, please submit new submissions by close of business on the second Friday of September for a November/December decision or by the close of business on the second Friday in March for a May decision. Late submissions may be considered in the next award cycle.