Faculty Policies


UMB Policy on Distinguished University Faculty

Faculty   |   Approved May 11, 2020

Responsible VP/AVP

Roger Ward, EdD, JD, MSL, MPA

Applies to Faculty

Revision History

Revised 05/12/2023

Policy Statement

Award Description

The title of Distinguished University Professor is the highest appointment bestowed on a faculty member by the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). The title is a recognition not just of excellence, but of impact and significant contribution to the nominee’s field, knowledge, profession, and/or practice.


The nominee should be a current member of the UMB faculty. The nominee should hold the rank of Professor. Distinguished University Professors will have been recognized nationally and internationally for the importance of their scholarly achievements. Also, they will have a demonstrated breadth of interest through their excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service. In addition, they will have brought distinction to the University of Maryland, Baltimore as a result of those activities. As such, the title demands nomination materials that exhibit evidence of impact and support far beyond that expected for promotions to Professor.

Nomination and Selection Process

Nominations must be made by November 1, using the online nomination form. Any faculty member, chair, or dean, who holds the rank of Professor, may make a nomination during the nomination period. Nominations will be accepted between October 1 and November 1. Following submission of the nomination, a nomination packet must be submitted to the Provost by December 15 (in PDF format). 

Nominations and their materials are to be kept confidential to the extent possible, including from the nominee.

The Selection Committee is appointed by the Provost and consists of at least five (5) members from diverse disciplines. At least three of the members should be faculty members who hold the rank of Professor. Each year, the Committee reviews all current nominations, and those submitted within the past three years, and decides which are sufficiently distinguished for current consideration. After concluding its deliberations, the Selection Committee will discuss its recommendations with the Provost, and make final recommendations after that discussion. The Provost will transmit the Selection Committee's final recommendations to the President. The President has sole discretion in selecting the awardee(s). The President’s decision is final and not subject to appeal.

Nominations should include:

A letter of nomination, from the nominee’s Chair, Dean, or a faculty member who holds the rank of professor, should consist of a one to two (1-2) page statement describing the nominee's achievements and the reasons why UMB's highest academic honor is warranted. The letter of nomination should follow guidelines similar to those used in letters by Deans and Chairs for a promotion and tenure packet, but to a level appropriate for the appointment to Distinguished University Professor. In particular, the letter should contain or include as an attachment:

  • An indication of the quality of the journals and presses in which the candidate has published, index and citation count, performance venue and/or review source.
  • Description of impact the nominee has had on his or her field, and national and/or international reach.
  • Clarification, for someone not in the candidate’s immediate area, of the prestige and selectivity of the awards won by the candidate. This applies also to election to fellowship (or other rank) in professional societies as well as selection for editorial responsibilities.
  • The nominee's most recent curriculum vitae.
  • The names of three (3) University of Maryland Baltimore faculty members who support the nomination.
  • Letters of support from three to five (3-5) external referees, with a brief description of each referee's credentials and a detailed due diligence report of the refere's relationship to the nominee.
  • Letters of support from Dean and/or Chair. If the Chair served as the nominator, a letter of support for the nomination from the Dean is required.

Each school may establish a process to screen nominations from its faculty and chairs and to secure approval by the dean of that school before nominations are submitted to campus. Regardless of the level of screening done by the school, each nomination packet must at a minimum include all of the materials listed above. Screening at the school level is in no way a substitute for or an addition to the UMB selection process outlined above.

Selection of a Distinguished University Professor by the President

At the President’s discretion, and in consultation with the provost and deans, the President may choose to award a qualified faculty member the title of Distinguished University Professor. Distinguished University Professorships awarded by the President will not be subject to the nomination and selection process described above; however, these awardees will meet the same criteria as set forth in this Policy.

Remuneration and Honorarium

The awarding of the title of Distinguished University Professor does not carry with it any form of remuneration or honorarium from the University. Each school, however, may elect to offer remuneration or an honorarium from its own resources to any member of its faculty who is awarded the title. The amount of a remuneration or honorarium will be considered compensation and is subject to the President’s approval.

Finality of Decisions:

A decision by the Selection Committee to recommend or not recommend a Distinguished University Professor title is final and not appealable. A decision by the President to award or not award a Distinguished University Professor title is final and not appealable.

The title of Distinguished University Professor is honorary and may be awarded or rescinded at the discretion of the President. Once the title is awarded, the faculty member can use it during the remainder of the individual's career at UMB, unless the title is rescinded.

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