University Distinguished Professor Group: Selection Process

Description of the Process for the Selection of University Distinguished Professors as revised and approved by UDPG October 2005

1. Overview

This document describes the process for the selection of University Distinguished Professors and the role of the University Distinguished Professor Group (UDPG) in that process. The Provost has determined that the review of nominations will be conducted by the UDPG. The Provost will select the appointments from the slate of names recommended by the UDPG, in consultation with the Deans Council.

2. Solicitation

The provost should solicit nominations for the title of University Distinguished Professor via two letters addressed to:

a. All faculty asking for nominations.

b. Department heads and deans asking them to identify potential candidates and then encourage nomination of these and other candidates by the faculty.

3. Nominations

Eligibility for appointment at this rank is restricted to tenured faculty with the rank of Full Professor on full-time appointment at the University. The general qualifications for this honor are that the individual must have made an outstanding impact on his or her field, that this impact is recognized as continuing, and that this excellence has been recognized in important ways, such as: honors from professional societies; selection for awards recognizing distinguished contributions to research, teaching or other equivalent marks of recognition of excellence of the nominee in the broad context of outstanding scholarship as defined by Boyer ( Ernest L. Boyer, Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate, Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1990).

Nominations of outstanding faculty for the title of University Distinguished Professor can be made to the Provost by any Kansas State University tenured faculty member. The original and four copies of the nomination package should be submitted to the Provost. A disk or CD with a PDF file of the entire nomination package (including the letters of support from the Dean and Department Head) also should accompany the submission.

Nomination packages must contain the following material:

  • A letter of nomination that should generally be limited to five pages and must address the following issues:
    • The special reasons that justify selection of the nominee for the title of University Distinguished Professor; the letter should be complementary, and not redundant, to the material provided in the curriculum vitae.
    • Address to a general academic audience the importance of the nominee’s scholarship and contributions to her/his field.
  • A detailed curriculum vitae.
  • A list of at least four and no more than five eminent scholars outside Kansas State University with national and international recognition and expertise to speak directly to the outstanding qualifications of the nominee. The professional qualifications of each potential referee should be described, and a statement describing any personal or professional relationships between the referee and the nominee that may have existed in the past, or that may be in progress, must be stated. Complete current mailing addresses, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers for each referee must also be provided.
  • Letters of support from the college dean, and either the department head or division/school director, except in support of a nomination of the head/director.
  • The nominator may include no more than two additional supporting letters from faculty at Kansas State University.

4. Nominations will remain active for a total period of three consecutive years

The nominator may every year:

  • Add an updated curriculum vitae.
  • Recommend the name of one additional referee to the list of four to five eminent scholars outside Kansas State University.
  • Prior to the second and third years, the nominator may provide a one page letter summarizing the major accomplishments of the candidate in the past year.

If a nominee is not selected as a UDP after the consecutive three-year period, a period of one year must pass before the Professor may be re-nominated whereupon a new consecutive three-year active period begins.

5. Review and Evaluation Committee

The University Distinguished Professors Group (UDPG) will name a Review and Evaluation Committee of University Distinguished Professors (REC). The REC will be composed of four or five KSU UDPs and three external distinguished professors chosen by the Provost from other Big 12 universities. The KSU REC committee will, to the extent possible, have broad disciplinary representation. The committee and its Chair will be appointed annually by the UDPG President, with the approval of the UDPG.

The Office of the Provost will maintain a checklist and notify the Chair of the REC concerning the status of nomination packages. If circumstances prevent a letter being obtained from an outside referee in the first year of nomination, outside letters will again be requested in the following year.

6. Evaluation

a. Initial review of candidate folders.

UDP nomination folders will be made available by the UDP REC Chair to the KSU REC members and sent to each external distinguished reviewer. Each REC member will evaluate all nominations before the first REC meeting and determine their top ten ranking of nominees. The REC Chair will contact external reviewers regarding their top ten ranking. The Chair of the KSU REC will communicate with the external reviewers to clarify their rankings. The KSU REC members will deliberate and choose a consensus list of the top ten candidates based on rankings provided by the internal and external reviews. The REC will evaluate and discuss the nominees’ files in confidence and take such actions as necessary to ensure that it can present recommendations to the UDPG.

The nomination packets for all candidates will also be made available for review by academic deans as well as by the UDPs. Any member of the UDPG is welcome to provide confidential comments to the REC, which will be considered by the REC in putting together its reports to the UDPG.

b. First UDPG meeting.

At the February UDPG meeting, the four KSU REC members will present the top-ten list to the UDPG; this report being called the initial report. This report will then be discussed by the full UDPG. This discussion can range beyond the candidates recommended by the REC. After discussion, the UDPG will create a modified consensus of top-ten ranking. Then the REC will be given the charge to create a top five candidate list from this list of leading candidates.

Academic deans may observe the UDPG meetings when the REC makes recommendations on UDP candidates and when the vote selecting UDPs for approval by the Provost is made (see below). While not part of the discussion of the merits of the candidates, they will provide points of clarification and correct factual errors upon request or through the Chair. The deans cannot vote.

c. Review of leading candidate folders.

UDPG members will review the files of all the nominees with particular attention to the modified list. The entire REC, i.e., both KSU and external reviewers, will individually review the modified list of leading candidates and then reduce this list to a top five. External reviewers will communicate their top five to the REC Chair. The four KSU REC members will deliberate and choose a consensus list of the top five candidates based on all seven members’ evaluations. This list will be conveyed to the external REC members and they can provide additional input to the Chair.

d. Second UDPG meeting.

At the March UDPG meeting, the four KSU REC members will present the consensus top-five candidate list to the UDPG. In addition to the top five, any external REC reviewer may insist on the addition of one name to this list (called the final report). After completion of discussion, the voting process will proceed at the March UDPG meeting.

7. Voting by the UDPG members

  • Action #1 - Selecting the number of names to be recommended. The number of nominees whose names are to be recommended to the Provost for consideration as University Distinguished Professors will be decided based on information provided from the Provost.
  • Action #2 - Selecting the nominees to be recommended. The nominees will be selected from an agreed upon list. This list will be the final report, plus any additional nominees added by UDPG members at that meeting.
    • Secret Ballot: Each member of the UDPG present at the meeting (e-mail and other absentee ballots are excluded) and participating in the process will be required to present an unranked list of nominees whose number corresponds to that determined by the UDPG in the previous action, and whose names are on the agreed upon list.
    • Requirements for a Valid Ballot: Any “ballot” containing more or less than the number of candidates chosen in Action #1, or with nominees not on the agreed upon list will be disqualified.
    • Counting of Ballots: The ballots will be counted at this meeting by two individuals, the Secretary/Treasurer of the UDPG and another UDPG member appointed by the UDPG President.
    • 48 hour review period: The ballots will be held by the Secretary/Treasurer of the UDPG. A 48 hour review period will be set aside before the result of the ballot is reported to the Provost. During this time, the “ballots” will be made available for review by any member of the UDPG. If a recount reveals a change in the names of the nominees occurred, an additional meeting of the UDPG will be called within a further 48 hour period.
    • Reporting of the results to the Provost: After the 48 hour review period has expired, the UPDG President forwards the names to the Provost as an unranked list including voting details. The UDPG President will also convey to the Provost a “sense of the group” summary of the discussion that took place during the evaluation process, and provide any other information requested by the Provost. The Provost then selects the successful candidates.
    • All deliberations are to be held in the strictest confidence.