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Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President

Process and Procedures for Nominations for the University Outstanding Scholar Awards

University Outstanding Scholar Awards recognize outstanding tenured faculty members who are on an accelerated path for academic distinction. These faculty exhibit extraordinary distinction in at least one area of their responsibilities; however excellence is a minimum expectation in all areas of scholarly activity, including research, teaching, service, and engagement.

View the inaugural recipients

Purpose of Award

The aims of this program are to reward and increase the recognition of Kansas State University’s most promising faculty, to identify potential faculty candidates for University Distinguished Professor and external award nominations and recognitions, and to increase retention of excellent faculty.

Financial Resources

Each University Outstanding Scholar receives a $10,000 base salary increase. A maximum of ten University Outstanding Scholars will be designated each year, at least seven at the Associate Professor level and up to three at the Professor level.


Eligible faculty hold the rank of tenured associate or full professor and have been in that rank for no more than five years at the time of designation. This award targets the years directly after promotion or before professorial performance awards, which come with base salary increases. Faculty from every school or college are eligible, including clinical faculty.

University Distinguished Professors are not eligible for the award.


Nominations for University Outstanding Scholars are requested from the School or College Dean’s Office. Each dean may submit up to 10 nominations per year. Please forward nominations and requests for approval to the Provost at provounivawards@ksu.edu by April 15. Appointments begin July.

In rare instances, and with Provost approval, nominations may be submitted at other times of the academic year to accommodate specific situations. In these instances, alternative start dates for the appointments may be requested. These nominations will use the same review and approval process described below.


Nomination materials should demonstrate the nominee’s excellence in all areas of their scholarly activity, including research, teaching, service, and engagement. Nominations may emphasize areas of extraordinary distinction in one or more of these areas.

Items for Submission

  • Dean’s nomination cover letter.
  • Department Head support letter that summarizes the faculty member’s accomplishments.
  • Faculty support letter from an additional university colleague or an external scholar who speaks to nominee’s scholarly distinction.
  • Nominees short statement of future professional goals (500 words or less).
  • Nominee’s updated curriculum vita.

If a candidate does not receive the University Outstanding Scholar Award, deans may resubmit nominations for candidates not selected in future award cycles.

Review Committee and Approval Process

The University Outstanding Scholar review committee shall be chaired by an Office of the Provost designee (non-voting) and include a University Outstanding Scholar from each academic college or school.

Each dean will recommend a committee member to the Office of the Provost.

For the first year, committee members will include University Distinguished Scholars (UDPs) from each college or school. If a college or school does not have a UDP, the dean or their designee may serve on the committee. 

For the second year, committee members will include 80% representation from the UDPs (or deans), and 20% from the University Outstanding Scholars. Each successive year for the next three years, the proportional representation will change with a 20% increase each year in University Outstanding Scholars. By the sixth year, committee members will be all University Outstanding Scholars.

On or before May 1, the review committee will present their recommendations to the Provost for final selection. The provost will report the awardees to the President. An official university announcement will follow.

Each new class of University Outstanding Scholars and their nominators will be invited to a recognition reception in the fall semester.