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Distinguished University Professor

Award Description

The title of Distinguished University Professor is the highest appointment bestowed on a tenured faculty member, and is accompanied by an annual honorarium of $5,000 to support the awardee’s professional activities. It 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 our faculty. Except in very special circumstances, the nominee should hold the rank of Professor. Distinguished University Professors will have been recognized nationally and internationally for the importance of their scholarly and/or creative achievements. They also will have demonstrated the breadth of interest characteristically encompassed by the traditional role of scholar, teacher, and public servant. In addition, they will have brought distinction to the University of Maryland as a result of those activities. This is a distinction enjoyed by only 7% of tenured faculty, and is therefore highly selective. As such, it demands nomination materials that exhibit evidence of impact and support far beyond that expected for promotions to Professor.

Click here to see a list of Distinguished University Professors.

Nomination and Selection Process | Call for Nominations

Nominations must be made by October 15, using the on-line nomination system. 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 September 10 and October 15.

Following submission of the nomination, a nomination packet must be submitted by December 1 (in PDF format) via the APA Portal.

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

We’ve made some changes to the way nomination packets are submitted to the APA portal. Instead of requesting a single packet, we are now requiring each part of the packet to be uploaded separately, in PDF. This will facilitate our review of the nomination materials. Information about each document is available on the upload page, and also below on this page. If you encounter any issues or you have any concerns, please contact the Office of Faculty Affairs at

In addition, in order to submit the nomination to OFA, you’ll now change the status of nomination to University Review, as you do with promotion cases.

Nomination materials must be searchable PDFs. If any of these required documents is not applicable to the nominee, please upload a PDF with a brief explanation of how the required document is not applicable.

Nominations should include:

  • A letter of nomination, usually from the nominee’s Chair, Dean or a Distinguished University Professor, which should be a one to two-page statement describing the nominee's achievements and the reasons why the University'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 typical Promotion and Tenure packet, but to a level appropriate for the appointment to DUP. In particular, the letter should contain:
    • An indication of the quality of the journals and presses in which the candidate has published, h-index and citation count, performance venue and/or review source.
    • Description of impact the nominee has had on his or her field, and 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, which should conform to the University's format.
  • The names of three University of Maryland professors who support the nomination.
  • A Letter Log, including all external referees contacted and when, as well as records of declines, and why.
  • A brief description of the referees' credentials and detailed due-diligence report of relationship to the nominee.
  • Letters from five to six external referees. Click here for a sample request letter.
  • Letters from Dean and/or Chair. If the Chair or Distinguished University Professor served as the nominator, a letter of support for the nomination from the Dean is not required, however, such a letter of support is highly recommended as it provides the selection committee, Provost, and President with important information that facilitates the review process. If the Dean served as the nominator, a letter of support from the Chair is not required (for departmentalized colleges). Again, such a letter of support is highly recommended as it provides the selection committee, Provost, and President with important information that facilitates the review process.

The Selection Committee is appointed by the Provost and consists of at least five members from diverse disciplines, who are Distinguished University Professors. Each year, the Committee reviews all nominations, past and present, and decides which are sufficiently distinguished for current consideration. After concluding its deliberations, the Selection Committee makes its recommendations through the Provost to the President.

Nominators will be contacted by the Office of Faculty Affairs only if:

  • Extra materials are requested by the Selection Committee.
  • The nomination has been tabled for three years.
  • The DUP title has not been awarded.

Absence of contact should not be interpreted as resulting from anything other than the time the process takes. Contact the Office of Faculty Affairs regarding submission procedures.