Distinguished University Scholar

The Distinguished University Scholar program recognizes members of UBC Faculty who have distinguished themselves as exceptional scholars.  The award is conferred by the President on the recommendation of an adjudication panel.  The next Call for Nominations will be announced in September 2020. 

Terms of Reference

The Office of the Provost & VP Academic runs the Distinguished University Scholar (DUS) program every second year, in alternate years to the University Killam Professor program (which is run by the VP Research & Innovation Office).  The next DUS Call for Nominations will be issued in September 2020. 

DUS appointees receive a stipend of $20,000 for each of 5 years, plus one-time research support of $20,000. 

The DUS funding is for a 5-year term, with potential for renewal once.  The DUS title continues to be held by the Distinguished University Scholar as long as she or he is a tenured member of faculty.

Up to 10 new Distinguished University Scholars will be conferred in each adjudication round every 2 years. 

Nominations are open to scholars of both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. 

Nomination Process and Timeline

The Call for Nominations is issued in September in alternate years.  The next Call for Nominations will be posted here (after distribution to Deans’ Offices) in September 2020. 

Nominations are submitted by the Deans and must be received by the Office of the Provost and VP Academic (UBCV) by a deadline in early December 2020.  We expect at most one nomination will be brought forward from smaller faculties and up to three nominations from larger faculties.  Nomination numbers will be confirmed in the Call for Nominations.  

In January or February 2021, the adjudication panel's recommendations will be submitted to the President.  Subsequently the names of the new DUS appointees will be announced to the UBC community.  The appointees' terms will begin July 1, 2021.    

The following elements must be included in the nomination package: 

  1. A brief description prepared by the nominee describing current work and in particular scholarly plans for the next five years (max. 1-2 pages). In the case of an urgent recruitment, this may be a relevant extract from a cover letter submitted in the recruitment process.
  2. The nominee’s current CV.
  3. Three letters of reference from arms-length referees commenting on the scholarly excellence of the nominee.  Promotion and Tenure (PAT) letters may be used.  A brief description of each referee is essential.  
  4. A letter from the Dean (max. 1 page) with rationale for the nomination, and a particular mention if the nomination is put forward as an urgent retention priority.  The review panel’s work would be facilitated if the Dean's letter includes a short description of the international stature of journals or publishers or other outlets for dissemination of work by the nominee.  

The nomination package is to be organized into a single bookmarked pdf file and submitted to the email address that will be specified in the Call for Nominations.  

  • A nominee may be a UBC faculty member of any academic rank. 
  • Both Vancouver and Okanagan faculty members are eligible for nomination.
  • A current Canada Research Chair holder cannot be nominated for DUS. 
  • A University Killam Professor cannot be nominated for DUS. 

Note: If a DUS is nominated for University Killam Professor and is successful, the UKP funding takes precedence and any DUS funding would be returned.

Selection Criteria

Nominations are based on an assessment of the quality of the nominee's work and proposed scholarly program.  Nominations will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Distinguished University Scholars should be outstanding and innovative scholars whose acccomplishments have had a significant impact in the field.
  • They should have received international recognition as leaders in the field.
  • Their record in attracting and supervising students and trainees should be superior, taking into account the practices and standards of the field.
  • Their proposed scholarly program should be innovative, original and of high quality.
  • They should be at the level of scholarly excellence demonstrated by Canada Research Chairs and similar distinguished faculty.   
  • More junior nominees should have clearly demonstrated excellence in scholarship with the promise of emerging international distinction. 
Adjudication Process

Members of an Adjudication Panel will assess nominations to the DUS program.  Based on the panel’s assessments of each nominee, the panel will recommend to the President which nominees should be named Distinguished University Scholar.  The results are announced in January or February.  The composition of the Adjudication Panel will be posted here in summer 2020.   

Renewal of Term

While the DUS title is held as long as the holder is a tenured member of faculty, the funding portion of the award is renewable once, for a second five-year term.  Information on the renewal process will be posted here in summer 2020.

More Information

Please contact Selina Fast (604-822-5611 / selina.fast@ubc.ca) if you need additional information. 


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