Distinguished University Scholar Program

The Distinguished University Scholar program recognizes members of UBC Faculty who have distinguished themselves as exceptional scholars.  The program runs every two years.  The DUS designation is conferred by the President on the recommendation of an adjudication panel. A preliminary Invitation for Nominations has been sent in February 2023 to all UBC Deans (please see "Nomination Process" below).

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List of Distinguished University Scholars

Allard School of Law

  • Pitman Potter
  • Janis Sarra

Faculty of Applied Science

  • Raymond Cole, Architecture and Landscape Architecture
  • Nemkumar Banthia, Civil Engineering
  • Tarek Sayed, Civil Engineering
  • Guy Dumont, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Sidney Fels, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Yusuf Altintas, Mechanical Engineering
  • Annette Brown, Nursing
  • Elizabeth Saewyc, Nursing

Faculty of Arts

  • Ken Lum, Art History, Visual Art and Theory
  • Edward Slingerland, Asian Studies
  • Anthony Barrett, Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies
  • Franco de Angelis, Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies
  • Sherrill Grace, English
  • Pamela Dalziel, English Language & Literatures
  • Barbara Dancygier, English Language & Literatures
  • Siân Echard, English Language & Literatures
  • Ira Nadel, English Language & Literatures
  • Trevor Barnes, Geography
  • Derek Gregory, Geography
  • Jamie Peck, Geography
  • Lisa Matthewson, Linguistics
  • Jane Coop, Music
  • David Metzer, Music
  • Dominic Lopes, Philosophy
  • Alan Richardson, Philosophy
  • Catherine Wilson, Philosophy
  • Richard Johnston, Political Science
  • Eric Eich, Psychology
  • James Enns, Psychology
  • Liisa Galea, Psychology
  • Geoff Hall, Psychology
  • Steven Heine, Psychology
  • Alan Kingstone, Psychology
  • Sheila Woody, Psychology
  • Richard Ericson, Sociology
  • Erwin Diewert, Vancouver School of Economics
  • Patrick Francois, Vancouver School of Economics
  • Thomas Lemieux, Vancouver School of Economics

Faculty of Education

  • Rita Irwin, Curriculum & Pedagogy
  • Graeme Chalmers, Curriculum and Pedagogy
  • Linda Siegel, Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education
  • Bruno Zumbo, Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education
  • William Sheel, Kinesiology
  • Patricia Vertinksy, Kinesiology
  • Patricia Duff, Language and Literacy Education
  • Bonny Norton, Language and Literacy Education
  • John Willinsky, Language and Literacy Education

Faculty of Forestry

  • Jöerg Bohlmann, Forest and Conservation Sciences

Faculty of Medicine

  • Calvin Roskelley, Cellular and Physiological Sciences
  • Joanne Weinberg, Cellular and Physiological Sciences
  • Connie Eaves, Medical Genetics
  • Jan Friedman, Medical Genetics
  • Sam Aparicio, Molecular Oncology
  • Judy Illes, Neurology division, Medicine
  • Yu Tian Wang, Neurology division, Medicine
  • Alaa El-Husseini, Psychiatry
  • Martin Gleave, Urologic Sciences

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

  • Thomas Chang
  • Mary Ensom

Faculty of Science

  • Natalie Strynadka, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Patrick Keeling, Botany
  • Roman Krems, Chemistry
  • Curtis Berlinguette, Chemistry/CHBE
  • Kevin Leyton-Brown, Computer Science
  • Curtis Suttle, Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Nassif Ghoussoub, Mathematics
  • Bill Unruh, Physics and Astronomy
  • David Jones, Zoology
  • Daniel Pauly, Zoology
  • Diane Srivastava, Zoology
  • Andrew Trites, Zoology

Sauder School of Business

  • Sandra Robinson, Organizational Behaviour & Human Resources

Faculty of Applied Science

  • Rehan Sadiq, School of Engineering

Faculty of Health and Social Development

  • Kathleen Martin-Ginis, Health & Exercise Sciences
  • Joan Bottorff, School of Nursing
General Information

The Office of the Provost & and Vice-President, Academic (Vancouver), administers the Distinguished University Scholar (DUS) program every second year. It runs in alternate years to the University Killam Professor program which is administered by the VP Research & Innovation Office.

DUS appointees receive a stipend of $20,000 per year for five years, plus one-time research support of $20,000. The annual stipend is potentially renewable once, for another five-year term.

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

A limited number of additional DUS nominations may be adjudicated during each two-year period, if needed, in exceptional circumstances for the recruitment or retention of outstanding faculty.

The Distinguished University Scholar designation continues to be held as long as the DUS is a tenured member of UBC faculty or is a UBC Professor Emeritus. For grant-tenured faculty members, the DUS title would be carried for the duration of their position at UBC.

  • Nominees will be full-time* tenured UBC faculty members in the research or educational leadership streams, including Associate Professor, Associate Professor of Teaching, Professor, or Professor of Teaching.
  • Both Vancouver and Okanagan tenured faculty members are eligible for nomination.
  • A Canada Research Chair holder cannot be nominated for DUS, except where the CRC term would end prior to, or at the same time as, the start date of the DUS appointment.
  • Other special chairs such as President's Excellence Chairs, CERCs, and Principal's Research Chairs would not be eligible for nomination.
  • A University Killam Professor may not be nominated for Distinguished University Scholar.  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.

*This can include full-time faculty who currently have reduced loads for a variety of reasons such as disability.

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 accomplishments 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.
Nomination Process

The Invitation for Nominations is issued in alternating years.  For the 2023 cycle, a preliminary invitation memo has been distributed to Deans and can be viewed here.  It will be followed by a more formal announcement across the university in spring 2023.  

Nominations are submitted to the Office of the Provost and VP Academic (UBC Vancouver) and are submitted by the Dean of the Faculty in which the nominee holds their primary appointment.  The allowable number of nominations from each Faculty is listed below. 

Deans' Offices should establish their own processes for internally collecting and adjudicating nominations well before the deadline for submitting to the Provost Office (September 1, 2023).  

UBC Vancouver

Allard School of Lawmaximum: 1
Faculty of Applied Sciencemaximum: 3
Faculty of Artsmaximum: 3
Faculty of Dentistrymaximum: 1
Faculty of Educationmaximum: 2
Faculty of Forestrymaximum: 1
Faculty of Land & Food Systemsmaximum: 1
Faculty of Medicinemaximum: 3
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciencesmaximum: 1
Sauder School of Businessmaximum: 2
Faculty of Sciencemaximum: 3

UBC Okanagan

IKB Faculty of Arts & Social Sciencesmaximum: 1
Faculty of Creative & Critical Studiesmaximum: 1
Okanagan School of Educationmaximum: 1
Faculty of Health & Social Developmentmaximum: 1
Faculty of Managementmaximum: 1
IKB Faculty of Sciencemaximum: 1

The following elements must be included in the nomination package:

  1. A letter from the Dean (maximum two pages) with rationale for the nomination.  It would be helpful to include a summary of highlights of the nominee's publishing record, and a note about publication norms for the field as these can vary between Faculties.
  2. A short description prepared by the nominee describing current work and in particular scholarly plans for the next five years (maximum two pages - not to be exceeded). The document should be written in language that can be understood by non-experts, if possible.  
  3. Three letters of support from arms-length referees commenting on the scholarly excellence of the nominee. Refer to the SAC Guide for definition of arms length. Letters should be written to the adjudication panel specifically for the purpose of the DUS nomination. Please include a brief description of the research and profile of each referee.
  4. The nominee's curriculum vitae, in standard UBC format.

The nomination package is to be organized into a single PDF file and attached to an email from the Dean's Office to the Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President Academic Affairs (care of selina.fast@ubc.ca). The next submission deadline is September 1, 2023.

Deans’ Offices are encouraged to notify Departments, or nominees directly, as to whether their nominations were successful or unsuccessful in being selected for submission for central adjudication.

Adjudication Process

Members of an Adjudication Panel will evaluate nominations to the DUS program using the Selection Criteria. Adjudication will take place in fall 2023 and the Adjudication Panel's recommendations will be submitted to the President. Subsequently the new DUS appointees will be notified and their appointments will be announced to the UBC community. The appointees' funding will begin April 1, 2024.

Adjudication Panel Composition:

  • The Current Chair or a former Chair of the Senior Appointments Committee (Chair)
  • The Chair of the UBC Research Awards Committee
  • Three current Distinguished University Scholars
  • Three emeriti Distinguished University Scholars
  • The Vice-Provost & Associate VP Academic Affairs (Observer)
  • The Executive Assistant to the Vice-Provost & Associate VP Academic Affairs (Secretary)
Anticipated Schedule for 2023
Nominations OpenFebruary 2023
Submission of Nominations to Provost OfficeSeptember 2023
AdjudicationOctober 2023
Appointees NotifiedDecember 2023
Funding CommencesApril 2024
Renewal of Term

While the title of Distinguished University Scholar is held as long as the DUS is a tenured member of faculty at the University, the funding (annual stipend only) is renewable once, for a second five-year term.

Distinguished University Scholars who are coming to the end of their first five-year term will be contacted six months in advance of the end date and invited to apply for renewal. Distinguished University Scholars who wish to apply should notify their Head or Director, who will need to submit the following:

  • Application Form completed by the Distinguished University Scholar (template provided by the Provost Office).
  • Applicant's curriculum vitae, in standard UBC format.
  • Two letters of support that speak to the candidate's achievements in the first term and the ongoing relevance of the research, specifically:
    • a letter from the Dean who supported the original nomination or his/her successor; please include a brief mention of publication norms for the field;
    • an external letter of support from an established authority in the field without a conflict of interest with the applicant.

The Head or Director should forward the above documents (application + two letters + CV) as one PDF file to the Provost Office by the deadline advised.

A subset of the adjudication committee will review the renewal application packages and make their recommendations to the President. Applicants will be notified of their results approximately six to eight weeks prior to the end of their funding terms.

More Information

Please contact Selina Fast (selina.fast@ubc.ca) if you need additional information or have questions.


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