Distinguished University Scholar Program

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.  An Invitation for Nominations has been issued to Deans September 2020, and the accompanying announcement can be read here.  The deadline for DUS 2021 nominations has been extended to Friday, March 5, 2021.  Nominations are submitted by the Dean of the Faculty in which the nominee holds their primary appointment.

Terms of Reference

The Office of the Provost & VP Academic administers the Distinguished University Scholar (DUS) program every second year, in alternate years to the University Killam Professor program (which is administered by the VP Research & Innovation Office).  Nominations are now open for Distinguished University Scholars whose terms will begin in July 2021.  The Invitation for Nominations can be read here, including the permitted number of nominations from each Faculty.  

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 at the University.  For grant-tenured faculty members, the DUS title would be carried for the duration of their position at UBC.  

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

A limited number of additional DUS may be adjudicated during each 2-year period, if needed, in exceptional circumstances for the recruitment of outstanding new faculty. 

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

Nomination Process and Timeline

The Call for Nominations is issued in alternating years.  The 2021 competition is currently open.  Nominations are submitted by the Deans and must be received by the Office of the Provost and VP Academic (UBCV) by the extended deadline of 5:00pm on Friday, March 5, 2021.  The allowable number of nominations per Faculty follows: 

UBC Vancouver  

  • Allard School of Law.....maximum 1
  • Faculty of Applied Science.....maximum 3
  • Faculty of Arts.....maximum 3
  • Faculty of Dentistry..... maximum 1
  • Faculty of Education.....maximum 2
  • Faculty of Forestry.....maximum 1
  • Faculty of Land & Food Systems.....maximum 1
  • Faculty of Medicine.....maximum 3
  • Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences.....maximum 1
  • Sauder School of Business.....maximum 2
  • Faculty of Science.....maximum 3

UBC Okanagan

  • IKB Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences.....maximum 1
  • IKB Faculty of Science.....maximum 1
  • Faculty of Creative & Critical Studies.....maximum 1
  • Okanagan School of Education......maximum 1
  • Faculty of Health & Social Development.....maximum 1
  • Faculty of Management.....maximum 1

Adjudication will take place in March/April 2021 and 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 in May 2021.  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). 
  2. A letter from the Dean (max. 1 page) with rationale for the nomination.  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.
  3. Three letters of reference from arms-length referees commenting on the scholarly excellence of the nominee.  A brief description of each referee is essential.  Promotion and Tenure (PAT) letters may be used.  It is suggested that the PAT letter writer's permission be obtained to do so.  
  4. The nominee's CV.   

The nomination package is to be organized into a single bookmarked PDF file and submitted by the Dean's Office to Selina Fast (selina.fast@ubc.ca), Executive Assistant to the Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President Academic Affairs, by 5:00pm on Friday, March 5, 2021.  

  • A nominee may be a full-time* UBC faculty member of any academic rank. 
  • Both Vancouver and Okanagan 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 the start date of the DUS appointment.  
  • A University Killam Professor cannot be nominated for DUS.
  • Other special chairs such as President's Excellence Chairs, CERCs, and Principal's Research Chairs would not be eligible for nomination. 

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

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 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.   
  • 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.  The composition of the Adjudication Panel will be posted here in 2021.   

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 May 2021.  New DUS appointees will begin their terms on July 1, 2021.  

Renewal of Term

While the DUS title is held as long as the holder is a tenured member of faculty at the University, 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 2021.

List of Distinguished University Scholars
  • Yusuf Altintas, Mechanical Engineering
  • Sam Aparicio, Molecular Oncology
  • Nemkumar Banthia, Civil Engineering
  • Trevor Barnes, Geography
  • Anthony Barrett, Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies
  • Joerg Bohlmann, Forestry
  • Joan Bottorff, Nursing
  • Annette Brown, Nursing
  • Jane Coop, Music
  • Graeme Chalmers, Curriculum and Pedagogy
  • Thomas Chang, Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Raymond Cole, Architecture and Landscape Architecture
  • Pamela Dalziel, English
  • Franco de Angelis, Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies
  • Erwin Diewert, Economics
  • Patricia Duff, Language and Literacy Education
  • Guy Dumont, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Sian Echard, English
  • Eric Eich, Psychology
  • Alaa El-Husseini, Psychiatry
  • James Enns, Psychology
  • Mary Ensom, Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Richard Ericson, Sociology
  • Sidney Fels, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Caroline Ford, History
  • Patrick Francois, Economics
  • Liisa Galea, Psychology
  • Nassif Ghoussoub, Mathematics
  • Martin Gleave, Urologic Sciences
  • Sherrill Grace, English
  • Derek Gregory, Geography
  • Geoff Hall, Psychology
  • Steven Heine, Psychology
  • Rita Irwin, Curriculum & Pedagogy
  • Richard Johnston, Political Science
  • David Jones, Zoology
  • Patrick Keeling, Botany
  • Alan Kingstone, Psychology
  • Roman Krems, Chemistry
  • Thomas Lemieux, Economics
  • Dominic Lopes, Philosophy
  • Ken Lum, Art History, Visual Art and Theory
  • Kathleen Martin-Ginis, Health & Exercise Science
  • Lisa Matthewson, Linguistics
  • David Metzer, Music
  • Ira Nadel, English
  • Bonny Norton, Language and Literacy Education
  • Daniel Pauly, Zoology
  • Jamie Peck, Geography
  • Pitman Potter, Law
  • Alan Richardson, Philosophy
  • Sandra Robinson, Business
  • Calvin Roskelley, Cellular and Physiological Sciences
  • Janis Sarra, Law
  • Tarek Sayed, Civil Engineering
  • Linda Siegel, Educational and Counselling Psychology
  • Edward Slingerland, Asian Studies
  • Natalie Strynadka, Biochemistry
  • Curtis Suttle, Earth and Ocean Sciences
  • Andrew Trites, Zoology
  • Bill Unruh, Physics and Astronomy
  • Patricia Vertinksy, Kinesiology
  • Yu Tian Wang, Medicine (Neurology)
  • Kishor Wasan, Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Joanne Weinberg, Cellular and Physiological Sciences
  • John Willinsky, Language and Literacy Education
  • Catherine Wilson, Philosophy
  • Sheila Woody, Psychology
  • Bruno Zumbo, Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education
More Information

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


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