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.  The next call for nominations will be issued in early 2025.  Click here for the 2023 cohort.    

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List of Distinguished University Scholars

Allard School of Law

  • Joel Bakan
  • Pitman Potter
  • Janis Sarra

Faculty of Applied Science

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

Faculty of Arts

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

Faculty of Dentistry

  • Chris Overall

Faculty of Education

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

Faculty of Forestry

Forest and Conservation Sciences
  • Jöerg Bohlmann
  • Scott Hinch

Faculty of Medicine

Cellular and Physiological Sciences
  • Calvin Roskelley
  • Joanne Weinberg
Medical Genetics
  • Connie Eaves
  • Jan Friedman
Molecular Oncology
  • Sam Aparicio
  • Judy Illes
  • Yu Tian Wang
Physical Therapy
  • Lara Boyd
  • Alaa El-Husseini
Urologic Sciences
  • Martin Gleave

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

  • Thomas Chang
  • Mary Ensom

Faculty of Science

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Natalie Strynadka
  • Patrick Keeling
  • Curtis Berlinguette (joint appointment with Chemical & Biological Engineering)
  • Allan Bertram

  • Roman Krems
Computer Science
  • Kevin Leyton-Brown
Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Catherine Johnson
  • Curtis Suttle
  • Nassif Ghoussoub
Physics and Astronomy
  • Bill Unruh
  • David Jones
  • Mary O'Connor
  • Daniel Pauly
  • Diane Srivastava
  • Andrew Trites

Sauder School of Business

Organizational Behaviour & Human Resources
  • Sandra Robinson

Faculty of Applied Science

School of Engineering
  • Rehan Sadiq

Faculty of Health and Social Development

Health & Exercise Sciences
  • Kathleen Martin-Ginis
School of Nursing
  • Joan Bottorff
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.

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

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.

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 who meet the DUS criteria at the highest level. 

The DUS title continues to be held by the Distinguished University Scholar as long as they are a tenured member of UBC faculty or 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, Principal's Research Chairs or Endowed Chairs would not be eligible for nomination.
  • A University Killam Professor may not be nominated for Distinguished University Scholar. Note: If a DUS is appointed a University Killam Professor, the UKP funding takes precedence and the five-year DUS stipends would be discontinued.

*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 a diversity of students and trainees should be exemplary, 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 Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs and similar distinguished faculty.
  • To the extent possible in their field, the scholar and their scholarly program have demonstrated efforts to model equitable and inclusive research activities (e.g. across research design, community engagement, research team composition, research team competency and culture, research evironment and climate, highly-qualified personnel and early-career researcher development, and knowledge translation.
Nomination Process

The Invitation for Nominations is issued in alternating years. The 2023 program is complete, and the next program will run in 2025. 

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 equitable processes for internally collecting and adjudicating nominations well before the deadline for submitting to the Provost Office.

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. The nominee's work should be described in language that can be understood by non-experts in the field. 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 (1 page preferred; maximum 2 pages) prepared by the nominee describing in general terms their current work and scholarly plans for the next five years. The document should be written in language that can be understood by non-experts in the field, if possible.
  3. Three letters of support from referees who are arms-length and external to UBC, 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.

Each 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 will be in spring 2025 (TBC).

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 evaluate nominations for Distinguished University Scholar using the Selection Criteria.  The evaluation rubric will be posted here for transparency prior to the next cycle. 

The Adjudication Panel's recommendations are submitted to the President.  Upon approval, the new DUS appointees will be notified and their appointments will be announced to the UBC community. The appointees' funding will begin the following April 1.

Adjudication Panel will include the following members and include at least one member from UBC Okanagan:

  • Chair: preferred to be a current or former chair of the Senior Appointments Committee
  • The Chair of the UBC Research Awards Committee
  • 3-4 diverse current Distinguished University Scholars, selected by the Vice-Provost & AVP Academic Affairs
  • 3-4 diverse emeriti Distinguished University Scholars, selected by the Vice-Provost & AVP Academic Affairs
  • The Vice-Provost & Associate VP Academic Affairs (observer)
  • The Executive Assistant to the Vice-Provost & Associate VP Academic Affairs (secretary)
Anticipated Schedule for 2025

We anticipate launching the nomination process for the next round in early 2025. More information will be provided closer to the date.

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, including the Chair, two current DUS, two emeriti DUS, and the Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President Academic Affairs, will review the renewal application packages and make recommendations to the President.  Recommendations will be based on evidence that the Distinguished University Scholar has and will continue to sustain a level of excellence expected across the evaluation criteria. 

Renewal 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.