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. The DUS 2021 cohort has been announced.  The next Invitation for Nominations will be issued in January 2023.

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
  • Curtis Berlinguette, Chemistry/CHBE
  • 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 Language & Literatures
  • Barbara Dancygier, English Language & Literatures
  • Franco de Angelis, Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies
  • Erwin Diewert, Vancouver School of Economics
  • Patricia Duff, Language and Literacy Education
  • Guy Dumont, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Connie Eaves, Medical Genetics
  • Sian Echard, English Language and Literatures
  • 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, Vancouver School of Economics
  • Jan Friedman, Medical Genetics
  • Liisa Galea, Psychology
  • Nassif Ghoussoub, Mathematics
  • Martin Gleave, Urologic Sciences
  • Sherrill Grace, English
  • Derek Gregory, Geography
  • Geoff Hall, Psychology
  • Steven Heine, Psychology
  • Judy Illes, Medicine (Neurology)
  • Rita Irwin, Curriculum & Pedagogy
  • Richard Johnston, Political Science
  • David Jones, Zoology
  • Patrick Keeling, Botany
  • Alan Kingstone, Psychology
  • Roman Krems, Chemistry
  • Thomas Lemieux, Vancouver School of Economics
  • Kevin Leyton-Brown, Computer Science
  • Dominic Lopes, Philosophy
  • Ken Lum, Art History, Visual Art and Theory
  • Kathleen Martin-Ginis, Health & Exercise Sciences
  • Lisa Matthewson, Linguistics
  • David Metzer, Music
  • Ira Nadel, English Language & Literatures
  • 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
  • Rehan Sadiq, Engineering
  • Elizabeth Saewyc, Nursing
  • Janis Sarra, Law
  • Tarek Sayed, Civil Engineering
  • Linda Siegel, Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education
  • William Sheel, Kinesiology
  • Edward Slingerland, Asian Studies
  • Diane Srivastava, Zoology
  • Natalie Strynadka, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Curtis Suttle, Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Andrew Trites, Zoology
  • Bill Unruh, Physics and Astronomy
  • Patricia Vertinksy, Kinesiology
  • Yu Tian Wang, Medicine (Neurology)
  • 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
Terms of Reference

The Office of the Provost & VP Academic (UBC 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 stipend is potentially renewable once, for another 5-year term. 

The DUS title continues to be held by the Distinguished University Scholar as long as she or he is a tenured member of UBC faculty. 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 two-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 Invitation for Nominations is issued in alternating years, with the next anticipated invitation to be in January 2023.  A memo will be distributed to Deans followed by a university-wide announcement.  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 submission deadline will be in March 2023.  Adjudication will take place in April 2023 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 2023.  The appointees' terms will begin July 1, 2023.    

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

The following elements must be included in the nomination package:

  1. A letter from the Dean (maximum 1 page) with rationale for the nomination.
  2. A short description prepared by the nominee describing current work and in particular scholarly plans for the next five years (maximum 2 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 reference 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 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 CV.  The CV must be in the standard UBC format. 
  5. The review panel's work would be facilitated by a brief summary of highlights of the nominee's publishing record.

The nomination package is to be organized into a single bookmarked PDF file and submitted by the Dean's Office to the Executive Assistant to the Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President Academic Affairs, by the deadline in March 2023 (exact date will be posted here).  

Deans’ Offices are encouraged to notify Departments whether their nominees were successful or unsuccessful in being selected for final submission, so that the nominee(s) can be made aware. 

  • A nominee may be a full-time* tenured UBC faculty member in the research or educational leadership stream.  
  • 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 concurrently with, 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 evaluate nominations to the DUS program using the Selection Criteria.  The Adjudication Panel consists of:

  • Current Chair or a former Chair of the Senior Appointments Committee (Chair)
  • Chair of the UBC Research Awards Committee
  • Three current Distinguished University Scholars
  • Three emeriti Distinguished University Scholars
  • Vice-Provost & Associate VP Academic Affairs (Observer)
  • Assistant to the Vice-Provost & Associate VP Academic Affairs (Secretary)

Based on the panel’s assessment of each nominee, the panel will recommend to the President which nominees should be named Distinguished University Scholar.  The results will be announced in May 2023.  New DUS appointees will begin their terms on July 1, 2023.  

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 by completing a report template.  The applicant's Head or Director submits the report to the Provost Office along with two letters of support that speak to the ongoing relevance of the research and the scholarly excellence of the applicant: (1) a letter from the Dean who supported the original nomination or his/her successor, and (2) an external letter of support from an expert in the field.   The Head or Director should forward the three documents (report + 2 letters) as one PDF file to selina.fast@ubc.ca by Friday, November 12, 2021.  

A sub-set of the Adjudication Committee will review the renewal application packages.  Applicants will be notified of their results approximately 6 – 8 weeks prior to the end of their terms. 

More Information

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


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