Sources with policy/information about CUNY Distinguished Professors:

Board of Trustees Bylaws 



The board may by resolution prescribe physical standards and examinations as a prerequisite for appointment to the temporary and permanent instructional staff.

No person shall be required to meet the qualifications specified in this article in order to remain in his/her present rank, but all persons shall be required to meet such qualifications for appointment or promotion to any higher rank.

The qualifications and requirements hereinafter set forth may be waived by the board only in exceptional cases. In each such case, the president shall make a full written report, setting forth reasons why the application of the regulation is not possible or desirable, specifying clearly the qualifications of the candidate which can be reasonably accepted within the spirit of the requirement, and stating that the appointment or promotion is desirable for the good of the institution.

The board shall, in passing on recommendations regarding reappointments, promotions, and tenure, consider student evaluations of faculty classroom and teaching performance.


PSC Contract ARTICLE 23 


23.1 Distinguished Professors shall be nominated by a college in accordance with the procedures in the College P & B Committee and Board Bylaws for appointments. The number of such positions shall not exceed 125.

23.2 Faculty members holding the rank of professor at the college and other distinguished scholars in the academic world shall be eligible for consideration as a Distinguished Professor. A member of the administration holding the rank of professor also may be considered for a Distinguished Professorship provided that he or she returns to his or her non-administrative duties for the acceptance of the Chair.  

23.3 The appointment of a Distinguished Professor ordinarily shall be for a specific period. Tenure in the title of Distinguished Professor shall not be granted, but with no prejudice towards tenure of a Distinguished Professor in the title of Professor.

23.4 Compensation for employees in this title shall consist of the salary in the base title plus $20,000 ($20,600, effective February 1, 1998; $21,424, effective May 1, 1999; and $21,852, effective October 1, 1999) per annum. 


GUIDELINES (Council of Presidents)

I. Goals, Criteria, and Required Evidence

A. Goals of the Policy on Distinguished Professors

The title of Distinguished Professor is conferred on an individual by the Board of Trustees in recognition of exceptional scholarly achievement. The preference for these appointments is to recruit and retain new faculty whose appointments would enrich high priority academic units, especially when candidates require special incentives to influence their decision to accept an offer. These appointments are expected to contribute to CUNY's commitment to recruit and retain an excellent faculty representing a rich diversity of gender and ethnicity.

B. Criteria for Distinguished Professorship Appointments

CUNY Distinguished Professors should comprise a small number of exceptional individuals. That number is currently limited to 125 under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. The primary purpose of the awards is to recruit outstanding faculty to CUNY colleges. Distinguished Professorships are reserved for faculty with records of appropriate performance by national and international standards of excellence in their profession. There must be substantial evidence of this performance, including significant quantities of high quality work in areas of importance in their disciplines. In addition to scholarship, Distinguished Professors are expected to participate in appropriate teaching and service roles in their colleges. The criteria for awards of Distinguished Visiting Professors and Distinguished Professors are the same.

Since Distinguished Professor appointments are not provided solely to recognize past performance, there must be evidence that quality of performance will continue. Colleges must review the performance of all Distinguished Professors at least once every five years. The review will be submitted by the President to the Chancellor. The President, in consultation with appropriate departmental and college persons, is expected to recommend to the Chancellor that a Distinguished Professorship be discontinued if there is failure to perform at levels expected of persons at that rank.

In all but the most exceptional circumstances, candidates who have been rejected at either the initial or final screening may be renominated only once after a minimum of five years from the action.

C. Required Evidence for Awards

There must be evidence that the candidate is regarded, nationally, and where appropriate, internationally, as a leading scholar in his/her academic field. There also must be evidence that the candidate, if named University Distinguished Professor, will continue to perform as a faculty member at levels appropriate for Distinguished Professors.

Recommendations from colleges are expected to represent a balance between the number of distinguished professors recruited from outside the University relative to those appointed from internal CUNY candidates.

II. Procedure

A. Overview

The procedures which guide the appointment to Distinguished Professor are designed to enable the University to gauge the appropriateness of nominees for this award. Nominations for the appointments are presented to the University Board of Trustees at the January and June Board meetings. Prior to presentation to the Board the case must have: (1) college endorsement based on the approved policy and/or practices of the college, which must incorporate the goals, criteria, and evidence prescribed in Section 1 of these guidelines; (2) submission of the materials to the Chancellor's Office; (3) solicitation by the Chancellor's Office of additional reviews; (4) review by the Council of Presidents Committee on Distinguished Professors and recommendation to the Chancellor; (5) approval by the Chancellor and recommendation to the Board Committee on Faculty, Staff, and Administration; (6) approval by the Board Committee on Faculty, Staff, and Administration.

    1. College Process

The College President will forward to the Chancellor (1) a current c.v. checked for accuracy and completeness; (2) Letters of recommendation from the college's President and from the highest ranking academic administrator of the unit (usually the Provost or Dean); (3) External evaluations; (4) Documentation of the processes used up to the point of submission of the case from the College. Evidence of the professional status of a candidate for Visiting Distinguished Professor will follow the same principles, but fewer external reviews may be required.

Note: The evaluations by the College are critical. The evaluators must be among the most highly respected persons in the field and they must be objective, without reason for bias; e.g., evaluators cannot be coauthors of the candidate. Reviewer cannot be from any CUNY college.

2. University Process

After the college-level process is completed and the materials have been forwarded to the Chancellor's Office, outside evaluations are solicited from other distinguished scholars, with an attempt made to obtain at least eight additional reviews. The materials received from the colleges and the additional evaluation constitute the body of materials which are submitted to the Council of Presidents Committee on Distinguished Professors. The award of a Distinguished Professorship then requires review by the Presidents Committee, approval by the Chancellor, and approval by the Board Committee on Faculty, Staff, and Administration and by the CUNY Board.

3. Timetable

The University Board of Trustees will act on nominations for Distinguished Professor at the January Board meeting and at the June Board meeting. Submissions from the College to the Chancellor's Office for appointments to University Distinguished Professor must be at least three months prior to the date of the Board meeting at which the appointment is to be considered. Upon evidence of extraordinary urgency associated with recruiting outstanding faculty, the deadlines may be changed with the approval of the Chair of the Council of Presidents Committee on Distinguished Professors.