Distinguished University Professor program to recognize exceptional faculty

Distinguished University Professor program to recognize exceptional faculty

The Queen’s community is invited to help create a list of potential honorific names to go with the new title.

By Peter Jeffrey

April 17, 2018


Queen’s University has created a new program to celebrate some of its top internationally recognized researchers. The Distinguished University Professor program was recently approved by the Senate and it will be open to all individuals holding a full-time academic appointment at Queen’s.

“The Distinguished University Professor designation is the highest research-related honour the university can bestow on a faculty member whose pre-eminent contributions to research in a particular field of knowledge are recognized both nationally and internationally,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “As a reflection of the highly prestigious nature of the program, the number of awards shall normally be limited to approximately one percent of those holding academic appointments at Queen’s.”

A call for nominations will be issued each fall to the university community and a special advisory committee will meet to consider all nominations put forward in the winter. It will then make a recommendation to the Principal on which nominees, if any, should be designated as a Distinguished University Professor.

Once a professor has been chosen for the designation, they will then have the opportunity to select from a list of approved honorific names to form part of their official title, which will be styled as “[Honorific Name] Distinguished University Professor.” As an example, the professor could then be known as the “Jane Smith Distinguished University Professor.”

“The creation of this list of honorific names also creates an opportunity for the university to celebrate people who have made significant and lasting contributions to Queen’s and to Canadian society,” says Principal Woolf. “Along with being incredible researchers and educators, many of those up for consideration were also trailblazers who through their work at Queen’s and beyond promoted the rights of women, Indigenous Peoples, and racialized people.”

A small working group has been created to develop a long list of honorific names and everyone in the Queen’s community is invited to submit suggestions, keeping the following criteria in mind:

  • Names are intended to reflect a wide variety of academic and personal backgrounds of individuals with a connection to Queen’s;
  • The individuals should have had a significant impact nationally or internationally in their field of study or work;
  • Names shall normally be those of persons who are deceased or who otherwise are at such a stage in their life and career such that their legacy is well-established; and
  • Individuals who have already been honoured with the naming of a building on campus will not normally be considered, as the working group feels that the program is an opportunity to recognize those whose contributions have not yet been acknowledged in a prominent way at the university.

Once the list of honorific names is finalized, names can be added or removed over time as it will be reviewed every three to five years. To suggest possible names for the program, email the senate@queensu.ca email account.

The terms of reference for the program, and the membership of the working group, are available here .