The Position of University Professor at The George Washington University

The purpose of this document is to lay out the nature of the position of University Professor at The George Washington University. The rank of University Professor is the highest "Regular Active Status" faculty position codified by the Faculty Code at the University. Only a very few members of The George Washington University faculties ever achieve this position. It is reserved for a select few individuals who have attained the accomplishments and associated stature to be so recognized.

Described below are the requisite credentials to be appointed as a University Professor, the process whereby such an appointment is ratified, and a statement of the responsibilities of those individuals holding the rank of University Professor.

University Professor - requisite credentials

To be appointed to the rank of University Professor, an individual much have a stellar record of nationally, if not internationally, recognized research and scholarship in a discipline or in interdisciplinary work. This accomplishment must be attested to by external scholars of equivalent standing in the field of work of the candidate. External recognition of such a body of work can also be substantiated through recognition that comes with being awarded major tributes or prizes. In addition, the candidate must currently be active in a field of scholarly endeavor that is recognized as being at the forefront of work being carried out by others working in the given field.

In truly exceptional cases, and for a total of no more than two such appointments at any one time, an individual of outstanding intellectual capacity can be appointed who has spent the bulk of their career providing service for the national or equivalent good provided they have demonstrated the ability to produce truly exceptional scholarly work across a broad perspective derived from experience. This latter capacity must be demonstrated through published journal articles and/or more than one book.

University Professor - process of appointment and ratification

The process for appointing an individual to the rank of University Professor is described in the Faculty Code, page -7-.

"e) University Professors
University Professors shall be appointed with tenure. The process of making such appointments shall be as follows:

  1. The candidate shall be recommended by one or more departments of schools, and
  2. The candidate shall be recommended by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate and/or by a faculty committee appointed by the President; and
  3. The candidate shall be recommended by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and by the President, the appointment to be approved by the Board of Trustees."

University Professor positions are expected to be underpinned by an existing endowment prior to any appointments being made. Such endowments are expected to provide sufficient payout to cover the individual's salary and fringe benefits. The goal will be to have an endowment for each University Professor position that is large enough to cover the associated support costs of such a position (travel expenses, administrative support, etc.).

University Professor - "department" and statement of responsibilities

The Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs (EVPAA) serves as the department chair for the University Professors. The EVPAA, as "department" chair, shall approve all teaching loads and other academic matters associated with the responsibilities of University Professors. The EVPAA evaluates the annual reports of University Professors and assigns their merit-pay increases based on these evaluations.

Teaching: All University Professors have a nominal teaching load of 2-1 or 1-2 per academic year. During a given academic year, a University Professor is expected to teach a large undergraduate course based on his or her field of scholarly work open to all undergraduates. Such courses will not possess a cap lower than the largest classroom on campus (approximately 300 students). Appropriate assistance will be provided the University Professor for this particular course offering, for example, a Graduate Teaching Assistant. University Professors are free to teach both undergraduate and graduate courses including special courses under the "700 series" designation.

Research and Scholarship: All University Professors are expected to maintain an active program of research and scholarship as attested to by publications in top-tier journals and books published by major presses. At least once per academic year, University Professors are expected to give a major talk on campus about their scholarly work. Also, it is expected that University Professors will pursue outside funding for their work through foundations and/or federal grants and contracts as appropriate.

Service: All University Professors are expected to provide high-level service to the University as requested. Such service may involve serving on major task forces concerning a major campus issue or serving on an evaluative panel for a proposal competition. Most importantly, it is expected that University Professors shall be associated with a school or department on campus and to have their office located within that school or department. The purpose of the latter is for the University Professor to collaborate with colleagues therein and to serve as a mentor to younger faculty members. University Professors are relieved of all departmental administrative assignments associated with such school or departmental affiliation.


Issued by the Office of Academic Affairs - October 2006.