Policy Statement on the Alumni Distinguished Professorship

Policy Memorandum No. 25

Recommended by the Commission on Faculty Affairs: November 19, 1980
Approved by University Council: January 5, 1981
Approved by the President: January 5, 1981
Effective: Immediately

Because faculty have had available to them in the past only general information on the selection, perquisites, and responsibilities of Alumni Distinguished Professors, and because fairness in adninistering these awards requires carefully established guidelines, the University Council has approved the following description and procedures to guide the administration of the Alumni Distinguished Professorship program:


I. General Conditions and Definitions

The Alumni Distinguished Professorship recognizes extraordinary academic citizenship and distinguished service within the Virginia Tech university community. In recognition of the importance of Alumni to the University, the Alumni Distinguished Professorship is a pre-eminent faculty appointment, reserved by the Board of Visitors for recognition of faculty who, over time, have made outstanding contributions to the instructional program of the University, and, in so doing, have touched the lives of generations of Virginia Tech alumni. An ADP appointment is permanent, conferred by the Board of Visitors upon an individual for the remainder of his or her active service as a member of the Virginia Tech Faculty. Currently (1980), not more than six active members of the faculty, University-wide, may hold these endowed Professorships at any given time, although this number may be increased by future action of the Alumni Association Board. There is no quota by College, Division, or Department. An Alumni Distinguished Professor may not concurrently hold any other endowed professorship or professorial chair.

II. Eligibility and Criteria for Selection

Since the hallmark of the Alumni Distinguished Professorship is distinguished contribution, over time, to this university in particular, newly arrived faculty are not eligible for nomination. And while there is no specified minimum number of years of service required for eligibility, the selection committee will place strong emphasis on the magnitude and character of the candidate's impact on academic programs at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Nominees should also have established outstanding personal records of accomplishment in creative scholarship.

III. Nomination and Selection Procedures

By February 15 of each academic year, the Provost will determine if there is to be a vacancy(ies) in the Alumni Distinguished Professor group and, if appropriate, will issue a call to the Academic Deans for nominations. The Deans will, in turn, invite nominations from academic departments. Screening procedures at departmental and collegiate levels will involve appropriate "personnel" or "executive" committees in place. Nominations will be accompanied by a full dossier of relevant materials including a current curriculum vitae, letters of nomination from both the departmental and collegiate screening committees, letters of support, and other evidence attesting to the quality of the contributions of the nominee(s). Nominations are to be received by April 1.

In developing his recommendations, the Provost will rely primarily on the advice and counsel of the University Commission on Faculty Affairs. The Commission, in turn, will invite the evaluation of nominees by the incumbent Alumni Distinguished Professors. The Provost will forward his recommendation(s) through the President to the Executive Committee of the Boards of Directors of the VPI Educational Foundation and the VPI Alumni Association for their joint review and recommendation(s). The President will then make the final judgment and will take his recommendation(s) to the Board of Visitors at the annual May meeting. New Alumni Distinguished Professorship appointments will be announced at the annual Commencement Program in June.

IV. Perquisites and Responsibilities

  1. The Alumni Association has set aside an endowment of $40,000 for each of the Alumni Distinguished Professorships. This endowment will provide an annual salary supplement(1) for each ADP of $2,000. Endowment income, beyond this annual $2,000, will accumulate in a special account in the Educational Foundation. This account may be drawn on at the discretion of the Professor in whose name it is held, in support of any appropriate academic activities (e.g. books, professional societies, travel, journal subscriptions, research expenses and equipment, etc.).

  2. It is expected of each Alumni Distinguished Professor that he or she will continue in service to the Department, the College and the University at the same high level evident at the time of appointment. But in particular, within whatever latitude the Department Head and College Dean can accommodate, the ADP will be encouraged to teach, when invited, in other departments of the University or in collegiate or University courses (e.g., honors colloquia). He or she may also elect, in a given term, to divert energies from the usual classroom responsibilities to other valued activities, such as substantive curriculum revision or textbook preparation. In addition, Alumni Distinguished Professors should expect to be called on from time to time, individually and also as a group, to render some special service or to offer particular advice to the University at large.

  3. The special features of the endowment, described above, are intended to provide fiscal resources of unusual flexibility for each Alumni Distinguished Professor. But, in addition, in support of the high level of performance expected of this select group of faculty, university and College administrative officers will be cognizant, within acknowledged fiscal and physical constraints, of the particular needs of each individual Alumni Distinguished Professor for appropriate support personnel and sufficient space.


1 The annual salary supplement is to be considered, quite literally, a recurring special award and should not be taken into account by the department head or dean when annual salary adjustments are made. This should be noted in writing when salary adjustment recommendations are submitted by Department Heads, and amounts of increases and percentage increase should be in reference to the base salary without reference to the supplement.

President's Policy Memorandum

URL: http://purl.vt.edu/vtdocs/policies/ppm25