Distinguished Professorships

Distinguished Professorships

The Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund (DPETF) program is a matching of private contributions with State appropriations to create endowments for distinguished professorships to stimulate private support and commitment to strengthening the faculties and promoting excellence throughout all of the campuses of The University of North Carolina.

Spending Policy

Expenditures are governed by “Questions and Answers Concerning the Distinguished Professors Trust Fund of the University of North Carolina” and UNC Policy 600.2.3, Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund.

Use of Funds

  • Funds may be used only for the support of the endowed professorship (e.g., a salary supplement for the holder, travel and research expenses associated with the holder’s professional responsibilities, stipends for teaching and research assistants for the distinguished professor, special equipment or materials needed to support the teaching and research of the holder). It is a violation of the law to use funds for purposes unrelated to the particular professorship (e.g., departmental operating budgets, salary off-set).
  • Salary supplements should remain consistent from year to year unless extenuating circumstances warrant reconsideration. Factors including strategic priorities and salary equity must be taken into consideration.  Any change must be approved by the Provost and the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration.
  • If there is a legislative salary increase, UNCSA will not receive state funds to provide an increase on the endowment portion of the salary. UNCSA will be required to identify funds to give a like increase on the endowment-funded portion of the faculty member’s salary.
  • The amount and purpose of the expenditures each year shall be determined through consultation between the faculty member, their dean, and the Provost. The Plan for the Use of Funds should be submitted by April 1.

Plan for Use of Funds - Distinguished Professorship

Plan for Use of Funds - Distinguished Guest Artist

Appointment Overview

  • Full professors may hold a state matched professorship on a fixed or term basis award and shall be called “Distinguished Professor.” If the professor retires, enters phased retirement or their appointment becomes less than full-time in some other way, the professor is no longer eligible to hold a state matching professorship. Visiting professorships are an exception to this requirement.
  • For an associate professor, the recipient shall be called “Distinguished Scholar,” and for an assistant professor, the recipient shall be called “Distinguished Fellow.”
  • The Distinguished Scholars and Distinguished Fellows appointments shall be time limited to the faculty member’s current multi-year contract. The distinguished appointment may be re-awarded to the faculty member upon receipt of a new contract, but this is not automatic. If the department wishes to continue the award with the faculty member from one rank to another, it must also be renewed when the individual changes rank.
  • An Associate Professor who is an endowed Distinguished Scholar does not automatically become a Distinguished (Full) Professor when promoted. The following are two options for what might happen when an Associate Professor who is an endowed Distinguished Scholar is promoted to Full Professor: (1) The faculty member does not retain the distinguished appointment upon moving to full-professor; or (2) When promoted, the faculty member becomes (Full) Professor and Distinguished Scholar, until such time that they merit further advancement to Distinguished Full Professor.
  • A full professor who receives a distinguished professorship shall retain that appointment as long as they remain a full-time member of the faculty in good standing.
  • When a faculty member retires or enters phased retirement, he/she is no longer eligible to hold an endowed professorship.