Internal Distinguished Professor Guidelines

                 Nominating a Distinguished Professor

Nomination of a faculty member for a Distinguished Professorship is a highly confidential process. This process should be handled by the nominator, the SPC, and the Provost's office. For questions please contact Bailey Benninger at 607-777-6985 or at

Required Materials:

Initial nomination materials submitted by the nominator:

  • Nomination Letter
  • Current CV for nominee

Once nomination has been approved the SPC will solicit the following:

  • 5-8 Internal letters of recommendation
    • 1 letter from Dean*
    • 1 letter from Provost*
    • 1 letter from President*

*Indicates these letters MUST be included in the final package. The SPC is required to obtain the Deans letter. The Provost Office will obtain the letters from the Provost and President.

  • Internal release forms
  • 5-8 External letters of recommendation
  • External release forms
  • Current abbreviated CVs from all external letter submitters
    • External CV's for Distinguished Teaching Professor, Distinguished Service Professor, and Distinguished Librarian are limited to 5 pages

Additional forms submitted by the nominator:

  • Nomination Abstract

Timeline for submission: The on-campus Distinguished Committees will meet twice a semester to review any new cases and new material for ongoing cases. All materials MUST be reviewed and approved by the on-campus committee before being sent to the president’s office 1 month before the final SUNY submission deadline.

SUNY deadlines 2023-2025:

Fall 2023: 

SUNY Deadline: September 8, 2023 

Deadline to president’s office: August 1, 2023

Deadline for completed dossiers to on-campus committee: April 15, 2023

Spring 2024: 

SUNY Deadline: January 12, 2024

Deadline to president’s office: November 1, 2023

Deadline for completed dossiers to on-campus committee: August 15, 2023

Fall 2024: 

SUNY Deadline: September 13, 2024

Deadline to president’s office: August 1, 2024 

Deadline for completed dossiers to on-campus committee: April 15, 2023

Spring 2025: 

SUNY Deadline: January 10, 2025

Deadline to president’s office: November 1, 2024

Deadline for completed dossiers to on-campus committee: August 15, 2024

Step 1: A nomination letter and current CV must be submitted via the online platform. 

Nomination letter: Should highlight ways this faculty members work has been transformative in their field and why this faculty member is deserving of this promotion. It should provide concrete examples on what makes their research/teaching/service stand out from not only that of their peers, but other renowned people in their field as a whole. This should include h-indices (if applicable) and other professional citations.

Current CV: This CV should be as current as possible and should have separate sections for:

  • Educational background
  • Academic/visiting appointments
  • Honors and awards received
  • Publications
  • External funding
  • Invited/keynote presentations
  • H/I index numbers if applicable
  • Other presentations
  • Teaching accomplishments (including lists of graduate dissertations, theses and research directed and other mentoring)
  • Service contributions to the University, the community, and the profession (work with Learned societies, editorial boards, conferences organized, and other relevant activities). Entries for awards should indicate significance of each item. 
  • Specific data must include the date of the last update, the candidate's department, the date of appointment to the SUNY system, highest rank attained and date of appointment to that rank.

Once a nomination letter and current CV have been obtained, the nominator will complete the Distinguished Professor E-Form on the online submission platform found at and upload these documents to the form.

Online Platform:

  • Visit []
  • Select [Other] on the right-hand side of the top menu bar.
  • Select [Provost Office E-Forms]
  • Select [Distinguished Professor Case Request] on the right-hand side of the top menu bar.

submission step 1

  • Under [Nominee] select the faculty member from the drop-down menu or type in their name
  • Under [Present Title] type in the faculty member’s current title
  • Under [Department] select the department the faculty member works in from the drop-down menu or type in the department name
  • Under [Nominee Case Type] select the type of Distinguished status they are being nominated for from the drop-down menu
  • Upload the nomination letter and the CV by dragging the files from your desktop into the [Drop files here to upload attachments] section.
  • Once the files are uploaded and appear in the bottom box, click on the drop down arrow under [Attach resume] and select the resume
  • Click on the drop down arrow under [Attach nomination letter] and select the nomination letter

Once the nomination letter and the CV have been submitted through the online portal, the provost’s office will make sure the nominee meets all basic criteria. The nominator will receive an email if the case has been accepted for review or denied. If the case meets the initial criteria, the request will be approved, and an online profile will be generated for the on-campus Distinguished Professor Committee to review at their next meeting.

Once the case has been discussed, the nominator and the Dean’s office will receive an email on behalf of the Chair of the Distinguished Committee with the next steps in the process which can be any of the following:

  • Resubmission of the nomination packet: The nomination letter may need to be tweaked to highlight the faculty members exceptional contributions or the CV may need to be more thorough.
  • Denial of nomination: The nominee may be too early on in their career to have a convincing case. The committee will recommend ways this candidate can improve their repertoire. Generally, this includes nominations for other campus awards first.
  • Forming an SPC: The case has been approved by the committee and letters of recommendation can now be pursued. The nominator and Dean’s office should create a small committee comprised of other Distinguished Faculty members that are familiar with the nominee’s field (but not close to the candidate).

Step 2: Soliciting for Internal and External Letters

Internal Letters: A minimum of five, but no more than eight, letters are required. A nominee must have letters from the provost (Chief Academic Officer) and the candidate's Dean/Division Head. These letters are to provide detailed information and the specific rationale- preferably in layman's terms - for the candidate's nomination and justification for appointment.

  • Internal letters should be from other on-campus faculty that are familiar with the nominee’s field and work, but do not work closely with the candidate.
  • These letters should be from senior faculty members.
  • For Distinguished Professor Teaching nominations: At least 2 letters are required to be from former students

External Letters: External Letters of Recommendation- A minimum of five but no more than eight, are required to validate the stature of the candidate proposed for appointment. We encourage departments aim to obtain more than the maximum of 8 letters so that the committee can review all letters and choose the strongest letters for submission. 

    • For Distinguished Professor Teaching nominations: At least one of these external letters should be from a former student of the candidate attesting to the candidate’s teaching ability, dedication and service to students
  • These letters should be from individuals whose own status or accomplishment is appropriate to a promotion at this level. They should be persons sufficiently acquainted with both the candidate's work and the profession to be able to write an informed letter specifically locating the candidate's standing and contribution to the discipline, and explaining the significance of the candidate's awards and honors. 
  • Letter writers should be disinterested, that is, generally individuals who have not collaborated, co-authored, co-taught, or been in a student-teacher relationship with the candidate. If the letter writers have a relationship with the candidate or if the letter writers have collaborated with the candidate in the past, they should pass the same distance test used by the major funding agencies in the candidate's field.

Tips for External Letter Solicitation:

  • The rank of the letter writer matters – best if they come from Distinguished Professors or full professors holding endowed (named) positions.
  • Definitely no letters from former students (unless the former student is Distinguished)
  • Letters from top ranked universities are preferable to ones from small liberal arts schools.
  • Points 1-3 above are important because the letter writer should comment specifically on whether the individual would achieve promotion to Distinguished Professor at their institution. If they don’t, it is often a bad sign for the case.
  • The best letters run close to two full pages, sometimes more. It is important that the letter writer convey their understanding of the person’s work at a deep, professional level. Many letters come back with the appropriate superlatives, but inadvertently convey that the reviewer doesn’t actually know the person’s work, or didn’t care enough to review the case strongly. Even worse, this conveys that the applicants work did not have sufficient impact on the field to catch the attention of the reviewer.
  • The ideal letter conveys significant understanding of the applicant’s professional contributions and how those contributions impacted the field. This is a difficult balance because the committee is broadly comprised of faculty from all disciplines and must be readable to the group. With that said, it is better to err on the side of too technical than too simplistic.

For Internal and External reference letter request templates, click Here

Each external letter of recommendation must be accompanied by the author's abbreviated curriculum vitae (a maximum of 5 pages). 

Step 3: All internal and external letters/CVs need to be uploaded via the online platform.

Once the case profile has been generated and the SPC committee has solicited materials they can be uploaded via online platform

The nominator can access the online platform case by:

  • Visiting []
  • Select [Other] on the right-hand side of the top menu bar.
  • Select [Distinguished Professor Cases] from the drop down menu. This will show the nominator all cases they can upload files for
  • Click on the case to upload files
    • If another admin personnel will be uploading documents on behalf of the nominator, please contact Bailey Benninger at 777-6985 or at so this person can be given access to do so.

Click on [Add new File] on the left-hand side to submit each document.

step 2

  • The case ID will automatically populate with the ID number for the candidate.
  • Under [Section] select what kind of document you will be uploading.

file up load

Internal files: 

  • Nomination Abstract
  • All internal letters of recommendation
  • All internal release forms

External files: 

  • All external letters of recommendation
  • All external release forms

External CVs: 

  •  CV’s from each external letter writer

internal screenshot

Once you have selected the section and type of document you are uploading, drag and drop the document from your desktop into the [Drop files here to upload to File Upload] section.

  • Click on [Upload] in the bottom right-hand corner to upload the document to the profile.
    • This platform only allows the admin to upload one document at a time. Repeat this selection process for each document you need to upload for the faculty member.
  • Once all the documents have been uploaded, they will show up in their respective section. You can view these documents by clicking on the gray bar for each section.

website blue.grey bar

    • Internal document types will only show up under the Internal files Section
    • External document types will only show up under the External files Section
    • External CV's document types will only show up under the External CVs Section
  • Clicking on the blue [Section help] box to the right of each section will provide helpful instructions on what each section requires.

Step 4: Review Process

Every time a new case has been approved by the Provost Office or new materials have been uploaded to an existing case, the Provost Office will receive an email notification that something needs to be reviewed.

  • An agenda is updated for the next on-campus Distinguished Committee meeting to review all materials.
  • The campus Distinguished Committee meets twice a semester to review all current/new cases. The committee will review this new case (or the new materials submitted for an on-going case) and provide feedback for next steps or address any corrections that are needed to the materials.
  • If the committee requires additional information at any point in the review process the nominator will be alerted of what updates are needed. These updates will then be reviewed at the next meeting.

Step 5: Final Submission

  • Once the on-campus committee has come to a unanimous vote that the case should be submitted to SUNY the Provost Office will organize a hard copy of the case to submit to the president’s office.
    • As required by SUNY, the original nomination letter is redacted from the final portfolio and the nomination abstract is sent in its place. 
  • The case must be given to the president's office at least one month prior to the SUNY deadline (see submission deadline chart) so the president can review and write the final letter of endorsement.
  • The president’s office will submit to SUNY by the closest upcoming deadline.

Decisions are typically announced in the following semester. The decision letter is forwarded to the Deans office who will inform the nominee.