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Office of the Provost > Guidelines for the Appointment of Endowed Chairs and Professorships



The endowment of chairs and professorships provides a means by which Auburn University can recruit and retain, on a competitive basis, outstanding faculty who make significant contributions in teaching, research, scholarship, the creative and performing arts, outreach and extension.

Standards and Procedures for Appointments

  1. In the absence of a clear specification by the donor to the contrary, all endowed positions may be filled from either within or outside the university faculty.

  2. At the outset of the search process, a position announcement that describes the standards and expectations to be used in determining the candidate pool will be developed.

  3. Appointees to endowed positions must have a record of distinguished academic or professional work in an appropriate field. Such distinction will be judged in national terms, as compared with colleagues in peer institutions. Satisfaction of this standard must be verified at the department and college levels, and confirmed by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

  4. Internal peer review is essential for all nominees for endowed positions.

  5. The university’s commitment to affirmative action and goals of the affirmative action program will be considered in appointing nominees to endowed positions.

  6. The following procedures will be followed normally in the case of nominees for endowed positions within a department in a college when the position is being filled from within the university faculty:

    1. The chairperson or colleague that nominates an individual for an endowed position will compile a file on the nominee that will contain a review of supporting evidence for the nomination and a list of five external individuals qualified to evaluate the nominee. The nominator(s) will include in the nominee’s file a specification of the nature of his/her distinguished work. The file will then be submitted to the dean.
    2. The dean will establish an ad hoc review committee of five persons, including, if possible, endowed position holders, to review the department’s nomination. The review committee will be composed of at least two faculty members outside the discipline, and at least two members outside the college. (These two criteria may be met by the same individual.)
    3. The review committee will review the supporting evidence and seek external letters of appraisal either from the list of names submitted by the department or from other eminent scholars qualified to evaluate the nominee. The committee will then make a recommendation to the dean as to approval or disapproval of the nomination. A rationale for either action must be presented in writing to the department as well as to the dean.
  7. Nominees for college-wide positions or whose skills cover multi-disciplinary subject areas and who will serve the university across departments within a college or across colleges will be reviewed at the college or university level, respectively. The review committee, consisting of five people, will include three faculty members closely aligned to the nominee’s primary focus as well as two endowed position holders. The committee will be appointed by the dean or the Provost and Vice President for Academic affairs.

  8. When persons external to the university are sought for an endowed position, a faculty search committee will be appointed by the dean of the college or school. That committee will consist of at least five members, two of whom will be from disciplines other than that in which the position is based. The faculty search guidelines of the university will be observed during the search. External appraisals of the quality of the work of nominees will be sought by the search committee. The search committee will forward its recommendations to the departmental chairperson and college dean.

  9. After initial approval by the dean or a review committee, each nomination will be submitted to the Provost. The Provost will review the file and, after consultation with the President of the University, approve or disapprove the nomination.

  10. Rejection of a nomination at any level will be accompanied by a written justification. If a nomination is rejected, it may be resubmitted with a response to the reasons for rejection.

  11. The letter of initial appointment will specify the duration of and expectations for the particular endowed position, including performance criteria and performance review procedures.

  12. In general, conditions and expectations stated in the appointment letter will be the principal basis for reviews.

    1. Consistent with present policies and procedures on faculty evaluation, an annual review will be conducted at the department level. This review will take into account one’s productivity over time in addressing the expectations of the appointment letter and/or subsequent agreements.
    2. Consistent with practices of good stewardship, the dean will annually send to the donor or the donor’s representative a brief report, written by the endowed title holder, that summarizes major activities and accomplishments in the previous year. Consistent with the line of reporting, the dean should provide a copy of the report to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
    3. Holders of endowed and named chairs are expected to maintain exceptional levels of productivity that are characterized as excellent in order to retain the title and privileges.
    4. If the holder of an endowed or named chair is not performing as expected, a recommendation to revoke continuation of the title and its privileges may be forwarded by the dean to the Provost.
  13. As donors may have specified selection criteria or preferences in the endowment agreement, care should be given to follow the agreement’s “Professorship/Chair Endowment Guidelines.”

  14. Professorships cannot be awarded where there is a perceived or real conflict of interest.

  15. Funds used to establish professorships or endowments should be used in accordance with any donor restrictions.  If you have questions concerning the use of funds or donor restrictions, please contact the Auburn University Office of Development.

February 1, 2011

Last January 5, 2012: October 17, 2016