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

Guidelines for the Appointment of Endowed Chairs and Professorships


Endowed positions, including professorships, distinguished professorships, endowed chairs, and eminent scholars, provide a means by which Auburn University can be competitive in the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty.

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 and/or professional work in an appropriate field. Such distinction will be judged in national terms, i.e., compared with colleagues at peer or aspirant institutions.

  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 normally will be followed 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 nominee(s) for an endowed position will compile a file that contains (1) a summary of the nature of his/her distinguished work and (2) supporting evidence for the nomination. The file(s) will then be submitted to the nominee(s)’s dean through the department head or chair.
    2. The dean will establish an ad hoc review committee of at least three faculty including, if possible, endowed position holders, to review the nomination.
    3. The review committee will evaluate the supporting evidence and make a recommendation to the dean as to the approval or disapproval of the nominee(s).

  7. Nominees for positions across colleges will be reviewed at the university level. Nominations should flow through the department head or chair, to the dean, and to the Provost. The committee will be appointed by the Provost.

  8. When persons external to the university are sought for an endowed position, the search committee will serve as the de facto review committee.

  9. In the case of a single nomination for an endowed position, the dean will approve or disapprove the nomination. In the case of multiple nominations, the dean will select a nominee using the input from the review committee. The dean’s recommendation will be submitted to the Provost. The Provost will review the file and approve or disapprove the appointment.

  10. The letter of initial appointment will specify the duration (not to exceed five years) of and expectations for the particular endowed position, including performance criteria and performance review procedures. The start date for all endowed chairs/professorships will be October 1. 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, the faculty annual review (FAR) will consider the faculty member’s productivity over time in addressing the expectations of the appointment letter and/or subsequent agreements and will require a statement by the unit head as to whether the faculty member continues to satisfactorily meet the criteria.
    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 position holder, that summarizes major activities and accomplishments in the previous year.
    3. Holders of endowed positions 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 position 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. The Provost’s decision will be final.
  11. 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.”

  12. Endowed positions will not be awarded where there is a conflict of interest.

  13. Funds used for endowed positions 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.

  14. To maintain the accuracy of institutional records, units will submit a list of all current endowed positions to the Human Resources officer in Provost’s Office annually on October 1.

Revised August 13, 2018

Last Updated: November 20, 2018