Endowed chairs and professorships are endowments created by generous donations of one or more donors that are used to support the activities of distinguished faculty members in the college, usually by providing them a salary supplement and discretionary funding. With approval of the dean, an endowed chair or professorship may also fund at most 50% of the endowed holder’s base faculty salary. This financial support should help some of our best faculty members bring even greater distinction to their program and department. An endowed chair has a larger corpus and therefore makes a larger annual disbursement than an endowed professorship, but otherwise these two types of endowments are the same.
Expectations of Endowed Holders
Appointment of a faculty member to an endowed chair or professorship shall be considered promotion to a rank above full professor, and only full professors will be eligible for such a promotion.
Only faculty members who have demonstrated a sustained high level of creative or scholarly accomplishment should be considered for appointment to endowed chairs and professorships.
Holders of endowed chairs and professorships are expected
- To maintain an extraordinary level of productivity in publicized research and/or creative professional activity, bringing national and international distinction to the college and to themselves;
- To teach at an exemplary level of effectiveness to graduate students and undergraduates;
- To provide service to the department, college and university;
- To be leaders in their field, build significant programs, mentor junior faculty, and provide strategic leadership to their department and college;
- To be good trustees of the endowment, adhering to the intentions of the donor who established it and using discretionary funds appropriately and effectively.
Appointment of Endowed Holders
An appointment as holder of an endowed chair or professorship is made by the Board of Regents upon recommendation of the dean and provost.
Endowed chairs or professors may be appointed from within the faculty according to the internal nomination process explained below.
Endowed chairs and professorships may also be used for recruiting and retaining distinguished faculty members. The dean may dedicate an endowment to a new faculty appointment, usually a search for a senior faculty member, or for the purpose of retaining a senior faculty member only after consultation with the chair or director of the relevant department, with other senior faculty in the school or department, especially holders of endowed chairs and professorships, with the provost, and with external distinguished colleagues.
The level of funding allocated to the endowment holder varies, and is determined by the dean based on availability of funds and the performance of the holder pursuant to the expectations described above.
Discretionary funds from these endowments will be used
- To advance substantial research and/or creative professional activity that clearly leads to timely publication of research or timely public performances or exhibitions of creative work in respected publication outlets and venues;
- To underwrite visiting artists and scholars that enrich the research and educational mission of the holder’s program;
- To enrich the quality of educational opportunities open to students and faculty associated with the professorship or chair;
- To provide financial aid, travel funding, or other aid to deserving graduate students and undergraduates;
- For other purposes that demonstrably advance the research and educational mission of the department, college or university.
Discretionary funds should be fully expended each year, though positive balances will roll forward into the next fiscal year. However, the college will freeze or cap the amount that will be carried forward as a beginning balance each year to two times the holder’s annual discretionary allocation. Salary supplements would not be affected. Permission to carry forward a larger amount to save for a project occurring in a future year should be requested by writing to the Assistant Dean for Administrative Services, who will review on a case-by-case basis.
During the final year of a faculty member’s appointment as endowed holder, it is critically important that the holder’s use of discretionary funding conform to the permitted expenditures listed above and not be used to pay for expenses of personal value to the endowed holder, but of no value to the department, school or college. Therefore, during the final year of a faculty member’s appointment as an endowed holder, the endowed holder’s department chair or school director and the dean must approve expenditures in advance of any discretionary funds being spent. To get approval, at the start of their final year as holder, the faculty member should submit to their department chair or school director a budget plan describing how they propose to use their discretionary funding, including details on travel and research activities. The chair or director will review that budget plan with the dean and respond in a timely manner.
Every faculty member appointed as holder or fellow to an endowment is expected to report annually to the donors of the endowment, describing how they used the provided support and thanking them for the funding. The participation of the endowment holder in completing these annual letters to the donors are an integral component of the college’s stewardship of the donor’s generous gift.
Term of Appointment
All holders of endowed chairs and professorships are appointed for six-year renewable terms, with the expectation of renewal upon confirmation that the endowment holder continues to provide the academic leadership, productivity, and initiative recognized when the original appointment was made.
Review of Endowed Chair and Professorship Holders
A faculty member’s appointment to an endowed chair or professorship will be reviewed and reevaluated as a routine matter simultaneous with sixth-year, comprehensive periodic review, per the following procedure. (In the case of faculty members appointed internally to an endowed position, these reviews may come in fewer than six years, as a matter of routine, after the date of appointment to the endowed rank.)
- In addition to the materials required for their comprehensive periodic review, the department chair will ask endowed holders to submit a one- or two-page statement reporting on and contextualizing their use of the discretionary funding provided to them by the endowment during the six-year period under review. Upon request, dean’s office staff will provide financial reports and copies of annual letters to donors to the endowed holder to help them write this statement.
- During the regular comprehensive periodic review process, the department chair will ask the budget council or executive committee (or a subcommittee thereof) to assess the level of scholarly publication and/or public presentation of creative professional work made by the endowed holder during the period under review, as compared to the expectations for endowed holders listed above.
- Separate from and in addition to the final evaluation of the comprehensive periodic review, the department chair will write a report to the dean of the endowed holder’s contributions over the six years under review and make a recommendation regarding reappointment to the endowed position. This department chair report should comment on and include
- Whether the endowed holder’s professional activities as a scholar, artist, designer, performer, etc. meet a standard worthy of the appointment to the chair or professorship;
- Whether the endowed holder’s use of discretionary funds has been appropriate and effective;
- A recommendation on renewal or nonrenewal of the endowed position;
- A recommendation on increasing, decreasing or continuing the level of discretionary funding provided to the endowed holder.
- All materials submitted for comprehensive periodic review of endowed holders, including the holder’s statement regarding their use of the endowment, the final evaluation of the comprehensive periodic review, and the department chair’s recommendation on reappointment to the endowed position should be submitted to the dean by February 1.
- If the department chair recommends nonrenewal, then the dean will call an ad hoc committee composed of at least three holders of endowed chairs or professorships who will review all materials and make a separate assessment and recommendation to the dean on the reappointment of the endowed holder.
- After review of the materials, the dean will make a recommendation to the provost on the endowed chair or professorship position. This recommendation may include but is not limited to reappointment, nonrenewal of appointment to the endowed position, appointment to a different endowed position, and increasing, decreasing or maintaining the funding allocated to the endowed holder for salary supplement or discretionary purposes.
- The dean will notify the endowed holder on the issue of reappointment to the endowed position by May 1, informing the holder of any action to be taken on the terms of the appointment as described above.
In the event of egregious misuse of funds or misconduct, the dean may call an ad hoc review of the endowed holder on the issue of nonrenewal of the endowed position.
An endowed chair or professorship becomes available for internal nominations at the Dean’s discretion:
- The Dean may elect to open an endowed chair or professorship to nominations and may restrict those nominations to an area or areas, respecting all donor restrictions on the chair or professorship.
- Chairs or directors will be charged with soliciting nominations and recommendations from among the faculty of the relevant school or department and assembling nomination materials for the Dean’s review. Candidates may not self nominate.
- Nomination materials must be submitted to the Dean not later than February 1. (Final recommendations from the deans to the Provost are due March)
- All internal nominations should include the following:
- A current curriculum vitae of the nominee
- A letter of nomination from a tenured, full professor who is also a member of the faculty in the school or department in which the nominee holds tenure. (This letter of nomination may also serve as one of the three required letters of recommendation.)
- In addition to the letter of nomination, two letters of recommendation from tenured, full professors, at least one of which is from a distinguished scholar from outside UT but in the candidate’s field of expertise.
- A letter of recommendation on the nomination from the chair of the school or department in which the nominee holds tenure.
(For newly appointed faculty, letters of nomination and recommendation may speak simultaneously to the questions of appointment to the faculty as well as appointment to endowed professorships or chairs.)
- The department chair or school director will submit all nomination materials to the Dean.
- The Dean will then submit a written recommendation on the appointment to the Provost along with supporting nominating materials for all nominations.
(Approved September 10, 2020 by the Dean of the College of Fine Arts, with consultation and endorsement of the department chairs and school directors.)