Call for Nominations: University and Distinguished Professors

Message to USC Faculty

From: Charles F. Zukoski, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

The highest academic honors our university bestows are the University and Distinguished professorships, and we reserve that distinction for our colleagues who have brought special renown through the excellence of their academic, research, and/or artistic accomplishments.

I would like to invite you to submit nominations for these positions. As you consider your faculty colleagues, we encourage you to adopt a comprehensive, holistic definition of excellence. The faculty we are hoping you’ll nominate have produced essential work that has enlightened our collective understanding and contributed to the advancement of society. We encourage you to consider exemplary scholars that represent the full diversity and scope of achievement at USC, including those who have created innovative programs, partnerships, and mentorship opportunities for the university and surrounding communities.

Your nominations should be submitted in a confidential memo to the dean of your school. In your memo, please summarize the reasons the nominee merits this recognition.

  • Please provide evidence of national and international stature, such as major prizes, medals, or membership in the National Academies.
  • Please provide titles or other recognition given to those who have advanced the public conversation, policy, or practice in areas of marginalized communities.
  • The titles of University Professor and Distinguished Professor are of equal rank and dignity, but for University Professor nominations, please explain how the individual makes a significant interdisciplinary contribution. Please also indicate whether the faculty member holds a joint appointment.
  • Briefly summarize the nominee’s special contribution as a University citizen.
If the information is available without contacting the nominee, please enclose the individual’s CV, including publications, honors, and grants. Confidentiality is crucial to the nomination process. Nominees shouldn’t know that they are under consideration, and nominators shouldn’t solicit letters of support from anyone.

Deans should forward all nominations received to Executive Vice Provost Elizabeth Graddy ( by February 1, 2021 accompanied by a memo containing the dean’s recommendations. A committee of current University and Distinguished Professors will then review nominations and provide me with its recommendations, and I will consult with President Folt, who will make the final selection.

We aspire that our highest honors should be reflective of our mission and our community, and we urge you to help us identify the professors we should celebrate. Thank you for your participation and for your work on behalf of our University.

A list of current and past Distinguished and University Professors can be found at:

cc: Office of the President
Academic Deans
President’s Senior Leadership Team
Provost’s Leadership Team