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Research and Graduate Studies seeks nominees for 2014 Presidential Research Professorships

September 11, 2013
Lisa C. Freeman

Lisa C. Freeman

Lisa C. Freeman, vice president for Research and Graduate Studies, is inviting nominations and applications for next year’s Presidential Research Professorships.

Presidential Research Professorships are awards in recognition of outstanding accomplishment and future potential in academic research, scholarship or artistry. Faculty can be nominated by any current or retired NIU faculty member from any department; forward letters of nomination to Freeman’s office by Monday, Oct. 14.

The nomination letters must include the candidate’s qualifications in accordance with the expectations indicated below. Four complete sets of application materials (see below) are due by Monday, Nov. 4.

Electronic submission is allowed and preferred via email to [email protected].

Nature of the Award

Up to three new Presidential Research Professors are designated each year, and on initial appointment each receives a base salary increment of $2,000. For each of four consecutive years of full-time employment, each awardee receives an allocation of $5,000 to support his or her scholarly activities (other than personal salary); during that time there is to be one semester of release from teaching and other non-research responsibilities.

These provisions are to be over and above any tangible resources or released time that these individuals might obtain through grants or other sources during the award period.

Presidential Research Professors will be formally appointed in the spring of the year prior to the starting date of their appointment. At this time they will each be presented with a medallion intended for wearing with academic regalia.

After these four years, the title changes to Distinguished Research Professor.


Presidential Research Professors are expected to carry out a continuous program of research, scholarship or artistry during the four-year award period.

To ensure the smooth functioning of their respective departments, each professor will consult with the department chair, the college dean, and the provost, as necessary, before scheduling the released time related to the award. At the conclusion of the award period, each Presidential Research Professor will be asked to conduct a seminar for the NIU community on a topic of choice related to their scholarly and creative endeavors.

Eligibility and selection

From the time of the initiation of these awards in 1982, it has been emphasized they are to be made solely on the basis of scholarly or artistic credentials.

Candidates must be full-time, tenured faculty with the rank of professor. Successful nominees will have received national or artists of highest stature in their disciplines; will have made significant positive impact on the discipline nationally or internationally; and will be expected to continue to contribute to their disciplines at a high level.

Candidates are evaluated by the Select Committee on Presidential Research Professorships, which consists of current PRPs/DRPs and at-large appointments made by the vice president for Research and Graduate Studies and approved by the president. The vice president for Research and Graduate Studies is the non-voting chair of the committee. No member of the Select Committee can be considered for the award. Professor emeriti are ineligible to serve on the committee.

In evaluating the nominees, the committee may draw upon sources of expertise internal and external to the university. Presidential Research Professors are nominated by the Select Committee and appointed by the president. The award is not renewable and will end if and when full-time NIU employment ceases.

Application materials

Candidates for the award are asked to submit the following to the Select Committee in the office of Research and Graduate Studies:

  • The letter of qualifications indicated in the first paragraph (typically, the nomination letter is used).
  • A current vita listing all creative and other scholarly works, as well as recognitions, awards, offices and memberships that are relevant to the profession.
    • In listing publications with multiple authors, please indicate your role as an author by clarifying lead authorship, percent contribution, senior authorship, etc. so that the committee can objectively evaluate candidates from diverse fields across the university.
  • A narrative describing the development of the candidate’s research or artistic career. The latter might be in the form of a biography–with ample reference to the information in the vita — in which it is shown how scholarly contributions have been made.
    • The narrative may be written by the applicant or by a nominator. The Select Committee has requested that the following elements be included: a description of the impact that the candidate has had on the discipline; details of the national or international recognition that has been generated by this impact; a discussion of likely future developments in the research or creative endeavor along with an indication of how advances founded upon current accomplishments will be assisted by the award of a Presidential Research Professorship. A limit of 1,000 words is suggested.
  • Please arrange to have three letters of recommendation from recognized authorities in your field of research from outside of NIU. If more than three are received, only the first three will be used.
    • These letters should be mailed/emailed directly to my office before the deadline. These three outside individuals should have achieved national or international reputations in the appropriate field and should not have a close personal connection with the candidate.
    • To ascertain that these individuals have the capacity for making authoritative comments on your scholarship, you may provide brief biographical sketches. Alternatively, the external references can attach CVs with their letters of recommendation.
    • In addition to the three outside supporting letters, the Vice President for Research & Graduate Studies will select and solicit up to three additional letters from the experts in your field. These extra letters will be secured only for the finalists.

The first item above is due by Monday, Oct. 14, and all four components of the application materials are due by Monday, Nov. 4. Submit four copies, including an original, of all application materials.

Persons who have submitted the above materials within the last two years can reactivate their candidacy by submitting four copies of any information necessary to update the previous file. After the third consecutive submission, the nominee will not be allowed to resubmit a fourth year. After a year off from the competition, the candidate may submit new materials to be considered as a candidate for Presidential Research Professor.

For more information, call (815) 753-9400.