Senior scholars of the University may receive the title of Distinguished University Professor in recognition of outstanding scholarly achievement at the University, pre-eminence in a particular field of knowledge and excellence or innovation in their teaching.


Professors holding regular APUO positions are eligible to submit their application. Exceptionally, clinical professors who are particularly active in the supervision of graduate and postdoctoral students and who have significantly contributed to the University's visibility may also be considered. The number of such distinctions should be no more than 25 regular tenured faculty. This number would not include persons who retain the title after retirement.

Source: Guidelines (updated in 2023)


Selection procedure

Selection criteria

A nominee will have demonstrated:

  • remarkable research achievement at the University,
  • pre-eminence in a particular field or fields of knowledge,
  • a significant international impact in one or more fields,            
  • excellence and innovation in teaching,
  • an exemplary level of commitment to promoting equity, diversity and inclusion in their academic and teaching activities,
  • an exemplary level of commitment to the mission, vision and values of the University of Ottawa.


The nomination process will be open, with requests for nominations coming from all members of the University community. A candidate may not apply on his or her own behalf. Members of the Selection Committee may not submit nominations.

Nominations will be addressed to the Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs, chair of the Selection Committee, and must include:

  • a nomination proposal of no more than three pages, signed by six professors from at least two academic units of the University, justifying the nomination and their choice and specifically addressing those points outlined in the selection criteria. The proposal will also be signed by the community members who nominated the candidate if they are not professors. Additionally, it would be helpful to include a note about publication norms for the field as these can vary between faculties;
  • four external letters of recommendation addressed directly to the attention of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs and signed by scholars of international standing in the nominee’s field, preferably scholars who have never collaborated with the nominee;
  • a condensed and up-to-date curriculum vitae (max. five pages) outlining the nominee’s body of work and highlighting his/her ten most significant scholarly publications;
  • a short (max. one page) non-technical description of the nominee’s contribution to his or her field of expertise and teaching.

Selection Committee

The Selection Committee will be appointed by the Joint Committee of the Senate and the Board of Governors, on the recommendation of the President. The Provost and Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs will chair this committee.

The Selection Committee will comprise six internal University of Ottawa members and two members from other universities. The membership of the committee will be made up of distinguished scholars and will be as broadly based as possible.

The Selection Committee will meet to review and rank the applications according to their compliance with selection criteria. It may request reports on each nominee from such additional outside referees as it believes are warranted. The final selection will be made by consensus after all documentation has been considered.

The Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs, on behalf of the Selection Committee, will present the recommendations for the title of Distinguished University Professor to the President and to the Joint Committee of Board and Senate for consideration. Such recommendations will be accompanied by a written statement outlining the accomplishments of each nominee.

Nominations not accepted by the Committee may be held active for up to three years. Nominators are responsible for providing an updated dossier in each year that the application is under consideration.

No candidate may be nominated a second time until at least two years have elapsed since the last consideration by the committee.

The number of full-time Distinguished University Professors will be no more than 25.


A modest fund for research will be provided to each Distinguished University Professor for the first five years of the designation.

A Distinguished University Professor will retain the title on retirement.

Professors will be recognized at a ceremony organized by the university to celebrate excellence in teaching and research.

Distinguished University Professors will receive special recognition at convocation and, given their status as role models within the institution, should play a visible role in the formal affairs of the University.

Additional information

Should you have any questions, please contact [email protected].