Distinguished Professors

Preparing a Dossier

Dossiers for successful nominees for distinguished professor differ, but all dossiers must include the following:

Nomination Letter

The nomination letter should clearly identify the nominee and the nominator and should summarize clearly and succinctly, in language appropriate for review by colleagues who are not skilled in the nominee's discipline:

  • the nature of the nominee's work
  • the nominee's impact on his or her field and the significance of that field (in cases where the nominee or field is unlikely to be familiar to laypeople)
  • the nominee's major awards, lectures, and other forms of professional recognition
  • the most significant points from the external letters of review
  • any school or department process that resulted in the nomination
  • any other evidence of scholarly, artistic, or literary excellence

The nomination letter should not exceed 2,400 words (about five single-spaced pages).

Supporting Letters

One of the most important components of a successful nomination dossier is evaluation by peers, especially recognized leaders in the discipline. The nomination should include no more than eight letters that provide an assessment of the nominee's work, impact on the field, and overall scholarly, artistic, or literary distinction. The number of letters is not as important as their quality and specificity and the qualifications of the writers. The committee recommends that:

  • referees should be at top-ranked institutions and highly regarded in the nominee's field
  • one or more letters should come from outside of the United States
  • there should be a brief statement reflecting the expertise and standing of each referee
  • the letters should articulate the importance and impact of the nominee's scholarly and creative work
  • the letters should address the national and international reputation of the nominee and the nominee's standing in his or her discipline
  • in no event should the letters merely restate facts from the curriculum vitae or focus on the nominee's teaching or service
  • letters from colleagues in related disciplines should be included if they help make clear that the distinction is important to more than one field
  • a limited number of letters from within Indiana University can be helpful if they come from the nominee's chair or dean, or from highly regarded colleagues in the nominee's field
  • as a general matter, letters should not be solicited from anyone whose work is currently supervised by the nominee or who has published extensively with the nominee

The letters need not be long or exhaustive; what matters most is that they clearly and unambiguously demonstrate that the nominee's body of work has been so significant as to warrant the rank of distinguished professor. The letters should be submitted electronically, all at once. (If the nominator received them as hard copy, they should be scanned for electronic submission.) For successful nominees, segments of the letters will be used in the printed ceremony program booklet and may be used in the university's efforts to publicize these honors, in print and online.

Current Vitae

The nomination should include an up-to-date curriculum vitae of the nominee.

Indication of the Dean's and/or Chair's Support (optional)

Although not required, it is very helpful if nominations indicate whether they are supported by the nominee's dean and/or department chair. This can be indicated by having the dean and/or chair sign (or countersign) the nomination letter or through a short separate statement indicating his or her support.

Three Examples of the Nominee's Work (optional)

The dossier may, but is not required to, include a maximum of three examples of the nominee's most influential work, such as articles, books, images of artistic works, musical recordings, exhibition catalogs, or other materials that convey the significance of the nominee's work. All documents should be submitted online (log in with your IU username and passphrase) on or before October 15, 2018