Faculty and Unclassified Staff Handbook
Chapter 3 -- Faculty: Employment, Tenure, Promotion, and Merit

Institutional Policy Guidelines for the Establishment of Endowed and Named Faculty Appointments

Purpose of Endowed/Named Faculty Appointments

Thomas Hollis introduced university chairs to the United States more than 200 years ago. Hollis was a London merchant who endowed the distinctive Hollis Professorships in Divinity and in Mathematics and Philosophy at Harvard University. His gifts continued a longstanding European tradition of establishing chairs to recognize individual faculty who have demonstrated sustained excellence in teaching, research or creative activity in their respective disciplines or who have provided exemplary service to the university, their profession or to the public through professional activity.


The following are the categories of positions which can be named in response to a donor's wishes:

Endowed Chair

A named chair identifies the highest, continuing honor Fort Hays State University (FHSU) can bestow upon a faculty member. It is to be used to attract, retain or reward individuals who are recognized nationally or internationally as intellectual leaders in their academic disciplines for extraordinary accomplishments in teaching, scholarly publication, research, creative endeavors in the performing arts or in similar activities, and who have acquired distinction at FHSU or another university prior to appointment.

Distinguished Professorship

A named distinguished professorship is a distinction bestowed upon active faculty, either from FHSU or another university, who have consistently demonstrated outstanding performance in one of the three areas of teaching, research or professional service. Examples of exemplary performance might include a role in curricular change or new programming, innovation in instructional technology, academic leadership or special scholarly activity. Appointment to a distinguished professorship signifies a special honor conferred only upon faculty of unusual merit.


A named artist/executive-in-residence designation is appended to a regular faculty line within FHSU. The purpose of the endowed position is to help students benefit from increased contact with external experts in business and the performing and visual arts. Normally, an artist-or executive-in-residence will receive a visiting appointment for a delimited period of time. Most will be working professionals with a desire to share their special skills, expertise and experiences with faculty and students who desire knowledge of how their disciplines are practiced in the outside world.

Graduate Assistantships/Fellowships

Named graduate assistantships and fellowships provide post-baccalaureate learning experiences and the opportunity to work with faculty in a disciplinary or laboratory setting. Students nominated for a named assistantship or fellowship (as defined by specific departments) will have an outstanding record as an undergraduate and demonstrate unusual potential to succeed in the educational opportunity provided.

Period/Status of Appointment

The filling and rotation of these positions is the sole prerogative of FHSU. No endowed gift may pose restrictions that infringe on academic freedom, expose the university to adverse publicity, involve discriminatory practices or obligate FHSU to unexpected responsibilities or costs. Normally, endowed chairs are not rotated except in special circumstances. Distinguished professorships are three-year appointments with an expectation for renewal. Professorships may be reassigned within a department, college or FHSU. A donor may designate a position for a particular department or field of study consistent with the FHSU mission, needs and interests. Artists and executives-in-residence are one-year appointments with the opportunity for continuation on an annual basis.


It is the policy of the university to establish all gift agreements in cooperation with the FHSU Endowment Association. Because campus needs change over time, gift agreements are stated in flexible language that includes regular reporting and well-managed investment portfolios for each donor. Income from the endowment or gift will be used in combination with other funds to partially support the teaching and research activities of the incumbent. Up to 75 percent of the investment income may be utilized as an increment to state salary monies. The remaining percentage of the investment income is reserved for the recipient's discretion to be used for travel, equipment, honorariums for guest speakers, conference fees, laboratory supplies and so on. Graduate assistants or fellows will receive a $2,500 stipend to support research and related academic activities.

Standard gift requirements have been established at the following levels: endowed chair = $1,000,000; distinguished professorship = $500,000; artist/executive-in-residence = $200,000; and graduate assistantship/fellowships = $100,000.

The Kansas Partnership for Faculty of Distinction Program has been established to encourage gifts by private donors to help recruit and retain outstanding faculty. The state of Kansas will make income-equivalent (or matching) grants to FHSU. Qualifying gifts must be at least $200,000 before the state will provide income equivalent to the gift's investment earnings. More information about the Faculty of Distinction Program is available from the Office of the President or the FHSU Endowment Association.

Selection Procedure

1. Nominations to named positions will be initiated at the department/program level by an individual or group in the appropriate discipline or scholarly area. The nomination and supporting materials will be forwarded through the department chair and/or dean for comments and recommendations by each party. Each department or college may, at its option, use an advisory committee. Self-nominations may be submitted through a department/college or directly to the Office of the Provost. Such nominations will be sent to the appropriate department/program and dean for review. Chairs and faculty may be requested to meet with the University Committee.

The individual or group preparing the nomination is responsible for providing complete information and supporting materials, which should include the names of references from outside FHSU who have been asked to provide a statement of support. Departments will establish appropriate substantive criteria in accord with university guidelines.

2. Appointments to named positions are made by the president upon the recommendation of the chief academic officer, the dean and an advisory committee. The committee shall consist of the provost, who shall also be chair of the committee, and who votes only in case of a tie; the assistant provost for quality management; the four academic college deans; three faculty members selected from nominations made by the Faculty Senate; one department chair; and one named professor (as available). Two of the three faculty and the department chair will be rotated every three years. Representation from women and minorities will receive special consideration.

The primary duties of the committee will be to solicit nominations and make recommendations to the provost where there is competition for a specific named chair, professorship or artist/executive-in-residence.

Responsibilities of Named Faculty

Beyond the expectation that a faculty member selected for a named position will continue to demonstrate excellence in teaching, research and service, it is the specific responsibility of the individual to carry out the following duties:

1. conduct annually a faculty seminar or special presentation on a topic selected by the incumbent;

2. provide an annual report on professional activities, innovative projects and academic leadership to the donor(s); and

3. serve on the Council for Institutional Effectiveness

Initiation of Program

Gift agreements established in conjunction with the Kansas Faculty of Distinction Program will begin in FY2003. Naming of a position and designation of an appointee will not be initiated until at least partial payment (50%) is completed.

Approved by Faculty Senate (10-09-00).

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