An academic staff member at the Distinguished level performs at a level of proficiency typically requiring extensive experience and advanced knowledge and skills. The expertise of an academic staff member at this level is commonly recognized by his or her peers and through a reputation which extends beyond his or her work unit. A Distinguished academic staff member is expected to develop new approaches, methods or techniques to resolve or prevent problems with little or no expert guidance and to cope independently with new, unexpected or complex situations. At this level, an academic staff member can be expected to guide or train other academic staff or to oversee their work. Currently, only Category A academic staff in the Professional title series and selected Category B academic staff in the Instructional and Research title series are eligible for the Distinguished prefix (see Unclassified Title Guideline, pages 6, 7 and 10-18, for definitions).
For purposes of Distinguished prefix, a work unit is defined as the employee’s school, college, or college-level division.
Promotion to the rank of Distinguished is reserved for a small number of academic staff (at the senior level or top level of their title series) whose superlative accomplishments are evidenced by peer recognition beyond the work unit. Attainment of the Distinguished prefix is not the end result of normal career progression, and neither seniority nor longevity is sufficient for award of this designation. Candidates for consideration for the Distinguished prefix are expected to have had at least ten years of progressively more responsible experience in their field. Candidates will be evaluated using the criteria described in Section III of this document entitled “Guidelines.” Nominations may be initiated by the candidate's director, departmental chair or unit head or by the candidate. The candidate has the right to withdraw from the process at any point during the review.
The following guidelines are intended to help develop documentation for nomination for the Distinguished prefix:
Academic staff members on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus work in the categories of teaching, research, clinical activities, outreach, administration, student services, and professional services. A candidate nominated for the Distinguished prefix is expected to demonstrate exceptional performance, be recognized beyond the work unit as outstanding, and have a reputation of excellence in the profession. Documentation of a candidate’s extensive experience and advanced knowledge and skills may include, but is not limited to:
To assist in documenting activities, the following additional examples are generally associated with the categories specified. The categories are meant to be suggestive rather than definitive, and applications should include any relevant activities regardless of where they are listed.
Examples that may be specific to teaching:
Examples that may be specific to research:
Examples that may be specific to clinical activities/outreach/professional services:
Examples that may be specific to administration/student services:
In addition to the assessment of the candidate's experience and expertise, qualities such as those listed below should be evaluated and this information incorporated into the document. These qualities are not listed in order of importance, nor will all of them necessarily apply to every candidate:
In order to facilitate the Distinguished Prefix Review Committee (DPRC) review of documentation for academic staff recommended for the Distinguished prefix, the following minimum materials are to be provided (electronically, as a PDF) as a single packet:
The packet should be submitted electronically as a PDF to the candidate’s divisional HR office and should include a Table of Contents with all pages numbered sequentially. The following order is suggested as optimum for preparation and presentation of the packet:
Section 1: Personal statement
Section 2: Cover letter from supervisor(s)
Section 3: Job description
Section 4: Résumé or curriculum vitae
Section 5: Letters of recommendation
Exemplary sample packets are available for examination in the Office of the Secretary of the Academic Staff, 270 Bascom Hall.
The chair of the DPRC shall provide an annual report to the Personnel Policies and Procedures Committee detailing the number of nominees reviewed, the Committee's recommendations and the number of Distinguished prefixes awarded.