The purpose of endowed positions (dean, chair, professorship, professor of practice, etc.) is to recruit and retain faculty with outstanding scholarly records who will provide scholarship and leadership that enriches their department, their school or college, and the university. They are distinguished faculty positions that represent accomplishment, prestige, leadership, and good citizenship on campus and in the profession.
One important purpose of such appointments is to enable the person receiving this honor to make greater contributions to their field and to the educational mission and goals of the university by virtue of having greater support and distinction. While donors cannot direct research agendas, another important purpose is to fulfill the expressed intentions of the donor who made the endowed position possible. Thus, faculty who may be selected or recruited for this honor must continue to perform as exemplary academicians, excellent colleagues, and persons in whose accomplishments the university and donor can rightfully take pride.
These guidelines may be reviewed and amended periodically as necessary to comply with university policy or to incorporate campus changes allowable under university policy.
Categories and Naming Minimums
Several infrequently utilized categories/titles are not mentioned explicitly below, including Directorship, Annual Award, Annual Fellowship, Archivist, Curatorship, Directorship, Instructorship, Lectureship, and Research Scholar. Please consult with Advancement/Stewardship to discuss each of these on a case-by-case basis.
- Deanship – $5M: An endowed deanship is the single most prestigious position in a school or college. The holder of an endowed deanship possesses the stature, experience, and vision to position their school or college within the top programs of their kind in the world.
- Presidential Chair – $5M: An endowed presidential chair represents the highest level of recognition within this category. Reflecting its uniqueness, this award level has special gift requirements, appointment protocols, and stewardship requirements. Tenure requirement: Full Professor.
- Distinguished Chair – $3M: An endowed distinguished chair is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a faculty member. The highest level of performance and national and international recognition of that performance are inherent guidelines for the appointment of a distinguished chair holder. The appointment to a distinguished endowed chair may recognize a current member of the faculty or it may be associated with recruitment of a new faculty member; but, in all appointments, excellence should be evidenced by several years of outstanding performance based on national and international standards. Tenure requirement: Full Professor.
- Chair – $2M: An endowed chair is a prominent honor bestowed on a faculty member. The highest level of performance and national and international recognition of that performance are inherent guidelines for appointment of a chair holder. The appointment to an endowed chair may recognize a current member of the faculty, or it may be associated with recruitment of a new faculty member; but, in all appointments, excellence should be evidenced by several years of outstanding performance based on national and international standards. Tenure requirement: Tenure.
- Professorship – $1M: An endowed professorship is a high honor, as well as recognition of consistently outstanding performance and ability. Endowed professors are faculty who have achieved acclaim for their accomplishments and who are highly likely to continue producing notable achievements. The appointment to an endowed professorship may recognize a current member of the faculty or it may be associated with the recruitment of a new faculty member. This designation may be awarded to classifications of faculty positions including Professor, Clinical Professor, Professor of Practice, Librarian, and Research Professor, as defined in University of Oregon Policy 580.020.0005 (3): (a), (b), (c), (f),(i). Tenure requirement: None.
- Visiting Professorship – $500K: A visiting professorship supports the most accomplished senior scholars, distinguished artists, or professionals who might be visiting the university for a specific period of time. The chief purpose of this type of endowment is to bring a continuing stream of exceptional scholars, practitioners, and artists of significant stature and accomplishment to the university to enrich our programs and our academic community. Donors may not specify the recipients of a visiting professorship as a condition of their gift. Tenure requirement: None.
- Faculty Fellowship – $250K: Endowed faculty fellowships will be used to provide temporary support for faculty development in teaching or research from faculty. They may also be used to acknowledge and support distinguished service or teaching. Awarded for a term of one or more years, not to exceed three consecutive years. Tenure requirement: None.
- Postdoctoral Scholar – $250K: An endowed postdoctoral scholar position will be used to provide temporary support for development in teaching or research. Awarded for a term of one or more years, not to exceed three consecutive years. Tenure requirement: n/a
Appointment and Renewal Protocols
- Appointment: Depending on the terms, an endowed position may be filled by appointing an outstanding member of the existing faculty or may be used to recruit an outstanding scholar or professional from outside the university. Appointment to an endowed position does not confer reduction in teaching load. Appointment and reappointment to the position as well as payout from the position are reserved for active, non-retired faculty.
- Review: In general, appointment of faculty as endowed position holders will be subject to review by an appropriate committee, which will provide input and make recommendations to the relevant Dean or Vice President, or, in some circumstances, the President (see gift agreement). New and renewed appointments must be approved and issued by the Provost following the completion of the selection process. As discussed in more detail below, schools and colleges should establish additional procedures specific to appointments within their respective disciplines, as appropriate.
- Length of Appointment: An endowed chair or professorship will be filled by one individual for an initial six-year period, unless a shorter or longer term or non-renewability is otherwise specified (for example, in the position description or the terms of the gift). Faculty may resign from their appointment at any time without prejudice or may decline to petition for renewal of that appointment at the completion of a term.
- Renewal: All endowed chairs and professorships are subject to renewal on a six-year cycle that will align with the faculty member’s post-tenure review cycle (when relevant). Prior to the end of the six-year term, the Dean or appropriate Vice President shall evaluate the faculty member’s record in accordance with college- and unit-level policies then in effect. It should not be assumed that a faculty member’s association with the endowed position will be renewed. A faculty member who has excelled in all the expectations related to the appointment (for example, those articulated in the unit’s post-tenure review process) may be reappointed to hold the position for another six-year term. If, however, the Dean or appropriate Vice President or the President decides that the faculty member has not met expectations at a sufficiently high level, or that a change in the holder of the position would be in the best interests of the university, a new appointment to the position will be made.
- Misconduct: If a faculty member is found to have committed misconduct, that faculty member may be relieved of their endowed position as a result of disciplinary action outside the regularly scheduled review process.
- Relinquishment: On relinquishment of the title, a holder would be entitled to refer to themselves by the endowed position name, appending dates of incumbency, subject to terms of any disciplinary sanction administered against the holder. Faculty who are awarded an Emerit status may not continue to use a previously held endowed title; however, we encourage the use of incumbency dates. For example, Jane Doe, Professor Emerita, Knight Chair 2010-2016.
- Funding and Payout: The school or college shall verify minimum funding and available payout prior to appointment. Appointment of a faculty member to an endowed position will not be approved until there is confirmation that the position has been formally established. New and renewed appointments must be approved by the Provost.
- Visiting Positions: An appointment to a visiting position is non-renewable.
- Fellowship and Postdoctoral Scholar Appointments: Fellowship and postdoctoral scholar appointments are normally made for a term of one or more years, not to exceed three years.
- Limitations: A faculty member may not be the recipient of more than one endowed and/or named position at the same time.
- Scholarship: The endowed position holder is expected to continue outstanding scholarly activity. Measurement is based on impact and contribution to the profession and to the holder’s department, college, or school.
- Leadership: The endowed position holder is expected to provide leadership, on an ongoing basis and in the broadest sense possible, throughout their term as an endowed position holder. Examples of this leadership include the development of multi-investigator programs and multi-disciplinary laboratories, the development of innovative education programs and curricula, the encouragement of interactions between faculty members in teaching and research, the recruiting and supervision of high-quality graduate and undergraduate students, and the recruiting and mentoring of new faculty members.
- Collaborations: Integral to the position are fostering and maintaining extra-departmental collaborations with their school or college as a whole, the university at large, and external partners. Through these tasks, the holder will build and/or enhance the reputation of the department, school or college, and the university.
- Regular Faculty Membership: The endowed position holder is expected to operate within their department(s) as a regular faculty member. This involves full interaction with other faculty members, a teaching load involving both undergraduate and graduate courses, and responsibilities for student supervision and committee assignments. The endowed position holder’s activities, teaching load, other assignments, and any modifications in compensation arrangements, will be reviewed annually with the Dean or relevant Vice President and/or relevant department chair(s), subject to departmental and university policy and existing agreements.
- Communication with Donor: Finally, the endowed position holder must engage in regular communication with and stewardship of the donor who endowed their position as outlined in the Donor Stewardship section of this document
Endowment “payout” is defined primarily as the spendable portion of the total return of the endowment investment in the general endowment pool, less applicable administrative fees.
Use of Payout – Deanships: Payout funds provide a flexible source of funds to support the school or college’s most important needs. Payout may not be used to supplement a Dean’s salary.
Use of Payout – Faculty Fellowships and Postdoctoral Scholars: There is no cap on the amount of payout that can be used for compensation for endowed faculty fellow positions or postdoctoral scholar positions.
Use of Payout – Other Endowed Faculty Positions: Faculty members will receive a standard stipend and research fund as stipulated below.
General Reminder: Payouts that exceed the standard faculty stipend, OPE, and research funds may be used by Deans for the purposes of budget relief in their school/college, assuming that nothing in the gift agreement precludes such use.
Research Funds (Annual)
Fully Endowed Faculty Position2
1 OPE based on FY24 blended OPE rates applied to stipends (32.3%) and will vary by year.
2 A fully endowed faculty position should require an endowment that is large enough to grow to cover future salary and OPE increases.
3 Distinguished Chair stipend and research fund amounts may vary, but the total will not exceed $80,000.
- General Rules:
- Research funds may be used for any standard, legitimate research need with the exception of buying out the teaching of the recipient during the academic year.
- Research funds MAY be used, entirely or in part, for summer salary for the awardee, but the award must cover the OPE for the summer salary (summer OPE is 32.3% as of FY24.
- A recipient’s accumulated research fund may not exceed four times the annual research allocation.
- Stipends and research funds are not subject to standard or merit salary increases. They are fixed.
- Uses of Research Funds: All university regulations and procedures governing personnel, purchasing, and accounting shall be observed. Allowable uses of research funds portion of the payout include but are not limited to the following:
- Summer salary supplement, including OPE
- Graduate student research assistantships
- Administrative salaries and/or expenses
- Travel expenses
- Research equipment and expense of professional materials (items purchased with endowment funds are property of the university)
- Financial aid for graduate students or visiting scholars working with the endowed faculty position holder or, with the consent of the position holder, in the area of the chair
- Expenses associated with seminars and conferences
- Salary support while on approved leave, including sabbatical supplements
- Distribution of Funds: Research funds payout from an endowed faculty position is to be made available to a faculty member appointed to the endowed faculty position for use at their discretion in consultation with the Dean and department head or appropriate Vice President from the menu of allowable uses (see #2 above). Each year the department head or Dean or appropriate Vice President will confirm the distribution of funds for the following year. The endowed faculty position holder will recommend a budget for review and approval by the department head or Dean or appropriate Vice President.
- Institutional Benefit: Endowed faculty position holders are encouraged to consider ways their expenditures of research funds for their teaching and research activities will also provide institutional benefit to their departments, such as graduate student research and support in the area of the position holder.
- Budgeted Research Funds: Research funds budgeted by an incumbent endowed faculty position holder during their appointment as position holder for projects that extend beyond their term of appointment shall be reserved for that faculty member for those projects, separate from payout allocated to a subsequent position appointee.
- Shared Payouts: Payout for endowed faculty positions shared jointly with other schools, colleges, or departments will be administered by the school, college, or department in which the endowed faculty position holder resides.
- Income Arrangements: Conditionally established endowed faculty position appointments should specify which of the following income arrangements will apply:
- No income (i.e., honorary appointment);
- Reduced income based on payout from partially funded endowment, until endowment is fully funded; or
- Full or reduced payout through supplement to available payout or provision for full or partial funding by another allowable source (e.g., dean’s discretionary funds), until endowment is fully funded.
- Expenditure of Payout: The expenditure of payout from endowed faculty position endowments for the purposes specified by the donor is required by law. More than four years of payout should not accumulate. The UO Foundation and University Advancement will annually review endowment-related current funds with excess accumulation and will notify the Office of the Provost, which will work with the unit responsible for the expenditure of the university’s fiduciary obligation to use the payouts fully in a manner consistent with the gift instrument, which may include budgetary relief if not precluded by the gift agreement.
- Vacancies: During any period in which an endowed faculty position has remained vacant for three years or in the event that the endowed faculty position’s accumulated income exceeds four years of payout, the Dean or appropriate Vice President may request to take one of the following actions, so long as it is consistent with the terms of the endowed faculty position:
- Implement, after consultation with the relevant department(s), a new expenditure plan designed to fill the endowed faculty position and/or to utilize the payout.
- Request the reinvestment of payout to principal through a proposal that outlines the reasons for the accumulation, as well as the steps that will be taken to ensure future timely expenditure; a department must make specific request to reinvest payout to principal unless the donor has provided for such reinvestment at the time the gift is made.
- Request the reallocation of the fund to provide for an alternative purpose specified in the terms of the fund (i.e. donor purpose language, term details, and named title if applicable).
- Allocation or Reinvestment: Allocation or reinvestment of payout to principal may be requested as outlined above or under other circumstances that are sufficiently compelling to warrant such a recommendation, including the failure for unforeseen reasons of the principal to meet the chair endowment minimum. In such cases the unit head must make a specific request for reallocation or to reinvest payout to principal, unless the donor has provided such reinvestment at the time the gift is made. Reinvestment of payout to principal generally should not be considered in order to increase the principal to meet the endowed faculty position endowment minimum. The request shall be made by the appropriate Dean(s)or Vice President through appropriate channels to the UO Foundation in coordination with the Office of the Vice President-University Advancement, which will assist with the approval process.
College, School, and Unit Responsibilities
- Written Procedures: Colleges, Schools, Departments, and Programs shall establish written procedures for selection and review of individuals for endowed positions subject to their review and are encouraged to consider candidates’ contribution to equity and inclusive excellence in their reviews. The procedures must include the following general criteria:
- An outstanding record of productive research, publication, creative activity, and scholarly achievement appropriate to the discipline and areas of specialization and sufficiently consistent in quantity and quality to support a reasonable expectation of continued outstanding performance and contribution;
- Evidence of a continuing record of exemplary academic and professional accomplishment;
- Evidence of achievement of a professional status at the national or international level which will enhance the prominence of the University.
- Budget and Expenditure: Units are responsible for ensuring receipt and approval of the budget and for the appropriate expenditure of funds.
- Minimum Funding Levels: Individual units may set higher minima than campus requirements for chair endowments. Units may set minimum funding levels for appointments to conditionally established chairs.
- University Policy and Guidelines: In no case may unit guidelines or procedures be deemed to void or liberalize the provisions of university policy or these guidelines.
Donor Stewardship for Endowed Position Holders
Communication with and stewardship of donors is an important responsibility of endowed faculty members. Meaningful stewardship requires a special partnership with advancement staff.
Endowed Faculty will be asked to do the following:
- Provide copies of any correspondence with donors to the appropriate advancement staff to ensure a good record of communication and to avoid duplication.
- Use endowment title consistently (in letterhead, business cards, publications and directories), including the proper endowment name with faculty title.
- Keep advancement staff posted on news and recognition (significant awards, major grants, media mentions, etc.).
- Notify advancement staff of any opportunities for major donors to visit lab, clinic or teaching facilities.
- Adhere to Office of Stewardship’s campus-wide best practice recommendations for endowed faculty, which include one to two requests for updates on your activities and accomplishments each year.