Distinguished Career Professorship Program 

The Distinguished Career Professorship Program was established by the Office of the Provost to honor selected senior VCU faculty members who meet certain eligibility criteria by awarding them an honorary designation of Distinguished Career Professor in exchange for their agreement to retire or separate from their tenured faculty position within 12 months from the date of the approval of a Distinguished Career Professorship. This honorary designation also allows these selected faculty to retain this title post retirement, should they be eligible for re-employment as noted below.

The deadline for faculty to apply to their respective department chair is April 1, 2022. 

Eligibility criteria: 

To be eligible for a Distinguished Career Professorship, a faculty member must be actively employed in a tenured faculty position and meet the following criteria as of December 31 of the year prior to application: 

  1. Have held the rank of full or associate professor at VCU for a minimum of ten (10) years;
  2. Have a sustained record of excellence in teaching, research, and/or service; and,
  3. Have a sustained record of outstanding contributions to VCU and their department/school/college, as recognized by their departmental faculty committee.

How to apply

  1. A faculty member seeking to be considered for a Distinguished Career Professorship must submit a memo to their department chair/unit head indicating a desire to be considered for this honorary title by the established deadline.  The memo should include a detailed description of the faculty member’s accomplishments and contributions to VCU.  The faculty member should attach a CV and any other supporting documentation to the application.
  2. The department chair/unit head, in consultation with the dean, will forward the faculty member’s request and CV to a department/school/college faculty committee for consideration.
  3. The faculty committee (which can be formed by the dean if no committee exists) will review the request and any supporting documentation, vote on the matter, and return a packet to the department chair/unit head with a cover letter indicating support (or not) for a Distinguished Career Professorship with a brief justification.
  4. If the faculty committee recommends the Distinguished Career Professorship designation, the department chair/unit head will submit a memo to the dean providing a detailed letter of support.
  5. The dean will review the recommendation and, if approved, will submit a memo of support to the Provost or Vice President for Health Sciences, as applicable.
  6. The Provost or Vice President for Health Sciences will review the recommendation and approve or deny the request.  If approved, the Provost or Vice President for Health Sciences will provide a letter to the faculty member appointing him or her to a Distinguished Career Professorship with copies to the dean and department chair/unit head.  If the Provost or Vice President for Health Sciences does not approve the request, the dean is asked to notify the faculty member accordingly.
  7. Faculty selected for a Distinguished Career Professorship, will have thirty (30) days to accept the nomination by submitting a letter of resignation/retirement from employment and by signing a Distinguished Career Professorship agreement. Separation from the tenured faculty position must be within 12 months from the date of the approval of a Distinguished Career Professorship and a date as agreed upon by the dean.

The deadline for faculty to apply to their respective department chair is April 1, 2022. 

If a faculty member who has been awarded a Distinguished Career Professorship retires from VCU and has an opportunity to be re-employed, below are the conditions of re-employment (for complete list see VCU’s Procedures for the Part Time Employment of Retirees):

  • Retirees must be terminated from employment for at least twenty-six (26) weeks prior to being rehired (e.g., if separation is end of June, would not be eligible for re-hire until following January 1st);
  • No employment agreements can be arranged prior to retirement; and,
  • The duties of the position upon re-employment cannot be identical to those performed prior to retirement.

If an opportunity for re-employment in a part-time instructional faculty position (e.g., adjunct) becomes available, a Distinguished Career Professor can be re-employed on a year-to-year basis provided VCU’s re-employment restrictions are met. Clinical and research part-time faculty assignments may be allowable, but only as agreed upon by the chair/unit head and Dean. If selected for re-employment, a Distinguished Career Professor would be eligible for the following terms of appointment:

  • Eligibility to receive up to 25% of their final pre-retirement academic year, base salary (excluding any salary/administrative supplements or salary related to honorary titles) for up to a maximum of three (3) academic years. This compensation is in addition to any retirement benefits the faculty member may be eligible to receive. The salary for the adjunct position should be commensurate with the responsibilities and required effort of the adjunct position and will be determined by the hiring department.
    • The Professorship title may be used for adjunct appointments beyond three academic years of employment (subject to continued compliance with the tenants of VCU’s policies/procedures and standards of conduct); however, any compensation at the end of the three years will be paid at the standard adjunct rate for the discipline/school.
    • Renewal of an adjunct appointment is dependent upon satisfactory annual performance evaluations, funding availability, and the needs of the department, school, or college. 
  • They will continue to be considered members of the faculty and their names shall appear as members of the faculty in school/departmental listings. 
  • E-mail, phone, and computer support.
  • Free parking as long as the faculty member has been a parking subscriber for their last 5 years at VCU.
  • Access to the library and athletics commensurate with regular faculty.
  • Eligibility for travel funds at the discretion of the applicable chair or unit head/dean.
  • Office space as appropriate to their assignment, as available.

For any re-employment, the hiring school/college/department is required to follow VCU’s prescribed process for the hiring of adjunct faculty; however, a search will not be required, as the adjunct position is considered an honorary appointment through this program. Faculty Affairs is a resource for questions regarding this process including contract development and personnel action processing. 

Upon re-employment, the retiree is limited to working no more than twenty-nine (29) hours, on average per week, during the course of a 12-month period (from May 1 through April 30 of the following year) in order to comply with the provisions of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Manpower Control Program.  This is generally no more than 1480 hours per year (70.63% FTE).  For additional information regarding work hour restrictions, see VCU’s Adjunct Faculty Appointments - Compliance with ACA, MCP, and FLSA.

It is expected this program will be implemented on an annual basis in accordance with the university’s needs and the availability of funding. The honorary Professorship title and any associated benefits may be revoked at any time should the university determine it is in its best interest.   

Faculty selected for a Distinguished Career Professorship are also eligible to be considered for an Emeriti appointment. In addition, faculty who may be separating/retiring under the University’s Faculty Early Retirement Incentive Program, the Faculty Transition Incentive Program, or the Faculty Alternative Severance Option, are still eligible for a Distinguished Career Professorship.


Download the full description of the Distinguished Career Professorship Program [DOCX]
Download a sample Distinguished Career Professorship Program Agreement [DOCX]

2022 Distinguished Career Professors

  • Terry L. Austin, Ph.D., School of the Arts
  • Kia J. Bentley, Ph.D., School of Social Work
  • Robert J. DeLorenzo, M.D., School of Medicine
  • Gregorio Gil, Ph.D., School of Medicine
  • Edward L. Millner, Ph.D., School of Business
  • Kathryn A. Murphy-Judy, Ph.D., College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Kweku-Muata Osei-Bryson, Ph.D., School of Business
  • John T. Patykula, M.Mus., School of the Arts
  • Curtis Sessler, M.D., School of Medicine

2021 Distinguished Career Professors

  • Clive M. Baumgarten, Ph.D., School of Medicine
  • Patrick M. Beardsley, Ph.D., School of Medicine
  • David R. Burns, D.M.D., School of Dentistry
  • Norman V. Carroll, Ph.D., School of Pharmacy
  • Brian T. McMahon, Ph.D., College of Health Professions
  • William R. Muth, Ph.D., School of Education
  • John E. Nestler, M.D., School of Medicine
  • Joseph H. Porter, Ph.D., College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Carolyn (Cindy) A. Watts, Ph.D., College of Health Professions

2020 Distinguished Career Professors

  • Gloria J. Bazzoli, Ph.D., College of Health Professions
  • Elizabeth Waterhouse, M.D., School of Medicine
  • R. Todd Stravitz, M.D., School of Medicine
  • Jeffrey Kreutzer, Ph.D., School of Medicine
  • Dolores Clement, Dr.P.H., College of Health Professions
  • Robert Diegelmann, M.D., School of Medicine
  • Michael J. McCue, D.B.A., College of Health Professions
  • James H. McMillan, Ph.D., School of Education

2019 Distinguished Career Professors

  • Blue Wooldridge, D.P.A., L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
  • Avrum Shriar, Ph.D., L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
  • John Svirsky, D.D.S., School of Dentistry
  • Alphonse Sirica, Ph.D., School of Medicine
  • Ananda Pandurangi, M.D., School of Medicine
  • George Moxley, M.D., School of Medicine
  • Jeanne Salyer, Ph.D., School of Nursing
  • Kenneth Wynne, Ph.D., College of Engineering