Honorary Awards


DATE: 16 October 2008
Council Resolution 2008/6/9

December 2010 Council Resolution 2010/7/11
June 2013 Council Resolution 2013/3/14
December 2013 Council Resolution 2013/6/16
December 2014 Council Resolution 2014/7/20
December 2017 Council Resolution 2017/7/23
February 2019 Council Resolution 2019/01/04




This policy governs the procedures for the granting of the following Honorary Awards:

  1. Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University (DUniv)
  2. University Fellow (FUniSA)
  3. Emeritus Professor


Honorary Awards provide the University with the opportunity to recognise exceptional achievement and acknowledge significant and eminent contributions to scholarship, professional practice and service to the University and its community. Honorary Awards shall be recommended to Council by the Governance and Nominations Committee for approval.

The University considers Honorary Awards to be prestigious. All recipients of Honorary Awards will reflect and represent the University’s values in an exemplary manner.

Those who are conferred with Honorary Awards will continue to advance the University’s reputation and standing in the community and provide inspiration to students and graduates.

Doctor of the University (DUniv)

There shall be the honorary degree of Doctor of the University (DUniv).

The purpose of the honorary degree is to recognise an individual who has achieved eminence in an area of education or research, or is distinguished by eminent service to the community. These achievements must be well beyond the usual expectations of the nominee’s usual role and responsibility. For the purposes of this Policy eminent achievement may be evidenced by (for example):

  1. An outstanding and esteemed national or international reputation in a particular field of learning and/or research.
  2. An outstanding contribution to a broad section of society or to the advancement of human well-being.
  3. An outstanding contribution which has influenced the thinking or general well being of the wider community.
  4. Exceptional service to the professional and public life of a particular discipline.

Candidates for the award of Doctor of the University shall be nominated by a member of the University or the University Council.

No member of the University staff may be admitted to an honorary degree. Members of Council will not be eligible to be nominated for the award while in office.

University Fellow (FUniSA)

There shall be the honorary award of University Fellow (FUniSA).

The purpose of the honorary award is to recognise distinguished service and support to the University or its community. This service must be well beyond the usual expectations of the nominee’s usual role and responsibility.

For the purposes of the Policy distinguished service and support may be evidenced by (for example):

  1. support of the interests and welfare of the University of South Australia or of a particular part of the University's activities
  2. promotion of the academic purposes of the University or of facilitating those purposes in any particular activity of the University
  3. expanding educational opportunities among groups within the community that the University considers have suffered disadvantages in education
  4. fostering links between the University and other institutions within and outside Australia
  5. outstanding service to the University of South Australia and/or, in exceptional circumstances, outstanding service to a community within which the University operates.
  6. interest in and commitment to the welfare of students

Candidates for the award of the title of University Fellow shall be nominated by a member of the University or the University Council.

The award of University Fellow will take the form of a parchment and a commemorative pin and will be conferred at an appropriate occasion, usually a graduation ceremony.

Members of Council or members of the staff of the University will not be eligible to be nominated for the award while in office.

Emeritus Professor

The honorary title of Emeritus Professor may be conferred upon retired academic staff holding the title of Professor who has given distinguished service to the institution. A period of service of at least five years, or otherwise at the discretion of the Vice Chancellor, is required for a person to be eligible for consideration by the Committee.

Nomination may be informed by factors such as teaching and research leadership and performance (including end-user engagement, impact and recognition).

Nominations for the honorary title of Emeritus Professor will only be made upon the invitation of the Vice Chancellor.  The Senior Management Group will (at its meetings) discuss nominations that may become subject of an invitation by the Vice Chancellor.

Following an invitation by the Vice Chancellor a report will be presented to the Governance and Nominations Committee with the Vice Chancellor's nomination.  The report will include reference to the criteria for the award as specified by the Policy

If appropriate the Award shall be recommended to Council by the Governance and Nominations Committee for approval.

Conferral of the honorary title of Emeritus Professor will occur when the academic staff member retires or leaves the employ of the University.

The title will not normally be conferred upon an academic staff member who resigns from the University to take up a post at another University except in special circumstances such as appointment as Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellor or Pro Vice Chancellor at another University.


1. Honorary Awards

An honorary award is a means by which the University publically recognises eminence and distinction.

An honorary award is not a qualification that is recognised by the Australian Qualifications Framework and as such the title 'Doctor' should not be used by those who hold an honorary award.

All notification documentation issued to the recipient will specify that the award is honorary.

Following its deliberations the Committee will inform Council of its recommendations at the next available Council meeting. Council will discuss the recommendations of the Committee prior to making a final decision on the award. Recipients will not be contacted prior to the final decision of Council.

2. Governance and Nominations Committee

A Committee of Council will be convened by the Chancellor as required to consider recommendations for the conferral of the title of Doctor of the University (DUniv), University Fellow (FUniSA) and Emeritus Professor.

All Honorary Awards and Emeritus Professor nominations must be endorsed by the Senior Management Group prior to being referred to the Committee.

The Governance and Nominations Committee comprises the following membership:

  • The Chancellor (Chair)
  • Vice Chancellor
  • Two appointed members of Council
  • One elected staff member of Council
  • USASA President member of Council

A quorum of the Committee is constituted by four (4) members and the Chancellor and/or appointed member of Council must be present.

Membership and terms of Council member’s appointments will be as determined by Council.  

The committee shall submit its recommendations, if any, to Council for consideration in confidence.

The Committee may request any additional information that it deems appropriate to assist it with its deliberations.

The Committee may, following its deliberations, vary the award made from that recommended in the nomination.

3. Confidentiality

All nominations are strictly confidential and the full details of the nominations, including the names of those submitting them, remain confidential. The names of those candidates approved by the Governance and Nominations Committee are released only after they have accepted the Council’s offer of award.

Any person nominated for an Honorary Award shall not be consulted beforehand (not at any time prior to the Council’s decision of the proposal) and all deliberations, investigations and recommendations relating to the nomination shall be treated as strictly confidential by all persons concerned.

4. Nomination Form

The nomination shall be submitted using one of the appropriate forms:

  1. Honorary Degree Nomination Form [Docx 69kb]
  2. University Fellow Nomination Form [Docx 73kb]
  3. Emeritus Professor Nomination Form [Docx 51kb]

All nominations are to be submitted to the Council Secretary.

The Committee may request the provision of references in addition to the information provided in the required nomination forms. The Committee may also seek additional external information if deemed necessary to assist it with its decision making. This may result in applications being delayed until the Committee believes that it has the information it requires to conclude its decision.

5. Notification

If Council resolves to grant an Honorary Award, a formal letter of offer will be made to the candidate as soon as possible following the Council meeting. This letter will include advice about any entitlements arising from the Award.

The Council Secretary will also advise the University’s Graduation Officer of the names of recipients so that arrangements can be made for formal conferral of the honorary title(s) at an appropriate graduation ceremony.

6. Conferral

All Honorary Awards will be conferred at a graduation ceremony of the University. At the graduation ceremony recipients of Doctor of the University (DUniv) will normally wear the Doctorate Gown. Recipients of the titles of University Fellow (FUniSA) and Emeritus Professor will normally wear the academic dress prescribed for their highest award.