Award of the University of South Australia Distinguished Professor Title


DATE OF APPROVAL: 18 August 2016 Council Resolution 2016/5/8



To recognise outstanding achievement amongst the University of South Australia's Professoriate

This policy governs the procedures for granting of the award of the title of University of South Australia
Distinguished Professor.


The award of the title of University of South Australia Distinguished Professor provides the opportunity to publicly recognise the exceptional contribution of an academic staff member to the University. This prestigious award will be conferred upon world-class individuals with stellar records of academic achievement in their discipline. The recipients would have an international reputation for exceptional research and scholarship and enjoy professional peer recognition for their significant achievements at national and international level.


The formal title will be "University of South Australia (UniSA) Distinguished Professor". This is a title of extraordinary honour and not routinely or necessarily regularly awarded.

There is no limit to the number of awards, however it is expected that only a very small number of highly exceptional Professors will be awarded the title in any given period.

The award of the title UniSA Distinguished Professor will be on the basis of merit, as assessed against the selection criteria (see Procedure).

To be eligible for consideration as a UniSA Distinguished Professor, the person must hold an academic Level E position of 'Professor' at the University of South Australia. In exceptional circumstances, the title may be awarded as part of the recruitment process to appropriately qualified high performing new Professorial appointees to the University.

The title of UniSA Distinguished Professor will be awarded for a five (5) year term, ceasing immediately on retirement or resignation. However, the Distinguished Professor title will be retained if the staff member is eligible for Emeritus Professor status after retirement.

This award is distinct from and not subject to other honorary academic awards or titles.



A nomination for the award of UniSA Distinguished Professor may be made at any time. Nominations must be made in strictest confidence.

Nominations can be made only by members of the Senior Management Group and may be made at any time during the course of a calendar year.

Nominations should include:

  • a summary of the case for the award;
  • a statement addressing the selection criteria;
  • a copy of the proposed appointee�s full curriculum vitae;
  • the names and contact details of a minimum of three disciplinary experts, all of which must be external to UniSA, and at least two of whom must be from outside Australia, who can attest to the proposed appointee�s international reputation and contributions to their field;
  • additionally, the University may seek additional information on the candidate from experts in the relevant field of scholarship.


To qualify for consideration for conferral of the title UniSA Distinguished Professor, an individual must have made exceptional and sustained contributions, well beyond those normally expected as a Professor. These contributions will be demonstrated by a combination of the following:

  • An international reputation for outstanding research and scholarship as exemplified by sustained high level achievement in scholarly publications, performances, creative works, citations (expected to be in top 1% of field for citations), invitations to give keynote addresses, success in obtaining significant research grants, election to learned academies, honorary degrees, national or international awards and/or prizes. Evidence that may be presented to support this would include:

          o being a recipient of

  • award of the grade of Fellow from one of the Australian Learned academies (such as the Academy of Science);
  • an ARC Laureate Fellowship or equivalent NHMRC Fellowship

          o being a winner of a prestigious national or international award (e.g. Nobel Prize, Prime Minister's Prize, Fields Medal, Abel Prize, Archibald Prize); and/or

           o identification as a high citation researcher (e.g. through the Thomson Citation Index).

  • Demonstrated evidence of successfully guiding the development of colleagues and postgraduate students through supervision, mentoring and   collaboration and a sustained track record of research degree completions.
  • Demonstrated research team leadership and research capacity building.
  • Professional peer recognition of significant achievements at a state, national and international level exemplified by leadership of learned societies and outstanding contributions to continuing education and peer review.
  • Outstanding learning and teaching achievements, including program and curriculum development, and teaching performance. Evidence that may be presented to support this would include:

          o being a winner of a prestigious national or international award recognising learning and teaching excellence; and/or

          o demonstration of innovation in the scholarship of teaching and teaching delivery, student assessment and student learning outcomes.

  • Outstanding performance in translating research outcomes for Australian or global benefit, including commercialisation of Intellectual Property, improvements to public policy, health and well-being, the environment, culture or other public good, resulting in direct and indirect economic and/or reputational benefit to the University.
  • Outstanding community engagement as evidenced by:

o involvement in, and contribution to, the profession, discipline and professional societies extending beyond the University, which reflect  favourably on the University and/or

o service to the University as exemplified by active participation in major University or Divisional committees, including the holding of offices of responsibility, and/or by having demonstrated high achievement in senior administrative and management roles.

UniSA Core Staff Attributes

In addition to the above, in order to contribute to a successful and enterprising culture at UniSA, the nominee is expected to demonstrate the following key behavioural attributes:

  • Provides solutions - Staff are expected to be creative, analytical, strategic and innovative thinkers
  • Takes the initiative and delivers results - Staff are expected to be decisive, persistent, service focused with an enterprise orientation
  • Is trusted, authentic and self aware - Staff are expected to be accountable, creditable, adaptable and resilient
  • Communicates with impact - Staff are expected to have persuasive, influential and effective oral and communication skills
  • Leads and works well with others - Staff must have the ability to engage with diverse teams, empower others, provide motivation and support and foster strong teamwork

Approval process

While applications will be accepted at any time, the presiding members of the Senior Academic Promotion Committee will ordinarily consider nominations against the selection criteria during the course of the annual academic promotion round. The Committee will submit their recommendations to the Vice Chancellor (Chair) who, on accepting a positive recommendation, will seek formal approval from Academic Board as a principle committee of Council. The outcome of Academic Board consideration of the case will be presented to Council for noting.


The level of remuneration will be in accordance with the academic staff salary scales at Academic Level E with any supplementary remuneration determined by the Vice Chancellor in accordance with the Market Allowance Guidelines.


If Council resolves to approve a UniSA Distinguished Professorship, a formal letter of notification will be provided to the candidate as soon as possible following the Council meeting. This notification will be made by the Vice Chancellor on behalf of Council.