Topics Map > Faculty and Staff Policies and Procedures

CALS DDO - Faculty/Staff Policies and Procedures - CALS Professorship Guidelines

This document provides guidelines for College of Agricultural and Life Sciences professorships.

Presented to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Academic Planning Council: November 17, 2020
Original Date: October 19, 2020; Revision date: April 24, 2023


Professorships and chairs (hereafter referred to as “professorships”) are awarded to faculty who excel in scholarly activity demonstrated by a record of outstanding research, instruction, and/or outreach, with the promise of continuing productivity and excellent campus citizenship. These awards, with accompanying funding, are a way to acknowledge and reward faculty members for their outstanding work and integrity, while encouraging and inspiring excellence across the college.

The following guidelines apply to professorships within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), at the department or college levels.

Memorandum of Agreement

For endowed professorships1, a memorandum of agreement (MOA) shall be established between the donor and the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA) with acknowledgment by the college. For department-level professorships, the department  and college will acknowledge the agreement. The MOA establishes the name of the professorship and the guidelines that describe the nature of the professorship, including any details on the use of funds or qualifications of future appointees. The MOA may also include items such as length of term, terms of renewal, and guidelines on reinvestment of income. Signed MOAs are provided to the donor and kept on file with the WFAA and the CALS Dean's Office. The MOA will be consulted prior to each new professorship appointment to assure that the honor is being awarded in a manner consistent with the fund's established purpose. 
For trust-funded professorships, any written agreements made on funding or qualifications shall be followed. 

1Note that non-endowed gifts are normally provided as faculty fellow awards. 

Appointment Process

First-time awards: When a professorship is established, the department or college, as appropriate, shall generate an appointment process consistent with the MOA, including, but not limited to, eligibility of candidates, selection criteria, and selection processes. The first professorship appointment can be awarded when 100% of the fund commitment has been received and one year of annual income is available. While the appointment and funding will not be effective until the first date of the fiscal year in which the funding requirements are met, first-time recipients can be selected prior to this date if desired.

Department-level professorships: Prior to March, the Dean's Office shall notify department chairs and administrators of professorship appointments expiring on June 30 of that year (or other upcoming dates if on a non-standard cycle). This notification shall include information needed for a nomination and a due date for the nomination, if necessary.

College-level professorships: Each spring, the Dean's Office shall send out calls for nominations for awards, which shall include information on eligibility and selection criteria. Nominations will be sent to the Dean's Leadership team for review and the dean will make appointments. 

All professorships: Professorships shall generally be granted for a five-year period with a July 1 first start date.  Professorship appointments cannot be announced and professorship titles cannot be used by the appointee until the start date. In the case of Bascom professorships, provost approval must also occur. 


Compensation support

Any endowed professorships established after October 31, 2012 shall follow the campus chairs and professorship funding guidelines. This includes the college expectation that a minimum of 50% of the expected annual income generated by the professorship fund will provide compensation support, and 50-66.7% may be considered within the normal expected range for compensation support. Gift funding for faculty salaries allows the college to support faculty positions in times when state-support is reduced and is a reason many donors choose to create named professorships and chairs. Any requests by the donors for a different agreement on compensation support must be approved by the Provost's Office before a draft MOA is circulated; approval from the provost is sought by the dean. Only UW-Madison funded faculty are eligible to receive these awards. 

For department-level professorships, the salary savings (minus fringe costs) will be returned to the department and the department shall determine the use of the funds. For college-level professorships, the salary savings (minus fringe costs) will be returned to the college and the college shall determine the use of the funds. 

Summer salary for the professorship holder is an allowable expense for the discretionary portion of the professorship funds unless otherwise indicated in the MOA and the appointment letter from the Dean’s Office.

Annual allocation

The annual allocation of flexible funds for the professorship is generally equivalent to the estimated annual income of the account, minus the amount used for compensation support. The annual allocation may be increased to spend down sizable balances of spendable endowment income. The use of the funds shall be guided by the MOA. Award letters will inform holders of their annual allocation at the time of their selection.

Temporary base adjustments

Temporary base adjustments (TBAs) are only allowed if the award adds significant, additional responsibilities to the appointee. Because of this, TBAs are not generally granted with professorships and are discouraged, as the recipient benefits from flexible funds provided through the annual allocation process. 


Donors shall be notified of all professorship appointments. For department-level professorships, this is the responsibility of the department chair (or designee) and for college-level professorships, this is the responsibility of the dean (or designee). The WFAA shall facilitate this and provide the necessary resources and information. 

Professorship holders will be expected to provide stewardship for the donors including, but not limited to, communicating with the donors about significant accomplishments and/or current activities, meeting with donors as needed, or providing a brief written summary to serve as an annual report. The WFAA shall help to facilitate this process through the department chair or Dean's Office to the faculty member. 


Department and college professorship appointments will be recognized at an annual CALS investiture ceremony and in eCALS. 

End of appointment

Professorship holders shall be notified by the department (for department-level professorships) or the college (for college-level professorships) of the end of their professorship term. At the end of the professorship term, the professorship holder shall discontinue use of the professorship title and will generally have one year to expend any remaining funds. 

Keywordscollege of agricultural and life sciences, deans office, deans, admin, agriculture, faculty, policies, policy, procedures, guidelines, professorship, professorships   Doc ID107844
OwnerAlly M.GroupCALS Dean's Office
Created2020-12-15 10:50:17Updated2023-04-24 16:06:40
SitesCALS Dean's Office
Feedback  0   0