Application Instructions for 2014-2015 Named Professorships

Mueller Tower

Full dossiers should be submitted electronically to and include:

  • Nomination form: Please indicate the professorship for which you are nominating the individual, and provide basic information about the individual, and contact information for the nominator and seconder (a seconder is not required). In instances where nominators are not chairs or deans, nomination letters are welcome, but not required (maximum 3 pages).
  • Abbreviated curriculum vitae (maximum 5 pages)
  • Nomination letter from the nominee's chair, outlining why the individual should be awarded the named professorship (maximum 3 pages)
  • Nomination letter from the nominee's college dean, in support of the individual's nomination (maximum 3 pages)
  • External Reference form: Please provide contact information for two external references and sign the waiver for confidentiality of external review responses. In the selection of outside reviewers, nominees are asked to read the guidelines provided in section VI.D.5 of the Guidelines for the Evaluation of Faculty: Annual Evaluations, Promotion, and Tenure. In particular, nominees should choose referees that represent an appropriate set of peers with whom they do not have a conflict of interest such as on going professional collaboration or an advisor or advisee relationship.

Complete applications are due Monday, November 4, 2013. The Committee for University Professorships will review the applications by December and notify deans of the list of finalists for whom outside references will be contacted to complete a review of the full dossier. Nominees should ensure the willingness of external references to review files prior to submission of the professorship application. Recipients will be recognized at Honors Convocation in April.

Individuals may hold only one named professorship or chair with an associated stipend and may need to relinquish a professorship designation to accept another professorship. Terms begin in August 2014.

Call for Nominations for 2014-2015 Professorships

Professorships recognize superior achievement, and therefore, a limited number of professorships are awarded. Professorships become open only upon the retirement, resignation or death of a faculty member, or revocation of the professorship for cause.

The following named professorships are available for new appointment.

Professorship NameStipendDisciplinePositionSummary
Willa Cather / Charles Bessey $5,000 Open Full Professor In recognition of distinguished scholarship or creative activity.
Aaron Douglas/ John E. Weaver $5,000 Open Full professor In recognition of a sustained record of teaching excellence and national visibility for instructional activities/practice.
Susan J. Rosowski $3,000 Open Associate Professor In recognition of distinguished scholarship or creative activity and who show exceptional promise for future excellence.

Cather/Bessey, Douglas/Weaver, Rosowski Professorships

The Committee on Named Professorships, appointed by the Chancellor, annually reviews nominees and recommends deserving candidates to the Chancellor for his/her consideration. Academic Affairs-sponsored Professorships are awarded by the University based on criteria established by each professorship. These professorships recognize faculty members' outstanding achievement and performance as compared to others in their disciplines. These professorships, which carry a stipend, are supported by the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Anyone not currently holding a Named Professorship is eligible for nomination. Please note, individuals may hold only one named professorship or chair with an associated stipend and may need to relinquish a professorship designation (e.g. college professorship) to accept another professorship. Terms begin in August.


Willa Cather and Charles Bessey professorships were established in 2001 by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to recognize faculty members with the rank of full professor who have established exceptional records of distinguished scholarship or creative activity. Individuals awarded the professorship may elect either the Cather or Bessey designation. They are known as Cather or Bessey professors and professor of (field). The professorships, which carry a $5,000 stipend, are awarded for five-year terms and appointments may be renewed following review in the fifth year.

The professorships recognize two individuals associated with the early University of Nebraska. Willa Cather, a University of Nebraska alumna and winner of the 1922 Pulitzer Prize for her novel "One of Ours," is widely recognized as one of America's premiere authors. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln holds a large scholarly archive of Cather's writings, letters and other items; is home to the digital Willa Cather Archive; and numerous UNL scholars are engaged in ongoing scholarship concerning Cather and her works.

Charles Bessey, an NU professor at the turn of the 20th century, was a botanist and educator. Bessey joined the faculty in 1884 and served as Chancellor from 1888 to 1891 and again from 1899 to 1900. Recognized for his pioneering science, including among other interests the ecology of the prairie, Bessey served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and editor of Science magazine.


The Aaron Douglas or John E. Weaver Professorship for Teaching Excellence was established in 2008. The professorships are awarded to faculty holding the full professor rank, who demonstrate sustained and extraordinary levels of teaching excellence and national visibility for instructional activities and/or practice. The Weaver and Douglas Professorships are five-year renewable appointments and carry a $5,000 annual stipend. Faculty selected for these professorships will choose either the Weaver or Douglas title. Only the name is different as the professorships have identical selection criteria.

Aaron Douglas

Aaron Douglas

The Aaron Douglas Professorship honors NU alumnus Douglas (1899-1979), who was the first African American to earn a degree in art from NU and is considered a pre-eminent artist of the Harlem Renaissance movement. A native of Topeka, Kan., Douglas earned a B.F.A. from the university in 1922. He founded the Department of Art at Fisk University, where he taught from 1937-1966. Douglas's art captured the zeitgeist of his era, helping to establish a new black aesthetic. He combined traditional African and African American images with the prevailing Cubist and Art Deco stylings, creating a distinctive and imaginative visual form. His work is considered seminal to the Harlem Renaissance and remains enduring and important. Douglas also earned a master's degree (1944) from Teachers College at Columbia College in New York. He received an honorary doctoral degree from Fisk. The Sheldon Museum of Art acquired four Douglas works, a set of woodcuts on paper titled Emperor Jones. Created in 1926, they are early examples of Douglas's oeuvre. The Sheldon also owns Window Cleaning, a 1935 oil painting of an African American man.

John E. Weaver

John E. Weaver

The Weaver Professorship honors John E. Weaver (1884-1956). Weaver was a leading expert on grasses, both as natural populations and as crops. During his career as a faculty member at NU, Weaver published many works regarding vegetation and ecology of prairies and published the first American ecology textbook. His reputation as a world-renowned plant ecologist attracted students from Nebraska and beyond to study range management in agronomy. An Iowa native, Weaver earned his B.S. and master's degrees from the University of Nebraska, and his doctorate from the University of Minnesota. He joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1915 and, became a full professor in 1917; he retired in 1952.

Susan Rosowski

Dr. Susan Rosowski

The Susan J. Rosowski Professorship recognizes faculty at the associate professor level who have achieved distinguished records of scholarship or creative activity and who show exceptional promise for future excellence. The five-year, one-time appointment professorship carries a $3,000 annual stipend.

The Rosowski Professorship is named in honor of the late Susan J. Rosowski (1942-2004), who at the time of her death was the Adele Hall Distinguished Professor of English at UNL. She established the (Willa) Cather Project, and was general editor for the scholarly edition of Cather's works published by the University of Nebraska Press, a multi-volume project. Rosowski is credited with igniting renewed regional, national and international interest in Willa Cather's works. Rosowski was an award-winning author and well-respected teacher and scholar. A Kansas native, Rosowski received her B.A. from Whittier College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. In 2004, she received the University of Nebraska's Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award.

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