University Distinguished Professors

Becoming a University Distinguished Professor (UDP) is the highest honor that can be awarded to a faculty member at North Dakota State University. A University Distinguished Professor is expected to have demonstrated, and is expected to continue to model, the high ideals of a student-focused, land-grant, research university.

An outstanding academic record comprising sustained, high-quality and appropriately balanced contributions to all three areas of research/creative activity, instruction and service is the essential criteria for being selected as a University Distinguished Professor. In addition, a University Distinguished Professor is expected to demonstrate the highest standards of good character, academic integrity and university leadership, and to demonstrate a significant impact beyond their own individual program.

Stipulations and process:
  1. Nominees must be faculty holding the rank of full professor with tenure and have at least 10 years of service at NDSU.
  2. “University Distinguished Professor” is a permanent title with loss only by cause. Upon retirement, the title will become University Distinguished Professor Emerita/Emeritus.
  3. A salary supplement of $20,000 will be provided annually for as long as the University Distinguished Professor remains a benefited tenured faculty member. In addition, each UDP will receive an annual operating budget of $5,000 to be used according to the established guidelines and policies of the university for operating budgets and with no carryover to another year. The UDP salary supplement and operating budget will begin at the start of the fiscal year.
  4. Candidates must be nominated by their academic dean, who will forward the nomination to the provost no later than January 15 of any given year. Nomination materials submitted to the provost must include a letter of nomination by the dean (maximum of two pages) which summarizes and addresses the candidate’s qualifications in meeting the criteria for a UDP, and a copy of the candidate’s current curriculum vitae. Each dean may nominate up to two (2) candidates per year; nominations are considered active only for the year in which they are made. If not previously selected, candidates may be nominated more than once. Deans may receive input from others, but actual nominations are to remain completely confidential between the nominating dean, provost and president. Violation of that confidentiality by the nominator, including to the candidate, will nullify the nomination. The provost will review and assure that nominations meet all UDP criteria before moving them on for consideration; those not meeting all criteria will be returned to the nominating dean.
  5. Nominees are evaluated and recommended by a committee convened and chaired by the provost and consisting of University Distinguished Professors. By March 1, the provost carries the committee recommendations for the potential new UDP to the president who makes the final selection. Each year the president, in advance of candidate consideration, will inform the committee how many potential UDPs may be recommended.
  6. If a new University Distinguished Professor is selected, it will be announced at the fall State of the University address.

Academic Record: Each nomination will be evaluated on the candidate’s academic record, which must be outstanding, with a sustained record of contribution/achievement in research/creative activity, instruction and service; a record which does not demonstrate outstanding performance appropriately balanced in all three areas and a significant impact beyond their own individual program will not be eligible for further consideration.

    • Research/Creative Activity: Demonstrated national and, when applicable to their field, international impact on knowledge of discipline as demonstrated by academic record, including publications, grants, creative activities, invited lectures/performances, awards and other organized activities
    • Instruction: Demonstrated impact on undergraduate/graduate learning as demonstrated by awards, pedagogical publications or presentations and sustained efforts in teaching, advising and curriculum development
    • Service: Demonstrated impact at the department, college, university, national and, when applicable to their field, international levels, including such things as sustained mentorship, contributions to campus-wide efforts, and leadership in national and international professional organizations

Reputation: Significance of national and, when applicable to their field, international stature

Additional: Each candidate must demonstrate the highest standards of good character, academic integrity and university leadership.


2012 Recipient

Elias M. Elias
Distinguished Professor of Plant Sciences

Elias leads the NDSU durum wheat breeding and genetics program as the J.F. Carter Durum Wheat Breeding/Genetics Endowed Professor. The program develops varieties to maximize economic return for producers, while providing quality durum wheat for the pasta industry and export market. Internationally respected for his research, Elias was named 1999 Durum Man of the Year by the U.S. Durum Growers Association. He also received NDSU’s Larson/Yaggie Excellence in Research Award, Early Career in 2000 and the Waldron Award for Excellence in Research. Elias, who joined NDSU in 1990, earned his bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Aleppo University in Syria and his master’s degree in plant pathology from Montana State University. He earned his doctorate in agronomy from NDSU.

2008 Recipients

Jo Ann Miller
Professor of Music

Miller joined NDSU’s faculty in 1989 as director of choral activities. She conducts the Concert Choir and University Chorus, and teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting and literature courses. She also is the graduate coordinator for NDSU’s Master of Music and Doctor of Music Arts programs. Prior to coming to NDSU, Miller was on the music faculty at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where she founded the La Crosse Chamber Chorale. She earned her bachelor’s degree from NDSU, master’s degree from the University of North Dakota and doctorate from the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music.

Larry Reynolds
Distinguished Professor of Animal Sciences

Reynolds joined NDSU in 1985. His research has focused on improving both fertility (the ability to conceive and to maintain pregnancy) and pregnancy outcomes (i.e., birth weights and postnatal health) in livestock. He has lectured widely throughout the world, including 15 Visiting Lectureships, and taught 20 different undergraduate and graduate courses. Reynolds has received 36 federal grants, served on more than 50 federal grant review panels, and published more than 200 book chapters and journal articles, including 26 invited reviews. His professional awards include the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) Animal Physiology and Endocrinology Award, the ASAS Growth and Development Award, and the 51st NDSU Faculty Lectureship. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Arizona State University and his doctorate from Iowa State University.

2007 Recipients

Allan Ashworth
Distinguished Professor of Geosciences

Ashworth, who joined NDSU in 1972, teaches and conducts research in paleontology and stratigraphy. He has made four research trips to Antarctica, and was recently notified by the New Zealand Geographic Board that a glacier on the icy continent has been named in his honor. Ashworth chairs the U.S. National Committee for the International Union for Quaternary Research. He earned his bachelor’s degree and doctorate from the University of Birmingham, England. His many honors include being named a James A. Meier Senior Professor, Mortar Board Preferred Professor, NDSU Faculty Lectureship and Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Professor. 

Neil Gudmestad
Distinguished Professor of Plant Pathology

Gudmestad joined NDSU as a tenure-track assistant professor in 1985. He has served the pathology section of the Potato Association of America as chair, vice-chair and director. He also was on the editorial board of American Potato Journal and associate editor of Phytopathology. His many honors include the Research Scientist of the Year-Early Career from the N.D. Agricultural Experiment Station, the Red River Valley Potato Growers Association Meritorious Service Award, the National Potato Council Researcher of the Year, the Eugene R. Dahl Excellence in Research Award, and the Fred Waldron Excellence in Research Award. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Valley City State University and his master’s degree and doctorate from NDSU.

Tom Isern
Distinguished Professor of History and Religion

A specialist in the history of the Great Plains, Isern is the author or co-author of six books in the field, including “Dakota Circle: Excursions on the True Plains.” He is well known across North Dakota for his weekly feature on Prairie Public Radio, “Plains Folk,” devoted to the folklife of our region. He is the founding director of NDSU’s Center for Heritage Renewal. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Bethany College and his master’s degree and doctorate from Oklahoma State University. Isern joined NDSU in 1992, and his previous honors include the Outstanding Educator Award of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; the Peltier Award for Innovative Teaching; and the Fargo Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Professorship.

Kalpana Katti
Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering

Katti, who joined NDSU in 1997, has developed state-of-the-art advanced materials and tissue engineering laboratories to support research in nanotechnology and tissue engineering at NDSU. She also has spearheaded the effort to develop an interdisciplinary materials and nanotechnology doctoral program at NDSU. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of New Delhi, India, her master’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, and her doctorate from the University of Washington, Seattle. Her other honors include the Peltier Award for Innovations in Teaching, College of Engineering Researcher of the Year, National Science Foundation CAREER Award and Federation of Societies of Coatings Technology Roon Award.

William Perrizo
Distinguished Professor of Computer Science

Perrizo joined NDSU in 1973. His vita lists 45 journal papers, 146 refereed conference and symposium proceedings papers and four books and book chapters. He holds two patents. Perizzo was the team leader of the 2002 Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Knowledge Discovery and Data (KDD) Mining Cup winning team for task two and the team leader of the 2006 ACM KDD Cup winning team for task three. He also received the 2007 Best Paper Award at the International Society of Computers and Their Applications Conference on Computers and Their Applications. Perrizo earned his bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University, Minn., his master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and his doctorate from the University of Minnesota. 

Mukund Sibi
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Sibi, a recognized leader in the area of synthetic organic chemistry, came to NDSU in 1987. Sibi's vita lists 153 publications, eight patents and four book reviews. He was the invited speaker or gave the plenary lecture at 57 special symposiums, and he has given 157 invited seminar presentations. His many honors include the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award for 2008, the James M. Meier Professorship, Dale Hogoboom Endowed Professor, Jordon A. Engberg Professorship and Waldron Award for Excellence in Research. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Bangalore University, India, and his doctorate from the City University of New York. 

William Wilson,
Distinguished Professor of Agribusiness and Applied Economics

Wilson, who was recognized as one of the top 10 agricultural economists by AgWeek, earned his bachelor’s degree from NDSU and his doctorate from the University of Manitoba. He joined NDSU in 1980, and has served as a board member for WCCO Belting, the Institute of Barley and Malt Sciences and the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. His vita lists 71 grants, 80 journal articles, one book, 13 book chapters and 198 miscellaneous publications. He has given numerous presentations, including 109 international, 82 national and 35 regional professional associations. Wilson’s other honors include the 2006 and 1998 Eugene R. Dahl Excellence in Research Award and Henry Schapper Fellowship.

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