University of Memphis (14K)

2011 Faculty Handbook

Chapter 7 - Professional Development and Awards


Professional Development

Professional Development

Professional Development

Professional Development Assignments

Professional Development Assignments are awards made available through private funding sources and allow faculty members opportunities to develop proficiencies as teachers, scholars, and researchers. The period of an award may be for one semester, at full pay, or for one academic year at half pay. Faculty members who are interested in obtaining such an assignment should submit details of their plans to their dean in the fall semester of the year preceding the anticipated leave. Professional Development Assignments approved by the University may be credited toward completion of the probationary period. For more information, see

Graduate Study

Faculty members may take graduate courses and pursue graduate degrees at the University of Memphis provided (1) they have no voting status in the department in which they enroll, and (2) their enrollment does not constitute a potential conflict of interest. Applications from faculty and staff members seeking admission to graduate degree programs must be reviewed in advance by the Council for Graduate Studies of the college in which the degrees are offered. The purpose of the review is to determine if the proposed programs of study might result in conflicts of interest. Decisions relating to eligibility for graduate study made by college councils may be appealed to the University Council for Graduate Studies and Re­search. Contact the departmental coordinator of graduate studies for more information. Faculty may take graduate courses as non-degree students by completing an application form available from the Graduate School.


A limited number of Faculty Research Grants from University resources are available to faculty members interested in conducting research. Full information may be obtained from the Vice Provost for Research. Guidelines and the application form are available on-line at the Research Support Services website:

Academic Enrichment Program

In addition to the funds specifically allocated to departments, divisions, and colleges for their traditional academic programs, the University maintains a special fund to support activities recommended and designed by faculty, staff, and students as complements to usual offerings. Some are departmental in scope, some college-wide, and others involve the entire commu­nity. Artists-in-residence, distinguished lecture series, conferences, and symposia are examples of programs supported with these funds. The planning and coordination of requests for support originate with the college deans, to whom inquiries and suggestions should be directed.

Advanced Learning Center

The Advanced Learning  Center provides services to support teaching and research. Among the consultation services available to support teaching are discussion of instructional issues, observation of classroom teaching, video-taping teaching, collection of mid-semester feedback from students, conduct of classroom research, workshops on a variety of teaching issues, and development of on-line coursework and or teaching tools.


The University provides funds to help meet the expenses of travel to professional meetings that are relative to the subject area in which a faculty member is teaching. Travel decisions are made within each department. To obtain financial support, a faculty member must submit a request to the Accounting Office through the department chair approximately two weeks in advance of the planned travel. If funds are available, the Accounting Office will approve the request and return the authorization form to the faculty member. Until this form has been received, University-supported travel will not be authorized. An advance payment may be requested. For more information, see also Policy UM1309. To obtain a copy of the form, please access this website

International Travel

Authorization for University-supported travel to Alaska, Hawaii, and out of the country (except Canada) is subject to recommendation by the president and written, advanced approval of the Chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents. Authorizations are routed to the president by the departmental chair, dean, and provost. The Request for Overseas Travel Form is available from the Accounting Office. Requests for authorization should reach the President's Office 30 days before the date approval is needed. Travel to Canada requires the approval of the president. For more information, please see    

Faculty Awards Programs

Board of Visitors' Eminent Faculty Award

The Eminent Faculty Award is given annually to a faculty member who has made outstanding and sustained contributions to scholarly-creative activity, teaching, and service, bringing honor and recognition to the University of Memphis. To be eligible, the faculty member must be currently active and continuously employed by the University for at least five years; the award can only be made once to an individual. The award is given by the University of Memphis Board of Visitors and includes a $20,000 cash prize and a commemorative crystal. The University committee, composed of nine faculty members, screens nominees to identify three finalists from whom the Board of Visitors makes the final selection. The Eminent Faculty Award is presented at the Spring Faculty Convocation.

Distinguished Teaching Award

Each year, four members of the University faculty are presented Distinguished Teaching Awards in recognition of the high quality of their teaching. The selection procedure pre­scribes that students, faculty, and alumni be given the opportunity to nominate faculty members who meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • The faculty member must have been employed full-time at the University of Memphis for three or more years.
  • The faculty member must be teaching a minimum of nine semester hours with either (1) six undergraduate hours with a total of thirty or more students in two classes; or (2) six graduate hours with a total of fifteen or more students in two classes. (The enrollment requirements may be met by including all courses being taught by the faculty member during that term.)
  • Former award winners may not be re-nominated within seven years of the first award and may not receive the award more than twice.
  • At least two of the four awards must go to faculty members whose work is predominately undergraduate.

Nominations are screened by the Distinguished Teaching Awards Committee. The twenty faculty members receiving the largest number of nominations are notified and if they desire to participate, they are evaluated by their students and department chair. This information is compiled and reviewed by the committee, which then makes the final selections. Selected faculty receive a $2000 honorarium and a plaque at the annual Spring Faculty Convocation.

Thomas W. Briggs Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award

The Briggs award was established in 1996 to recognize teaching excellence at the under­graduate level and an overall commitment to undergraduate education. Two awards of $5000 each are presented annually at the Spring Faculty Convocation. Nomination forms are avail­able by contacting the Development Office.

Alumni Association Awards for Distinguished Research And Creative Achievement

The Alumni Association may make five awards annually for distinguished research faculty who have brought honor and recognition to the University. The categories include:

  • Distinguished Achievement in the Creative Arts
  • Distinguished Research in the Humanities
  • Distinguished Research in the Social Sciences
  • Distinguished Research Science, Engineering, and Mathematics
  • Distinguished Research in Engaged Scholarship

 Candidates may apply for the award or be nominated by any full-time faculty or staff member.

  • Candidates must have been employed full-time by The University of Memphis for five academic years prior to the semester of their application or nomination.
  • Former award winners may not be re-nominated within seven years of the first awards and may not receive the award more than twice.

Nominations are submitted to the appropriate college council for graduate studies and research (or, in the case of the School of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, the School of Law, and the School of Nursing, to the dean of the school). Those wishing to be considered must submit a resume with a complete list of publications (copies of the publica­tions are not required), a narrative summary of research aims and achievements, and at least three external letters from distinguished referees. College councils and deans will evaluate the nominations and submit recommendations to the vice provost for research, who will appoint a committee to make the final selection. Each recipient receives a $2000 honorarium and a plaque at the annual Faculty Convocation. Further information is available from the vice provost for research.

Alumni Association Awards for Distinguished Advising

Each year, the Alumni Association may award Distinguished Advising Awards to one member of the faculty and to one professional advisor.    Eligible faculty include those who are tenured with at least five yaers of service at the University of Memphis       (i.e., are at least in their sixth year at time of receiving the award).  Eligible professional advisors include those who have completed five years at the University of Memphis. (i.e., are at least in their sixth year at time of receiving the award).

An advisor may receive the award twice. For eligibility the second time, at least three complete years must have passed since the first Award was received (e.g., if the nominee first received the Award in Spring 2002, s/he would not be eligible for a second Award until Spring 2006).

Nominations will be solicited through the media (e.g., posters, The Helmsman, email, etc.). Faculty must receive nominations from faculty/administrators and students/former students/alumni/alumnae. Professional advisors must receive nominations from faculty/administrators and students/former students/alumni/alumnae

The Award is accompanied by a stipend equal to that given for the University's Distinguished Teaching Award. If sufficient funds are not available to make two awards in any given year, one award may be given annually.  In that case, the awards will alternate from year-to-year between professional and faculty advisors.

The Award(s) is given at the Spring Faculty Convocation.      


Last Updated: 9/27/12