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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

Honorary and Visiting Titles Policy

Honorary and Visiting titles are conferred upon persons of appropriate distinction in order to help ensure the delivery of the overall University Strategy.

Definitions of Honorary and Visiting Titles

(a) Honorary titles - Conferred upon persons of appropriate distinction, other than members of staff, who have an on-going association with the University in the areas of education and/or research. They may not necessarily be resident near the University

(b) Visiting titles - Conferred upon persons of appropriate distinction, other than members of staff, who are visiting the University for a finite period of time and are working in the areas of teaching and/or research.

Please note: Emeritus Titles have a separate policy.


Restriction of Titles

(a) In order to avoid the proliferation of titles, the following Honorary and Visiting titles only shall be used:

Honorary titles:

  • Honorary Professor
  • Honorary Fellow (for academic roles below rank of Professor)
  • Honorary Associate (for academic roles below lecturer)

Visiting titles:

  • Visiting Professor
  • Visiting Fellow
  • Visiting Associate

(b) The normal wording for a title is, for example, Honorary Professor in the Department/School of ------, or ------- Research Institute. Titles in specific areas of a subject are not normally conferred.

(c) Titles will normally be awarded for a defined period of time, while the individual is engaged with the University. They may be renewed.


Level of Title

Honorary /Visiting Professor

In order to safeguard Professorial status, the University takes particular care upon whom it confers the title Honorary or Visiting Professor. Honorary/Visiting Professors should be of equivalent national/international standing in their field as University Professors are in theirs. However, as they may not necessarily be academics, criteria other than research and educational publications will need to be considered.

Such individuals may not have the academic credentials (e.g. publications) normally associated with a Professorship at Durham, yet are of such standing that an honorary Professorship is an appropriate title to reflect their national and international achievements in business, society etc. Criteria other than research and educational publications will need to be considered. These could include:

  • Outstanding professional achievement
  • Recognition as a leading expert within their profession or occupation
  • Entrepreneurial activity
  • Distinction as a clinical practitioner

Conferment of Honorary or Visiting Professor titles for individuals working outside the university sector should be accompanied by two external references from national/international leaders in their professional area confirming that the individual concerned is of such intellectual and leadership calibre that they are of equivalent merit to a Durham University Professor.

Honorary/Visiting Fellow

This is the most commonly used Honorary/Visiting title, appropriate for those who have attained higher degrees in the relevant area and who are deemed to be at an equivalent level to lecturer or above in their particular academic or professional field.

Honorary/Visiting Associate

This is suitable for persons making a significant contribution to research or teaching, but who are not sufficiently qualified for Honorary/Visiting Fellow status. The expectation is that this title will be rarely used.

IAS Fellows

IAS Fellowships are typically available for 3-month periods between October and March. Fellowships are open to mid/late career scholars and non-academics who have an established international reputation, have shaped their field, and can provide evidence of research leadership and/or public impact. They are expected to have played a significant role in shaping their field through their outputs, achievements and markers of esteem. The Fellowships are also open to early/mid career individuals who have an emerging international reputation and are beginning to shape the agenda in their field.

Nominations for IAS Fellowships are considered and approved by a meeting of the IAS Directors.

College Fellows

There are College Fellows and Honorary Fellows in a number of Colleges. Some are arranged in conjunction with the IAS and provide accommodation. The criteria for nomination of College Fellows will be reviewed separately.


Procedure

Approval of Honorary and Visiting Professorships

  • The completed, signed forms must be sent to the Director of Human Resources.
  • The Director of Human Resources will consult with the relevant Faculty PVC, or PVC Research, PVC Education, PVC (Partnerships and Engagement) or Deputy Warden as appropriate, and seek the approval of the Vice-Chancellor on behalf of Senate.
  • The conferment of the title will be reported to Senate by Human Resources.
  • The Director of Human Resources will write to the individual notifying them of the agreed title and the period it applies. A copy of the letter will be sent to the appropriate Head of Department.

Approval of Honorary and Visiting Fellows or Associates

(a) PVC (Research) for Research Institutes

OR

(b) Faculty PVC for Academic Departments

  • The appropriate PVC may approve the request with delegated authority from Senate, if appropriate, after consulting the PVC (Partnerships and Engagement).
  • The completed, signed forms must be sent to the Director of Human Resources.
  • The Director of Human Resources will write to the individual notifying them of the agreed title and the period it applies. A copy of the letter will be sent to the appropriate Head of Department.
  • The conferment of the title will be reported to Senate by HR.

For procedure relating to the conferment of Emeritus Titles, click here.


Reconferment of Titles

The titles of Honorary/Visiting Professor, Fellow or Associate are normally conferred for a period of three years. To request a reconferment of an Honorary/Visiting title, please complete the following forms:

Reconferment of Honorary/Visiting Professor title form.

The Director of Human Resources will write to the individual notifying them of the reconferment of the agreed title and the period it applies. A copy of the letter will be sent to the appropriate Head of Department.

Reconferment of Honorary/Visiting Fellow or Associate title form.

The Director of Human Resources will write to the individual notifying them of the agreed reconferment of the title and the period it applies. A copy of the letter will be sent to the appropriate Head of Department.