Skip to Content - Skip to Navigation

Distinguished University Professor Award

Each year, the President's Office recognizes one faculty member with the Distinguished University Professor Award, choosing from a field of many exemplary faculty in an extremely competitive process.

The honored faculty member must hold the rank of full professor; hold a doctorate or other terminal degree; possess a record of outstanding teaching, quality research/scholarly activities, and university service; and show active and demonstrable engagement in research/scholarly activity that advances his or her discipline or its pedagogy.

The Distinguished University Professor Award, established in 1988, brings recipients a grant and reduced teaching load for one year to allow them to dedicate more time to research/scholarship, as well as other benefits.


Twenty faculty have been honored with the Distinguished University Professor Award:

2013: Victor Garcia, Anthropology

2012: Abbas Ali, Management

2011: Lynn Botelho, History

2010: Ben Rafoth, English

2009: Gian Pagnucci, English

2008: John (Jack) E. Stamp, Music

2007: Steven A. Hovan, Geoscience

2000: Eileen W. Glisan, Spanish and Classical Languages

1999: Robert J. Ackerman, Sociology

1998: Robert S. Prezant, Biology

1997: Richard D. Magee, Psychology

1996: Ronald G. Shafer, English

1995: Devki N. Talwar, Physics

1994: Charles D. Cashdollar, History

1993: Donald S. McPherson, Industrial and Labor Relations 

1992: John W. Kuehn, Music 

1991: Mary R. Jalongo, Professional Studies in Education 

1990: John N. Fox, Physics 

1989: Leon D. VandeCreek, Psychology

1988: Donald A. Walker, Economics 

Note: From 2001 to 2006, cost constraints prohibited presentation of the award.

« First  < Previous  |  Next >    Last »


PURPOSE: The purpose of the Distinguished University Professor Award is to recognize, reward, and encourage IUP faculty who demonstrate outstanding records of teaching, research/scholarly activities and services.

QUALIFICATIONS: To earn a Distinguished University Professor Award, a faculty member must:

  • Hold the rank of full professor 
  • Hold a doctorate or other terminal degree 
  • Have a record of outstanding teaching, quality research/scholarly activities and university service
  • Be active and demonstrably engaged in research/scholarly activity which advances the faculty member’s discipline or the teaching of his/her discipline

BENEFITS: A faculty member who is honored with the Distinguished University Professor Award receives:

  1. A $5,000 grant, through Foundation funding, to support his/her research/scholarly activities;
  2. A reduced teaching load (three hours release time) for each semester of the year for which the Distinguished University Professorship is awarded;
  3. A six-hour summer contract for professional activity;
  4. Designated parking spot for the year serving as Distinguished University Professor;
  5. His/her name inscribed upon a plaque honoring all Distinguished University Professors;
  6. A news release announcing the name and activities of the year’s Distinguished University Professor; and
  7. The lifetime title of Distinguished University Professor.

TIME FRAME: The position of Distinguished University Professor will be for one calendar year commencing at the beginning of the Fall semester. It can be held one time only, as it is a lifetime designation. The Distinguished University Professor must be in residence during the year for which the award is given (i.e., he/she must not be on sabbatical or other forms of leave).

UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR COMMITTEE: The Distinguished University Professor Committee shall consist of two administrators and six faculty members (with one from each college). All faculty members serving on the committee must hold the rank of full professor. The two administrators shall be selected by the Provost. The chair of the committee shall be appointed by the Provost and selected from the ranks of previous Distinguished University Professors. The other five faculty members of the committee shall be recommended to the Provost by APSCUF with at least three of them from the ranks of previous Distinguished University Professors. 

SELECTION PROCESS: The process whereby a Distinguished University Professor is awarded shall consist of four phases: Committee nomination, phase one application, phase two review, and award. A call for nominations is made to the university community. The Distinguished University Professor Committee will select faculty who meet the selection criteria and invite them to apply. The application process is in two phases. The committee will then evaluate each applicant with respect to the quality of prior work at phase one, and at phase two both the quality of prior work along with that of the work proposed for the time period of the Distinguished University Professorship is reviewed. The committee’s recommended candidate, along with a listing of top three candidates will be provided through the Provost to the President for a final decision.

« First    < Previous  |  Next >    Last »

Victor Garcia

Dr. GarciaVictor Garcia, professor of anthropology, has been selected as the Distinguished University Professor, formerly known as the University Professor, for the 2013–14 academic year.

For more than two decades, Garcia has been studying transnational Latino farm workers in southeastern Pennsylvania, California, and Texas and their struggles with rural poverty, labor organizing, addiction-related health problems, and other issues. He has found many of these problems are set in motion by a number of complex factors that arise when the men leave their families and communities to find work in the United States.

In ANTH 370 Latinos and Diasporas, Garcia has Anthropology students examine their own personal history to see how their families came to the United States.

“I ask the students to consider why people in Latin America leave their homelands for another country, often knowing that they will encounter hardships. Are they all leaving for the same reasons and what determines their final destinations?”

Garcia finds that once he shows the students the similarities between their ancestors—many times European immigrants who came to America for better opportunities and safety—and the Latin American diasporas, he can see it click in their minds and the classroom comes alive.

Immersing his students in a foreign culture through an experiential learning course is another approach Garcia has practiced. His students in ANTH 460 Ethnographic Field School travel to Mexico and live in a rural community far from life’s comforts. The students conduct their own research studies under Garcia’s close supervision. This experience allows them to explore firsthand such topics as the impact on families of absent fathers who have migrated to the United States and women’s participation in politics.

“As an anthropologist and active researcher, the teacher-scholar model is at the center of my teaching philosophy. I make every effort to incorporate my research findings and field experiences into the teaching material of all my courses.”

As he continued to uncover addiction issues and witness how they affected families and communities, Garcia felt compelled to help. He has served the Mid-Atlantic Addition Research and Training Institute (MARTI) in many roles, most recently as director of the program. At MARTI, Garcia and fellow faculty members conduct addiction-related research across many populations and develop better training for prevention and intervention programs. He has secured 17 grants, many of which have helped to fund MARTI’s initiatives.

Through his work with Latino populations in this region, Garcia has noticed another challenge: lack of higher education of its youth. Garcia is working to change that. Through community-based outreach with the IUP admissions office, he recruits Latino students from many of the communities he has worked with in his research.

But his efforts don’t stop there. Garcia realizes the challenges these first-generation college students face once they are away from their families and has developed and implemented an on-campus retention program called Caring about Latino Student Achievement (CALSA), the first program of its kind in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

As the Distinguished University Professor, Garcia plans to revisit his data on substance abuse treatment programs found in transnational Mexican communities in southeastern Pennsylvania and publish his results in a new book and in journal articles. He will also re-examine and publish finding about three Alcoholics Anonymous-based treatment programs used in Pennsylvania and Mexico for this transnational population. His substance abuse research has been funded by three major grants from the National Institutes of Health.

He believes his work “will enrich my classroom teaching and knowledge I can offer to IUP students.”

“It is a privilege and an honor to be selected IUP’s 2013-14 Distinguished University Professor and to be recognized for my many efforts, particularly my research on transnational Latino communities and my retention work with Latino students,” Garcia said.

“I wish to share this special recognition with my family in California and my current and retired colleagues from the Mid-Atlantic Addition Research and Training Institute who have inspired me and have made my many contributions possible. I also want to share this honor with the many students whom I have mentored over the years, especially this year’s crop. They, too, have inspired me and have served to remind me why I am at IUP.”

« First    < Previous  |  Next >  Last »