The current contract between UMass Lowell and the Massachusetts Society of Professors (MSP) stipulates that the university shall appoint “University Professors.” The purpose of the University Professor appointment is to acknowledge a faculty member who is recognized by peers as having made truly outstanding contributions, over a number of years, to research and scholarship on both national and international levels and who demonstrates excellence in teaching.

The purpose of this award is to acknowledge significant accomplishments achieved over the course of a successful academic career, rather than to identify junior faculty who have potential for future accomplishments.


Any UMass Lowell faculty member may nominate a tenured full professor for the award. Each nomination must consist of the nominee’s CV and a two- to three-page letter justifying the nomination. Self-nominations are permitted.


Criteria for selection will mirror the criteria for promotion to full professor:
  1. Exemplary teaching, as attested by faculty chair reports and student evaluations;
  2. Outstanding research productivity, as documented by scholarly publications, external grants and/or sponsored research that have generated professional acclaim;
  3. Extraordinary service that has advanced the university mission of outreach to support the economic, social, cultural, health and/or education development of the region.


Per the MSP contract, the selection committee will consist of: The Provost (or designee), the MSP President (or designee) and a third person selected annually by agreement between the Provost and MSP President.

Individuals nominated but not selected in a given year will retain active consideration without need for re-nomination for three years.


The individual selected as University Professor will receive an annual salary supplement of $10,000.00 as well as one course reduction for each semester during the term of the appointment. The individual’s department will also receive an annual allocation of $10,000.00 to cover the approximate $5,000.00 cost of a replacement adjunct instructor each semester. The individual selected must agree to deliver a university-wide lecture during the first year of the appointment.


Nomination and selection process has concluded for the 2023-2026 cycle and Professor Sandra Lim has been named the 2023 Distinguished University Professor.

University Professors

Previous and Current University Professors:

  • Ramaswamy Nagarajan, Plastics Engineering, 2022-2025
  • Katherine Tucker, Biomed & Nutritional Sciences, 2021-2024
  • Christopher Niezrecki, Mechanical Engineering, 2020-2023
  • William Moylan, Music, 2019-2022
  • Meg Bond, Psychology, 2018-2021
  • Joey Mead, Plastics Engineering, 2017-2020
  • Robert Forrant, History, 2016-2019
  • Holly Yanco, Computer Science, 2015-2018
  • Pradeep Kurup, Civil Engineering, 2014-2017
  • Laura Punnett, Work Environment, 2013-2016
  • Stephen McCarthy, Plastics Engineering, 2012-2015
  • Regina Panasuk, Graduate School of Education, 2011-2014
  • Robert Giles, Physics and Applied Physics, 2010-2013
  • Kenneth Geiser, Work Environment, 2009-2012
  • Susan Braunhut, Biological Sciences, 2008-2011