Texas Tech University


[Moderate revision–posted 9/29/22 (replaces 5/14/21 edition)]
[Added Vice Provost for Administrative Affairs to the review paragraph–1/31/23; no additional change to OP]
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Operating Policy and Procedure

OP 32.09: Selection of Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished Professorships

DATE: September 29, 2022

PURPOSE: The purpose of this Operating Policy/Procedure (OP) is to ensure understanding and a standardized approach in the handling of Horn Distinguished Professorships.

REVIEW: This OP will be reviewed in October of odd-numbered years by the Vice Provost for Administrative Affairs and the Provost and Senior Vice President (PSVP).


1.  Horn Distinguished Professorships
     * Section 04.01.1, Regents' Rules

a.    The Board of Regents establishes special professorships known as “Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished Professorships,” named in honor of Paul Whitfield Horn, the first President of the institution (hereafter referred to as Horn Distinguished Professorships).

b.     Horn Distinguished Professorships, the highest honor that the university may bestow on members of its faculty, are granted to tenured professors in recognition of their attainment of national and/or international distinction for having made a unique and significant impact on their field through outstanding research or other creative scholarly achievement.

c.     The Board of Regents shall approve those faculty members to be granted Horn Distinguished Professorships upon recommendation by the President.

d.     The salary of an appointee to a Horn Distinguished Professorship shall be supplemented and a discretionary account will be created. This account, when initially funded, will receive one-half of the allotted amount for the current year and then the full amount at the beginning of the next fiscal year. Upon retirement, one additional year of funding for the discretionary account will be made to allow ongoing projects or student support to be completed. Funds are allocated for the named Horn Distinguished Professor and are only for their use. One year past retirement, or in the case of death of the Horn Distinguished Professor, the remaining fund balance will revert to the university.

e.     The number of Horn Distinguished Professorships shall not be limited to a fixed quota, nor shall an effort be made to maintain fixed ratios of this special position among colleges and departments.

f.     Horn Distinguished Professors shall serve, individually and as a body, in an advisory capacity to the President and the PSVP on matters of importance to the university and related to furthering the national and international reputation of Texas Tech University.

The Horn Distinguished Professors will elect one of their own to serve as their spokesperson who will be responsible for coordinating events involving the Horn Distinguished Professors. The spokesperson will be elected for a three-year term, beginning with the January 16 official start of a Texas Tech spring semester. The spokesperson will be eligible to be re-elected for one additional three-year term.

2.  Nomination Procedure

a.    The nomination of a professor for the designation “Horn Distinguished Professor” is made by a department chair, Horn Distinguished Professor, or dean. Nominations from department chairs and Horn Distinguished Professors should be forwarded to the dean of the college in which the nominee holds professorial status. In the case of faculty who hold appointments split between more than one college, the dean of either college may oversee the nomination and evaluation process. Self-nominations are not allowed. Nominees not selected will be eligible for re-nomination one calendar year after notice of non-selection. Nominees not selected may be re-nominated without prejudice.

b.    The dean of each college shall appoint a committee to evaluate nominees from the college. The committees shall consist of at least three distinguished members of the Texas Tech faculty holding the rank of professor, one of whom must be a Horn Distinguished Professor. Those eligible for selection to this committee need not be in the same college as the nominee. The nominee shall be notified of her/his nomination and approve the preparation of her/his nomination dossier. The nominee must submit a list (to include electronic addresses) of 20 names of prominent scholars or other persons qualified to evaluate the nominee's professional qualifications and suitability for award of a Horn Distinguished Professorship. From this list, the dean must obtain three external letters of evaluation and shall make these letters available to the college evaluation committee. Examples of supporting evidence for selection as a Horn Distinguished Professor and the nominee's complete dossier shall be provided to each individual who is asked to submit an evaluation letter. The college evaluation committee votes anonymously, and the votes are recorded on a ballot sheet (see attachment), which becomes part of the nomination dossier. Voters may submit anonymous comments separate from the ballots. The dean will write a letter indicating her/his support of the nomination. With the concurrence of the nominee, the nomination dossiers are forwarded to the PSVP with the dean's letter, ballot sheet, and the three external letters for further evaluation. The PSVP will solicit the17 additional evaluation letters. The dean will bring to the attention of the PSVP any deviation from objective consideration of the nominee, as outlined in this OP

c.    The committee, comprising the PSVP, five or more Horn Distinguished Professors, and the holder of an endowed chair or professorship appointed by the PSVP, will review the nominations. The President of the Faculty Senate shall serve as a non-voting observer of the selection process. The committee will meet as a group to discuss the nominees in depth and in confidentiality. The committee will vote anonymously, and the votes will be recorded on the ballot sheet. The PSVP will summarize the recommendations of the committee and determine her/his support or rejection of each nominee. The PSVP will forward the ballot sheets to the President for concurrence and convey her/his recommendation regarding each nominee, bringing to the attention of the President any deviation from objective consideration of the nominees, as outlined in this OP. If the recommendation of the PSVP varies from the majority vote of the committee, the PSVP will communicate her/his recommendation in writing to the Horn Distinguished Professors. The President will forward her/his positive recommendations to the Board of Regents. If the recommendation of the President varies from the majority vote of the PSVP's advisory committee, the President will communicate her/his recommendation in writing to the voting members of the advisory committee. The PSVP shall notify each nominee and her/his college dean of the status of the nomination. The status of the recommendations to the Board of Regents for faculty to receive this honor must otherwise remain confidential until the Board of Regents takes final action

3.  Eligibility and Criteria for Selection

a.    Members of the faculty who hold the rank of dean or above are not eligible for nomination for a Horn Distinguished Professorship. Horn Distinguished Professors who are subsequently appointed as deans or to higher-ranking administrative positions shall retain their Horn Distinguished Professorships.

b.    Recognition of excellence in teaching and outreach as confirmed by having tenure at Texas Tech and prior appointment or promotion to professor is a requirement for nomination for a Horn Distinguished Professorship.

c.    The Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished Professorship is a special honor that rewards extraordinary academic achievements recognized nationally and internationally. Although such achievements demonstrate excellence throughout a career, those achieved by the successful nominee while holding the rank of professor at TTU (rather than before coming to TTU) are especially important. For that reason, it is rare for a professor with fewer than six years of service at TTU to be selected to receive the Horn Distinguished Professorship.

Examples listed below are representative of supporting evidence for a nominee's national or international distinction at a level clearly above that expected from a professor.

(1)    The publication of highly cited or recognized books, articles, reviews, works of art, and other evidence particular to the field of scholarly achievement. Publications shall be in scholarly journals or sources customary to the field of interest.

(2)    Awards and prizes from professional organizations and foundations

(3)    Grants in support of research, study, or creative works

(4)    Offices held in learned societies

(5)    Papers read before learned societies

(6)    Lectures or performances delivered at other academic, industrial, or professional venues

(7)    Services as expert, consultant, etc., to business, industry, governmental agencies, and educational organizations

(8) Evidence of the success of the nominee's graduate students (where appropriate)


Attachment: Horn Distinguished Professor Nomination Ballot

Operating Policies & Procedures