Faculty Awards

University Distinguished Professors

Appointment to the rank of University Distinguished Professor is the highest honor Northeastern can bestow upon a faculty member. Those named University Distinguished Professor have earned international recognition and distinction for educational, artistic, and/or scholarly contributions that have been transformative in their field.

2018 Award Recipients


Individuals may be nominated for the title of University Distinguished Professor under either the “University” or the “Distinguished” path of consideration. Nominees under the “University” path should have achieved international recognition and distinction for contributions to education, artistic creativity and expression and/or research that cross disciplinary boundaries. Nominees under the “Distinguished” path should have achieved international recognition and distinction for contributions to education, artistic creativity and expression and/or research that are outstanding and transformative in their field.


Eligibility for Nomination

All current Northeastern University tenured faculty members holding the rank of Professor are eligible for nomination for the title of University Distinguished Professor. In addition, under special circumstances the credentials of extraordinary candidates for faculty positions at the rank of Professor may be considered for the title of University Distinguished Professor at the point of hire or during the recruiting process.

Nominations that are not successful in their first year of consideration will remain active for an additional two years.


The combined number of University Distinguished Professors should not exceed 10 percent of the number of tenured faculty at Northeastern University holding the rank of Professor. Each year, the Provost will determine the maximum number of faculty members that may be selected internally. The 10 percent cap applies only to these University-wide honors and does not include holders of endowed named chairs or college-specific titles.

Emeritus Faculty

A faculty member holding the title of University Distinguished Professor may, with the approval of the Provost, hold the title “University Distinguished Professor Emeritus” upon retirement. Emeritus faculty members will not be counted when determining cohort limits.

Award Selection Committee

Acknowledgement goes to everyone from the Award Selection Committee who helped make the University Distinguished Professor Awards happen this year.

  • Wendy Parmet
  • Lisa Feldman Barrett
  • Phil Brown
  • Vinod Sahney
  • Vladimir Torchilin

Nomination & Selection Process

The Provost will request nominations early in the academic year and will announce the deadline dates for the nomination process. The process will involve two steps.

Letter of intent
Nominators will prepare a signed letter of no more than one page indicating the intent to prepare a nomination. This letter should indicate the basis for the intended nomination and which consideration path it should follow. Nominations must have the written endorsement of the candidate’s dean(s) and department chair(s). The nominator(s) will send this letter plus the proposed candidate’s CV to the Provost.

The Provost will appoint a five-person University Distinguished Professors Committee of outstanding faculty members to review the letters of intent and recommend those for whom full nomination packages may be prepared. In general, the committee will put forward for nomination a cohort of no more than three times the maximum number of positions determined by the Provost to be available for the year. The committee’s deliberations and recommendations will remain confidential.

The President and Provost will review the Committee’s recommendations and invite the nominators of selected candidates to proceed with the full nomination.

Nomination and Selection
The nominators will prepare a full nomination package, consisting of a signed cover letter not to exceed two pages, the CV of the candidate, and not more than five letters of support, including a letter of support from the candidate’s dean(s). Including letters from external authorities will strengthen the nomination case.

The University Distinguished Professors Committee will review the nomination packages and if necessary solicit additional input. It will prepare a short report on its findings and recommendations. Both the Committee’s report and its deliberations will remain confidential.

The President and Provost will determine who among these candidates will be promoted to University Distinguished Professor. This decision is final and not appealable.

Faculty invited to become University Distinguished Professors will be recognized at an annual awards convocation.

Nomination and Selection Process for External Candidates

A faculty member who joins Northeastern at the rank of full Professor with tenure may be appointed with the title of University Distinguished Professor at the time of his or her recruitment to the faculty at the determination of the Provost and President. Such appointments are not considered through the committee that evaluates internal candidates and are not included in the annual maximum number of appointments established by the Provost. They are, however, included under the maximum number of faculty who may hold these titles at any one time.

Review of University Distinguished Professors
Faculty members named as University Distinguished Professors bear these titles at the discretion of the President and the Provost. Their performance is reviewed by the Provost and President at five-year intervals.


Margaret Burnham, Professor, School of Law

Ravi Ramamurti, Distinguished Professor of International Business and Strategy, and Director of the Center for Emerging Markets, D’Amore-McKim School of Business


Mansoor M. Amiji, Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Bouvé College of Health Sciences

Daniel McCarthy, the Alan S. McKim and Richard A. D’Amore Distinguished Professor of Global Management and Innovation, D’Amore-McKim School of Business

Srinivas Sridhar, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Physics, College of Science


Alexandros Makriyannis, Professor, George D. Behrakis Endowed Chair, and Director of the Center for Drug Discovery

Jonathan Tilly, Professor and Chair of the Department of Biology


Nadine Aubry, Dean, College of Engineering

Arun Bansil,Professor of Physics

Albert-László Barabási, Distinguished Professor of Physics and Robert Gray Dodge Professor of Network Science

Ahmed Busnaina, Dr. William Lincoln Smith Professor

Arthur Coury, Professor of Chemical Engineering

Stephen W. Director, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Terry Fulmer, Dean, Bouvé College of Health Sciences

Vinod Sahney, Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering


Lisa Feldman Barrett, Distinguished Professor of Psychology

Phil Brown, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences

Andrei Zelevinsky, Professor of Mathematics (awarded posthumously)


Richard Daynard, Professor of Law

Vladimir Torchilin, Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences


William Dickens, Professor of Economics

Judith Hall, Professor of Psychology

Sheila Puffer, Professor and Cherry Family Senior Fellow of International Business

Vincent Harris, William Lincoln Smith Chair Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Kim Lewis, Professor of Biology