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Home > Conditions of service > Appointment categories > Naming of Chairs and Professors

Naming of Chairs and Professors

  1. Professors

    All Professors, whether they hold established chairs, distinguished professorships, personal chairs, endowed chairs, the only chair in a department, or a chair in a department in which there is more than one established chair are, qua professors, equal in status.

    We have a category of "Distinguished Professors" who enjoy special privileges. All Professors (with the exception of Emeritus Professors, Honorary Professors, Adjunct Professors and Visiting Professors) are equal members of the Senate. They derive their membership of the Senate by virtue of the provisions of the UCT Statute.

  2. Emeritus Professors and Emeritus Associate Professors

    Emeritus Professors/Emeritus Associate Professors are retired Professors/Associate Professors who, having met certain conditions, have been elected to the rank of Emeritus Professor/Emeritus Associate Professor. They are members of the Convocation.

  3. Honorary Professors

    Honorary Professors are appointed in terms of procedures set out in the document below. Honorary Professors are not members of Senate.

    View the Conditions and procedures for the appointment of Honorary Professors and Honorary Associate Professors.

  4. Visiting Professors

    A visitor who holds a chair in an equivalent institution, or a post of equal or greater distinction, may be appointed a Visiting Professor for the period of his/her stay at UCT. He or she is not a member of Senate.

  5. Associate Professors

    Associate Professors are not by virtue of their positions members of the Senate.

  6. Adjunct Professors

    Adjunct Professors are people in full-time employment or professional practice or retirement, outside the University, and are appointed for fixed periods (which could be renewable). Adjunct Professors would not normally be required to meet scholarly / research requirements and are not members of Senate. Adjunct Professors may be paid an honorarium, or fee, or not, as may be appropriate. Adjunct professorships are reserved for individuals likely to engage actively with the teaching and/or research work of departments. They will not, unless individually appointed, be members of faculty boards. University staff (including joint staff) are not eligible.

  7. Distinguished Professors

    Council and Senate may appoint pre-eminent scholars as Distinguished Professors for periods of five years. Distinguished Professors are styled accordingly: in documentation, a Distinguished Professor will be referred to as John Smith, Distinguished Professor of ... (e.g. Natural Philosophy). He/she may be addressed: "Dear Distinguished Professor Smith" or "Dear Professor Smith". He/she may be listed as Distinguished Professor Smith.

Form or style of address

It is our practice to address any Professor, any Emeritus Professor, any Honorary Professor and any Visiting Professor, as: "Professor ... (surname)". It is our practice to allow any Professor, any Emeritus Professor, any Honorary Professor and any Visiting Professor to style himself or herself: "Professor ... (name)". Distinguished Professors may style themselves: "Distinguished Professor ... (name)". See point 7 above for the form or style of address for Distinguished Professors.

Title and nomenclature for Professors

  1. Endowed and funded chairs

    Where a chair is endowed or funded, it will usually be named by decision of Senate and Council. An endowed chair, for these purposes, is a chair fully funded by donor funds on a long-term basis (more than five years) or the income from donor funds held in permanent endowment. Funded chairs are partly donor-funded, or partly funded from a permanent endowment, or fully donor-funded for a medium-term or short-term period.)

    Examples of named endowed or funded chairs are:

    • The Hofmeyr Chair of Afrikaans and Netherlandic Studies in the Department of Southern African Languages & Linguistics.
    • The Arderne Chair of English in the Department of English Language and Literature
    • The King George V Chair of History in the Department of Historical Studies
    • The K W Johnston Chair of Accounting in the Department of Accounting
    • The Corporation Chair of Civil Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering
    • The Pieter Moll and Nuffield Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery in the Department of Surgery
    • The Leslie Hill Chair of Plant Conservation in the Department of Botany
    • The Phillipson-Stow Chair of Mineralogy and Geology in the Department of Geological Sciences.

    Not all endowed or funded chairs are named: an example of a funded Chair that was not named is the Chair of Gastroenterology. The holder of a named chair is styled: "The ... Professor of ... in the department of ..." or: "The ... Professor of ..." (the chairholder is not styled: "The ... Chair of ...")

  2. Distinguished Professors

    Those offered appointment as Distinguished Professors are offered the choice of the subject they profess. Where the chair is endowed or funded, or named for an endowment or funding, the name will be added as for example:

    • Distinguished Professor of Natural Philosophy (Brian Warner)
    • Distinguished Professor of Complex Systems (George Ellis)
    • Distinguished Professor of Humane Letters (Philippe Salazar)
  3. Professors

    Where there is neither an endowment-related name, nor an individual name, a Professor is styled "Professor of ... in the Department of ..." and the chair is styled "Chair in ... in the Department of ..."

    • "Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery in the Department of Surgery"
      and
    • "The Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery in the Department of Surgery"
    • "Professor of Pharmacology in the Department of Medicine"
      and
    • "The Chair of Pharmacology in the Department of Medicine"
    • "Professor of French in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages"

    Ad hominem promotion policy provides:

    • for the promotion of all eligible and chair-worthy staff to the rank of (full) Professor.

    • that promotion to (full) Professor depends on a range of factors (teaching and the capacity to provide academic leadership among them), rather than purely on research and scholarship.

      Accordingly, where a Professor does not occupy an endowed or funded chair and has not been appointed as a Distinguished Professor, he or she shall have the title of the (or a) discipline recognised by Senate within the department in which he/she is appointed. There could thus be more than one Professor with the same title in a department. For example there may be several Professors of mathematics and Professors of applied mathematics, and there could be more than one Professor of French, of German, of Classics and/or of Arabic within the Department of Modern and Classical Languages.

    • Professors holding joint appointments

      A Professor holding a joint appointment will carry the title of Professor of the disciplinary areas in both, or each, of the departments concerned. For example, a joint appointment to the schools of management studies and statistics could produce a Professor of Business Science and of Statistical Science.

Rules on endowed and funded chairs

  1. A chair is deemed endowed if fully funded by donor funds or the income from donor funds on a permanent or long-term basis (more than five years), and funded if partly donor-funded, or fully donor-funded for a short period.

  2. A chair not endowed or funded will not be named.

  3. Any unendowed, funded or unfunded chair holds incentive to secure (full) endowment for it (in some instances the income from endowments has not kept pace with increases in remuneration packages).

  4. UCT reserves the right to decline a donor's request that a chair be given a particular name.

  5. When an endowed or funded chair becomes vacant, it may be filled by advertisement (if so approved), or the title may be transferred to another Professor in the department (or in the faculty if the endowment or donor-funding allows this).

  6. The filling of vacant endowed or funded posts must always be maximised in order to put the gifts concerned to full use.

  7. Where difficulty in filling a funded or endowed post may, to an extent, be attributable to the name of a chair, a change of name consistent with the obligations to the donor may be considered.

  8. All income from an endowment for (or donor funding towards) a post is capitalised when the endowed (or funded) post concerned is vacant.

Page last updated: 9 May 2011