Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorship

Through the generosity of the Vilas Trust, the University of Wisconsin–Madison is able to provide an array of named professorships and awards to recognize the outstanding achievements of its faculty members. These awards not only provide generous research funding to those who receive them, but they can — in cases of teacher-scholars who are being recruited or who are likely to be recruited by our competitors — serve as an inducement to stay at UW–Madison. They are among the most prestigious awards granted by the university.

The Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorship (VDAP) provides $75,000 in flexible funding as a one-time award. Of this amount, $50,000 is provided by the Vilas Trust, and should be expended in the first three years of the award (the year in which the professorship is awarded, and the two years immediately after), with remaining funds reverting to the Trust. The other $25,000 is provided by the school/college, and can be paid out at the rate of $5,000 each year for five years. Faculty members receiving this award can keep the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorship title for the duration of their careers.

2021-22 Nomination Process

Because of the way the fund is to be expended, schools and colleges are encouraged to work with their chairs on nominations early in the year (ideally by December 3, 2021), though departments and schools/colleges may wish to consider whether a VDAP may be a useful retention tool later in the academic year.

Nomination packages should be emailed to as a single PDF file ideally by December 3, 2021. Please name your file: “School/CollegeName-NomineeLastName-SubmissionDate.pdf” (for example: Engineering-Smith-January152022.pdf.)

Nomination packages should include:

  • A letter of nomination from the department or from the school or college (two to three pages)
  • A letter from the Dean (not to exceed two pages) to Provost Karl Scholz addressing the following issues:
    • The nominee’s scholarly impact and accomplishments within her or his field of knowledge and on the research mission of the college/school and campus
    • Additional impact and contributions through teaching or service
    • Other aspects relevant to the scholar’s accomplishments or value
    • Retention aspects, if relevant
    • Proposed $25,000 payment schedule
  • Current CV
  • Any additional relevant materials


Beth Meyerand
Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Affairs
Office of the Provost