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. Faculty members receiving this award can keep the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorship title for the duration of their careers.

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.

Submitting a Nomination

Nomination Criteria

Strong nominations will address:

  1. The nominee’s accomplishments within their field and their impact on the research mission of the school, college, or division, and the university
  2. Additional impact and contributions through teaching or service
  3. Other aspects relevant to the nominee’s accomplishments or impact
  4. Retention aspects, if relevant
  5. Proposed $25,000 payment schedule


Applications are accepted until March 1, 2023. To be considered for the first round of review, applications must be submitted by Oct. 31, 2022. Most awards will be distributed in the first round. Dean’s Office will be notified of outcomes for all nominees following final review in March.

Application Process

The Dean’s Office submits nominations to the Office of the Provost.

  1. Create a single PDF file for each nomination that includes:
    • Dean’s cover memo stating support for the nomination and ranking, if more than one person is being nominated
    • The nomination from the department, school, college, or division (two to three pages)
    • The nominee’s curriculum vitae
    • Any additional relevant materials
  2. Name the PDF file “NomineeLastName-SchoolCollegeDivision-DateSubmitted” (for example, Smith-Education-2022-09-13.pdf)
  3. Upload the file to the VDAP Box folder
  4. Representatives from the Office of the Provost review proposals and notify the Dean of their decision.