Graduate School News

Announcing the Royster Distinguished Professorship

February 2, 2009

The Graduate School is pleased to announce The Caroline H. and Thomas S. Royster Distinguished Professorship for Graduate Education. This term professorship recognizes the contributions of Dr. and Mrs. Thomas S. Royster to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and to the Graduate School as the founders and benefactors of the Royster Society of Fellows.

The individual named to this Distinguished Professorship will also serve as the Director of the Royster Society of Fellows. The term of the professorship will be 3 years. Selection will be open to any tenured, senior level professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and individuals who hold other permanent, named professorships at the university will not be excluded from consideration for this fixed-term professorship.

The Graduate School seeks an individual with the following characteristics as the first recipient of the Caroline H. and Thomas S. Royster Distinguished Professorship for Graduate Education:

  • An individual with a strong record as a scholar and as a graduate student mentor, as well as a broad interest in graduate education.
  • An individual who reveals an appreciation for a broad range of disciplines, either through their own scholarly interests or departmental affiliations.
  • An individual willing to devote a significant fraction of their time to serving as Director of the Royster Society of Fellows. The primary academic program that houses the faculty appointment of the selected individual will agree to release this individual from a portion of their academic responsibilities so they can serve as Director of the Society of Fellows. It is recommended that individuals not hold other major administrative responsibilities concurrently with this leadership role.

The Director of the Royster Society of Fellows will be responsible for conceptualizing and leading activities that provide effective interdisciplinary enrichment and professional development for the Fellows. These activities may include oversight of the following:

  • Interdisciplinary seminars in which the Fellows present their research to one another;
  • Mentoring of dissertation Fellows to complete their research and writing on time and prepare for the job market;
  • Mentoring of first-year Fellows to make a successful transition into graduate study;
  • Mentoring Royster Fellows who jointly develop and teach interdisciplinary courses for Carolina first-year undergraduates;
  • Presentation training to develop the Fellows’ skill in presenting their research to non-academic audiences, such as policy makers;
  • Arranging group travel, symposium events and other activities that enrich the graduate experience.

Additional faculty members may also contribute to such mentoring and training under the oversight and guidance of the Director. The Graduate School will provide general administrative support.

The stipend for this term professorship will be $15,000 per academic year. In addition, funds will be available to compensate the department for release from teaching activities. Funding to support the activities of the Fellows and the appointment of one or more additional faculty to assist with these activities will be available.

To nominate a faculty member please submit your nomination letter, a copy of the individual's curriculum vita, a letter of support from the Department Chair and a list of three references for your nominee, with complete contact information. Self nominations are welcome and encouraged. These should include a cover letter indicating your interest and qualifications for this professorship.

Please submit nomination materials in electronic form as email attachments to Kathy Farinola ( For full consideration nominations are due by Monday, March 2, 2009.

A committee composed of members of the Administrative Board of the Graduate School and former Directors of the Royster Society will make a recommendation to the Dean of the Graduate School on this appointment. The appointment will begin on July 1, 2009. Please address questions to Steve Matson at 962-3521 or Sandra Hoeflich at 962-6323.