The Regents Professor Position
The honorary title was established on July 1, 1971. The OSU Board of Regents and President Robert B. Kamm initiated a study of titled "Professors in the Big 8" in the late 1960s. It was discovered that most members of the Big 8 Conference identified a distinguished group of professors. Based upon this study, OSU established the rank of Regents Professor. The first Regents Professor was appointed in September, 1971, followed by two others in October, 1971.
In the Fall of 1998, a small group of Regents Professors began to converse about the need to form an organization that would function to encourage scholarship at Oklahoma State University. Gradually, the group was expanded and luncheons with guest speakers were held. In the Fall of 2000 bylaws were established. The organization consists of present and past Regents Professors, a Chair, past chair, chair-elect and a four-member executive committee.
As a broad statement, the organization has two objectives. The first is to encourage world-class scholarship at Oklahoma State University. To this end, the group accomplishes a number of tasks. It provides speakers for graduate commencement in the Spring and Fall semesters. Similarly, it provides the kick-off speaker for Research Week each February. In coordination with ITLE and the Provost's Office, it has established a mentoring program for young faculty members. In addition, its members provide assistance to faculty around the state on grant writing. The organization also sponsors research seminars each spring and fall. These are held in the OSU Library and are open to the campus. The objective of the seminars is to build bridges among faculty across the campus.
Finally, the organization seeks to bring in thought-provoking scholars each year for a campus visit. For example, in 2007 the Noble Prize Chemist, Hoffman was brought to campus. In 2008, the Regents Professors partnered with the Vice President for Research to bring in Robert Cialdini, an internationally recognized social psychologist who has worked extensively on ways to encourage environmentally conscious behaviors. The Regents Professors have also contributed funds to other groups on campus to assist them in bringing nationally recognized researchers to campus.
A second objective of the group is to advise the Vice President of Research and the Provost on matters related to research and scholarship. To this end, an advisory group has been appointed to work with the Vice President of Research.
Nominations for appointment to Regents Professor are made by any tenured member of the OSU faculty system and seconded by another tenured faculty member. The nomination is submitted to Academic Affairs and then referred back to the nominee’s department and college, which follows the normal RPT process. The packet is forwarded whether the recommendation is positive, neutral, or negative. The packets are reviewed by a campus-wide committee appointed by the Provost. The nominations include evidence of a candidate’s national/international stature. The letters of support from recognized experts in the field should document a pattern of continuous productivity in research, creative expression, and/or scholarship that exceeds the level expected of an individual holding the rank of professor, and should document the national/international stature of the nominee appropriate to his or her academic discipline. Examples include a significant publication record, major research grants, evidence of exceptional creative activity, appointments to Editorial Boards of major professional journals, and special awards and recognition from national and international societies or associations for scholarly and/or creative accomplishments. In sum, the process is very selective. The outstanding qualifications of the OSU Regents Professors are illustrated by their scholarly accomplishments.