Awards, Grants, and Professorships Conferred by the Office of the Provost

The Office of the Provost administers and helps support the following awards and grants for faculty and staff.

Awards and Recognition

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Academic Staff Excellence Awards

UW-Madison Academic Staff Excellence Awards honor nine academic staff members annually in several categories:

  • Chancellor’s Hilldale Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Research (two awards)
  • Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Service to the University
  • Wisconsin Alumni Association Awards for Excellence in Leadership (two awards)
  • Robert and Carroll Heideman Award for Excellence in Public Service and Outreach
  • Martha Casey Award for Dedicated Service to the University
  • Ann Wallace Career Achievement Award

All awardees receive a plaque and $5,000 stipend.

Awards for Mentoring Undergraduates

The Office of the Provost offers Awards for Mentoring Undergraduates in Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities to recognize the important role mentors have in fostering undergraduates’ intellectual, personal and professional growth. The awards honor faculty members, academic staff and post-doctoral fellows/graduate students for their excellence in mentoring undergraduates and their contribution to a core component of students’ Wisconsin Experience.

Exceptional Service Support Program

The Exceptional Service Support Program acknowledges and supports assistant and associate professors who perform service activities beyond what is expected of tenure-track and tenured faculty members. The program provides $10,000 flexible funding for faculty to advance their research and teaching.

Faculty Distinguished Teaching Awards

The UW-Madison Faculty Distinguished Teaching Awards recognize excellence in teaching, diversity and inclusion, and outreach teaching. The awards are administered each year through the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty, in partnership with the vice provost for teaching and learning. Nominations may be submitted by faculty members, departments and student organizations.

Outstanding Women of Color Awards

The UW-Madison Outstanding Women of Color Awards acknowledge and honor women of color among UW-Madison faculty, staff, students (undergraduate or post-baccalaureate) and in the greater Madison community, who have made outstanding contributions in one or more of the following areas:

  • social justice, activism and advocacy on behalf of disadvantaged, marginalized populations;
  • community service;
  • scholarly research, writing, speaking and/or teaching on race, ethnicity and indigeneity in U.S. society, and;
  • community building on- or off-campus, to create an inclusive and respectful environment for all.

Nominations are solicited annually by the deputy vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, vice provost and chief diversity officer, with the nominations typically due in September. For more information, contact:

Teaching Academy Fellowship and Award

The Teaching Academy partners with the vice provost for teaching and learning to provide a forum for faculty and staff from across campus to connect and discuss best-practices in teaching and learning. Fellowship in the Teaching Academy is an honor bestowed on individuals who have demonstrated teaching excellence, are recognized and nominated by their peers, and are committed to advancing the mission of the Academy. Each year, a faculty or staff member is selected by a peer committee to receive the Academy Award for excellence in teaching. Learn more about the fellowship and awards.

Vilas Faculty Early & Mid-Career Investigator Awards

Vilas Faculty Early & Mid-Career Investigator Awards recognize research and teaching excellence in early and mid-career faculty.

These awards provide between $25,000 and $100,000 in flexible funding over three years.

The awards are funded by the generosity of the Trustees of the William F. Vilas Estate. They are managed by the provost and are appointed through a competition process.


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Academic Staff Professional Development Grants

UW-Madison Academic Staff Professional Development Grants are intended for professional development and/or training to improve the effectiveness of academic staff members in their current roles. The funds are not intended for basic job training or for job requirements.

Anonymous Fund

The Anonymous Fund was established in 1943 to benefit UW-Madison programs in the arts and humanities. Funded by an anonymous donor, the bequest is charged to “strengthen and enlarge the cultural and artistic undertakings of the university.”

The majority of Anonymous Fund money is distributed to departments and programs in the form of block grants for academic programming with a public component. A portion of the fund also supports programming by individual units, especially those collaborating on conferences, film screening, exhibitions and the like. The committee looks favorably upon programs that are accessible to the greater Madison community.

The Anonymous Trust Funds are administered by a committee appointed by the chancellor and chaired by the College of Letters and Science Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities.

Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment

The Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment is a competitive grant program designed to foster public engagement and advance the Wisconsin Idea – the notion that the knowledge and solutions generated at UW-Madison will benefit the people of Wisconsin, our nation and our world. The endowment supports UW-Madison faculty, staff and students in the development of new and innovative projects, or new dimensions to existing translational outreach, community-based research and public engagement activities.

Brittingham Wisconsin Trust Grants

The Brittingham Wisconsin Trust supports general university objectives, with an emphasis on projects in the arts and humanities that may not have access to other funding, as well as projects identified by campus leadership as priorities of the institution. The Trust also supports innovative or experimental projects that may subsequently be funded through traditional sources, interdisciplinary activities, and special projects that contribute to the university’s knowledge base or provide distinctive learning experiences for students or faculty.

Evjue Foundation Grants

The Evjue Foundation grants are made possible by the will of the late William T. Evjue, the founder of The Capital Times, who directed that proceeds from his controlling stock in the newspaper go to the Evjue Charitable Trust. The will requires that the trust, in turn, direct proceeds to the foundation to be distributed to worthy causes and organizations throughout the community. The Foundation often makes grants to UW-Madison for projects that provide outreach and enhance the quality of life in Madison and Dane County. Any grant proposal that involves UW-Madison entities must be submitted through the campus process.

Faculty Sabbatical Leave Program

The Faculty Sabbatical Leave Program enables faculty members to engage in intensive study in order to become more effective teachers and scholars, and to enhance their services to the university. Sabbatical leave may be granted for the purpose of enhancing teaching, course and curriculum development, conducting research or any other scholarly activities related to instructional programs within the field of expertise of the faculty member.

Grant Funding System

The Innovation Grant Funding System (IGFS), in the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement (DDEEA), provides small grant allocations to support innovative projects to enrich/boost institutional impact on campus diversity.

Additional award opportunities are offered across campus by specific schools and colleges, as well as other units including, but not limited to, the Secretary of the Academic Staff, Secretary of the Faculty, and Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education.

Award opportunities for students – undergraduate and graduate – can also be found across campus including, but not limited to, the Undergraduate Academic Awards Office, Graduate School and Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH).


The Office of the Provost administers the following professorships for faculty.

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Bascom Professorships

Bascom Professorships are symbols of the University’s emphasis on high quality instruction and research. They honor the distinguished scholar and former university president, John Bascom. The coveted awards are for UW–Madison faculty members who have demonstrated outstanding quality, significance, and productivity in their research or creative work, along with high quality and programmatically valuable teaching and service.

Annual award allocations may be used for books, computers, research assistants, travel, and other support of teaching and scholarly activities. Some recipients also receive an annual $5,000 temporary base adjustment to their salary as funds allow. Most, but not all, appointments are for five years and are renewable upon recommendation of the department chair and dean. While some Bascom Professorships are open to all faculty, many are designated for a particular school, college, division, or discipline by the donor. Funding to support the appointments is held at the UW Foundation.

Evjue Chair for the Wisconsin Idea

The Evjue Chair for the Wisconsin Idea was created with an endowment from the William T. Evjue Foundation to recognize outstanding contributions to outreach and service, and to honor the late William T. Evjue, founder, editor and publisher of The Capital Times.

The chair is designed to support the strategic initiative “Enhancing the Wisconsin Idea” and further the legacy of the century-old Wisconsin Idea, which holds that the boundaries of the university are boundaries of the state and beyond.

The holder must have contributed substantially to the outreach mission of the university and demonstrated ability to transfer knowledge and research through individual efforts or coordination of multidisciplinary activities, preferably through activities that address a societal problem or opportunity with an impact on specific audiences and/or citizens. The candidate must also be widely recognized, both nationally and internationally as a distinguished teacher and researcher.

The annual allocation for the chair appointment is $75,000. The appointment is for five years and may be renewed once. No other professorships can be held concurrently. Funding comes through the UW Foundation.

Nominations are managed by the provost and awarded through a competition process.

Helen Jupnik Endowed Research Fund Professorship

The Helen Jupnik Endowed Research Fund Professorship recognizes outstanding professors in the physical sciences.

Annual award allocations may be used for salary, research program support, educational program support, and other expenses and services that further the professor’s scholarly activities. Funding to support the appointments is awarded through the UW Foundation.

The professorship is granted at the discretion of the provost. No competition is required.

Hilldale Professorships

Hilldale Professorships are given to faculty members who excel in scholarly activity, who have records of outstanding research or creative work, and show promise of continued productivity.

New awardees will receive $15,000 per year for research support, which also may be used for teaching release during the academic year or for summer salary. In addition, each recipient will receive a temporary base adjustment of $7,500 that comes from the Hilldale Professorship account for the term of the professorship. The appointments are for five years with the possibility of renewal until the individual leaves the university or retires.

The professorships are awarded through a competition process when there are vacancies. They are managed and administered by the Office of the Provost. Funding is held at UW Trust Funds.

John D. MacArthur Professorship Chair

The John D. MacArthur Professorship Chair was established by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, in honor of John D. MacArthur. The professorship is considered one of the most prestigious research chairs on campus and recognizes highly distinguished research scholars.

The typical annual allocation is $50,000 per year for a duration of five years with the possibility of renewal. The income from the endowment is available for unrestricted research support. The portion of the income not needed for immediate research purposes is allowed to accrue, thus creating a “quasi-endowment” fund available to the recipient for the duration of his/her employment at the UW-Madison, or if he/she is appointed Emeritus status.

Funding is awarded through the UW System Trust Funds Office, and the professorship is granted at the discretion of the provost. No competition is required.

Rebecca Blank and Hanns Kuttner Professorships

The Rebecca Blank Professorship and the Hanns Kuttner Professorship, two separate awards, were created to honor the leadership and service of former Chancellor Rebecca Blank and her husband, Hanns Kuttner. They will be awarded to recently tenured UW-Madison faculty who have built an outstanding record of teaching, research, and service. Faculty eligible for these professorships must have received tenure within the last four years.

These professorships will provide $45,000 annually, with half of this amount to be spent on salary coverage and the balance available to the recipient in a flexible research account. Recipients on 9-month appointments may use the flexible research account to draw summer salary support, if so desired. These professorships will be awarded for a five-year period and are renewable only in unusual circumstances. Selected faculty members will receive the professorship funds starting July 1 of the fiscal year after selection. Any unspent flexible research funding at the conclusion of the 5-year professorship can be carried over and used within three years after the expiration of the professorship.

Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorships

Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorships recognize professors whose distinguished scholarship has advanced the confines of knowledge, and whose excellence also includes teaching or service.

These professorships provide $75,000 in flexible funding. Of this amount, $50,000 is provided by the Vilas Trust, and should be expended in the first three years of the award. The other $25,000 is provided by the school or college, and can be paid out at the rate of $5,000 each year for five years.

The professorships are funded by the generosity of the Trustees of the William F. Vilas Estate. They are managed by the provost and are appointed through a competition process.

Vilas Research Professorships

The Vilas Research Professorships were created “for the advancement of learning.” Candidates should be of proven research ability, and possess unusual qualifications and promise. The individual must have contributed significantly to the research mission of the university, and be widely recognized both nationally and internationally for the quality of research.

The professorships provide for a reduced teaching load, a $10,000 salary supplement, an annual account of $50,000 for research expenses, and a retirement supplement of $2,500 per year for an individual who has served at least 15 years as a Vilas Professor.

The professorships are funded by the generosity of the Trustees of the William F. Vilas Estate. They are managed by the provost and are appointed through a competition process.

Wisconsin Distinguished Professorships

The Wisconsin Distinguished Professorships Program was established in 1987 and provides incentive for top faculty to engage industry and other private sources in the UW-Madison research enterprise, which benefits the University and the State of Wisconsin.

The professorship is supported with $40,000 annually, which can be used for salary support and research. The UW-Madison support must be matched with external support for each of the five years.

These professorships are managed by the provost and are awarded through a competition process.

View the list of named professorship recipients 2023-2024.

UW-Madison schools, colleges, institutes and divisions also have named professorships/chairs that are designated for specific areas within their unit and are managed by their respective deans.

For questions about professorships, please contact