University of Illinois System

University Guidelines - John D. MacArthur Endowed Chairs

A generous gift from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 1981 established an endowment to support the appointment of one or more John D. MacArthur Chairs.  In accordance with the fund agreement, the income from the endowment is to be used to "support the compensation of the member(s) of the faculty holding that chair." MacArthur Chairs are to be held by individuals who are "internationally recognized scholar(s)" and who "give promise of making a substantial impact on the department involved as well as the campus as a whole." The President of the University may "determine the field or discipline in which the Chair(s) will be established."

Selection Criteria: MacArthur Chairs are awarded by the President of the U of I System and will be used to support faculty retention or recruitment cases of the highest priority.  The chairs will be awarded at the two Research 1 universities in the system, with one chair designated at Urbana and one at Chicago.

Nominations: Whenever there is a vacancy or anticipated vacancy in a MacArthur Chair, the President's Office should be notified by the university where the chair is located.  The relevant chancellor will be invited to nominate a new candidate for the endowed position based on the highest priority retention or recruitment case at the university.

The MacArthur Chair Review Committee has the primary responsibility for reviewing and approving university nominees for the MacArthur Chairs.  This committee is appointed and chaired by the Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs and includes the President or designess, The Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Vice President for Economic Development & Innovation.  The committe will review the nomination materials and determine whether to approve the nomination.

Funding: The amount of funds allocated to each MacArthur Chair will depend upon the income generated by the endowment.  Initially, it is anticipated that $65,000 will be budgeted for each of the two chairs, which can be allocated to salary, research, or a combination as determined by the respective university.

Appointments: It is assumed that each MacArthur Chair should hold the rank of professor with indefinite tenure.  MacArthur Chair designations accompany tenured status; they do not carry tenure in and of themselves.  It is expected that appointees will hold the MacArthur Chair designation until the faculty member either retires or leave the university, assuming that the awardees continue their exceptional work.  The universities should conduct five-year reviews of the chair appointment in accord with this principle.  Any unused funding at the time of the chair's retirement or departure from the university will revert to the President's Office.