University Killam Professors

The designation “University Killam Professor” (UKP) is the highest honour that the University can confer on a member of faculty.  It recognizes exceptional members of faculty who are extraordinary teachers and researchers, who are leaders in their academic fields, and who have received national and international recognition.

Nominations are evaluated against criteria that demonstrate the characteristics of an exceptional professor worthy of this honour, and must demonstrate consistent excellence in teaching and research. University Killam Professors will hold the designation for as long as they remain tenured members of faculty at the University. 

University Killam Professors are expected to contribute to the overall intellectual life of the University and to serve as academic ambassadors to the University’s external community. Within one year after receiving the UKP designation, each University Killam Professor shall deliver a lecture to the University Community on a subject of their choosing, though preferably on a subject that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries. These lectures will be recorded, published, and made available to the University community and beyond.

Full information about the appointment, roles and responsibilities of UKPs can be found in  UBC Policy LR6: Killam Professors Policy. View a list of UBC's University Killam Professors.


Please note that the 2020/2021 UKP program is now completed.

The new appointees were announced in January 2021

No date is currently set for the next round of nominations.

Nomination Process

Nominations are put forward by six members of the University community.  This group must include at least one student, one staff member, one faculty member, and one alumnus/a indicating the extent of the nominee’s acknowledgement by the University community as a person of substantial and widely recognized scholarly distinction. The nomination shall be accompanied by a letter supporting the nomination, a curriculum vitae as well as three arm’s length, external referee letters in support of the nominee’s suitability for the designation. Nominations are submitted by the Dean of the Faculty in which the nominee holds their primary appointment.

Selection Criteria

Nominees must hold the rank of full professor. Nominations will be evaluated against criteria that demonstrate the characteristics of an exceptional professor worthy of this honour.  The criteria include:

  • Demonstration of consistent excellence in teaching and conducting research;
  • Recognition as an outstanding and innovative researcher whose accomplishments have made a major impact in his or her research field;
  • Demonstration of a superior record of attracting and supervising graduate students and/or postdoctoral fellows;
  • Demonstration of effective and innovative teaching methods;
  • Recognition as a strong, passionate and inspirational teacher who encourages students to pursue excellence;
  • Demonstration of continuing commitment to student success through advising and mentoring inside and outside the classroom and/or laboratory;
  • Achievement of distinction in the academic and wider community as an extraordinary teacher and/or researcher;
  • Achievement of national and international acclaim in the areas of teaching and/or research in the form of an award or recognition of high esteem; and
  • Demonstration of continuing receipt of a high degree of respect from students, fellow faculty members, and members of the University administration.
The Review Process

Members of an Advisory Committee will assess the University Killam Professor nominations. Using the selection criteria, the committee will assess the nominees and make recommendations to the President, who will, in turn, make a recommendation to the Board of Governors on which nominees should receive the distinction of University Killam Professor. 

The Advisory Committee consists of:

  • The Chancellor (Chair)
  • The Provost and Vice-President, Academic (UBC Vancouver)
  • The Provost and Vice-President, Academic (UBC Okanagan)
  • The Vice-President, Research & Innovation (will Chair in the absence of the Chancellor)
  • The Chair of the Senior Appointments Committee
  • Up to seven existing University Killam Professors
  • Up to three additional selected advisors
  • The Manager, Internal Research Competitions, Vice-President Research & Innovation Office (ex officio – Secretary)