University at Albany

Collins Fellowship Nomination Procedures

Inaugurated in 1984, the Collins Fellowship award recognizes members of the University at Albany teaching faculty who have exhibited extraordinary devotion to this University and the people in it over a sustained period of time.  The award is unique to the University at Albany and intended to acknowledge the efforts of faculty who are exemplars of the highest levels of institutional commitment and service.  The honor bears the name of Evan Revere Collins, who as President from 1949 to 1969 provided outstanding leadership in Albany’s transition from a college to a university.

Collins Fellows are teaching faculty who have served the University over a sustained period of time and shown extraordinary devotion to the University.

  • A “sustained period of time” means that the nominee has spent a significant portion of his or her professional life in the active service of the University, preparing it for the future at all levels. Eligible nominees must have worked actively within the institution, not necessarily exclusively in a faculty position, for at least 10 years. Time away such as for sabbaticals or leaves are not counted toward the 10 years of service. Nominees may have taken on administrative positions, such as chair, associate dean, vice provost, etc.: such time in administrative service can count toward ‘sustained service’, but it cannot be the exclusive or major service an individual has rendered in order to be a candidate for Collins Fellowship.
  • Extraordinary devotion” includes service at the departmental, the college/school and the University level.  Collins Fellows have performed extraordinary service and shown exceptional commitment and dedication to the University by supporting it at all these levels and by concerning themselves with the well-being of the people who work in the institution.  While Fellows may have also made contributions outside the University, (such as to their discipline or to the broader academic or local community) they are specifically selected for their dedication to the University at Albany and their sustained acts of citizenship within it. Their contributions demonstrate breadth in the kind of service they have performed, and a prolonged loyalty and steadfast focus on the excellence of UAlbany, all without any thought to personal recognition or reward.

The Collins Fellowship is a University at Albany designation separate from the campus President’s Excellence Award for Academic Service, which recognizes an individual’s commitment to service, but falls into a different category: to be considered for the President’s Excellence Award for Academic Service, a faculty member must have performed excellent service in some combination of three areas; service to the institution (departmental, School/College-wide or University-wide); service to his or her discipline or professional organization; and service to the community.  The Collins Fellowship is the only award focused solely on service to the University at Albany and requires even more sustained efforts on this front than does the President’s Excellence in Academic Service Award.

The Collins Fellowship is a designation separate from the President’s Award for Excellence in Research and the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Collins Fellowship is conferred to those with a sustained and extraordinary record of leadership and service to the institution: while nominees’ research and teaching records are reviewed as part of consideration for Fellowship, greatest emphasis is placed on their record of leadership and service to the University.

The Collins Fellowship is also a designation separate from the rank of Distinguished Service Professor, which is a promotion in rank conferred only at the discretion of the SUNY Board of Trustees. For the statewide guidelines on promotions to Distinguished Service Professor, see; these guidelines are updated annually by SUNY System Administration.

Each Collins Fellow receives a salary increment and a distinctive medallion.  They meet with the University President on an annual or semi-annual basis to discuss important directions taken by the University and to share their thoughts on those directions with the President.  Recipients are also included in University-wide convocations and academic ceremonies.  Portraits of the Collins Fellows hang in the University Library and recipients are named on the University’s web-page (

Guidelines for Nominations and Recommendations for Collins Fellows

Any member of the University teaching faculty EXCEPT Collins Fellows may nominate a fellow faculty member by submitting, in the following order:

  • a letter of nomination describing the reasons for consideration of the nominee for inclusion into the Collins Fellowship.  Such letters should describe the nominee’s overall commitment to the University by a) explaining the extraordinary service and devotion to the University that has inspired the nominator to submit the nomination and b) describing the nominee’s continued research productivity and c) describing the nominee’s commitment to teaching. 
  • at least three but no more than five supporting letters (in addition to the nominator’s letter), describing the activities that show “extraordinary devotion to UAlbany”
    • of the minimum of three letters, only one letter should come from a departmental colleague and two others should come from the campus community
    • letters may come from faculty, administrators, staff or, on occasion, students
    • since the award is for University citizenship, letters from nominators or supporters outside the University will only be considered if they give evidence of University-related service
    • current Collins Fellows should neither nominate nor write supporting letters for a nominee.
  • the nominee’s CV (nominees are not to know of their nomination: nominations are to be kept confidential.)
For additional guidance about nominations, please contact William Hedberg at Please send full nominations electronically to William Hedberg at the above email address. If electronic submission poses a challenge or hardship, please send paper copies to: Provost’s Office, Attention: William Hedberg, 308 University Hall, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY, 12222