Distinguished University Professor

The Distinguished University Professor title is awarded permanently to no more than three exceptional faculty per year.

Two faculty members have been named Distinguished University Professor, the highest faculty honor at The Ohio State University. Following the recommendation of Executive Vice President and Provost Melissa L. Gilliam, the Board of Trustees formally conferred the title on Martha Chamallas and Umit Ozkan.

A picture portrait of Martha Chamallas.

Martha Chamallas

Professor , Moritz College of Law



Professor Chamallas is an internationally acclaimed scholar whose theoretical insights have restructured basic tenets of tort law. She was at the forefront, for example, in recognizing racial and gender biases in the way that courts calculate awards in tort cases. She has also contributed significantly to the development of feminist legal theory, having written a field-defining treatise on the subject, and is one of the nation’s leading voices on Title VII and employment discrimination.

A picture portrait of Umit Ozkan.

Umit Ozkan

Department Chair, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
College of Engineering


Professor Ozkan is internationally recognized and highly cited for her work in unravelling the complex processes that mediate chemical and electrochemical reactions, specifically her ground-breaking research in heterogeneous catalysis. The goal, ultimately, is to design catalysts with the desired molecular architecture for specific reactions. This finds application, for example, in catalytic water treatment to decontaminate groundwater and in the development of alternative electrocatalyst materials for cleaner, environmentally friendly fuel cells.

The title Distinguished University Professor is a permanent honorific that includes automatic membership in the President’s and Provost’s Advisory Committee. In addition, the Office of Academic Affairs designates a one-time cash award of $30,000 to be used for scholarly work. To date, 68 faculty members have now been awarded the Distinguished University Professor title.

This program has a rigorous selection process that begins each August. The Office of Academic Affairs sends a call for nominations to recommend faculty for this honor. Department chairs, school directors or faculty awards committees forward their nominations to their college deans. Deans develop a college review process, solicit support letters nationally and internationally and forward their final nomination decisions to our office.

Selection committees are chosen from among the members of the President and Provost’s Advisory Committee. The 2021 committee included:

  • Frederick Luis Aldama, Distinguished University Professor, Department of English
  • Ruth Colker (Co-Convener), Heck Faust Memorial Chair, College of Law
  • Yasuko Rikihisa, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Veterinary Biosciences
  • Steven Ringel (Co-Convener), Professor and Neal A. Smith Chair, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

Nominations                    Previous Winners