Recommending Candidates for Honorary Degrees Policy
The conferring of honorary degrees provides the university with an opportunity to convey to the world our values and principles by recognizing the contributions and accomplishments of exceptional individuals. The honorary doctorates conferred at each Convocation also provide our graduating students with exemplary role models and meaningful messages that will carry them into their futures.
The Senate Honorary Degrees Committee encourages members of the Nipissing University community and the general public to submit nominations of exceptional and distinguished individuals for an honorary degree.
Nominations must be submitted in strict confidence and therefore should not be discussed with the nominee.
Nominations may be submitted any time throughout the year, and will be reviewed at the meetings of the Honorary Degree Committee, which normally occur twice per year.
Types of Degrees
The University may confer the following degrees upon persons whose qualifications and record are approved for that purpose:
- Doctor of Education (honoris causa) DEd
- Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) DLitt
- Other as per the recommendation of the Honorary Degrees Committee
Eligibility and Exclusions
Citizens and nationals of any country may be nominated. Serving employees of the university, sitting members of the Board of Governors, and sitting members of legislative bodies, such as Parliament, are not eligible for nomination. Also, current adjunct professors and research fellows at Nipissing University are normally excluded from consideration. Nipissing University also does not award honorary degrees posthumously, or in absentia. The approved candidate is expected to attend a Convocation and address graduating students.
Criteria for Selection
The Honorary Degrees Committee will review each nominee in terms of whether they personify the core values of the relevant Faculty and/or the university and exemplify the personal and professional characteristics to which we wish our students to aspire. An honorary degree recipient is someone who:
Honorary degrees are awarded on the basis of the following criteria:
- national stature
- relevance/contribution to Nipissing University
- academic background
- contributions to society (regionally, provincially, nationally, internationally)
- sustained contribution to scholarship
*** If an individual excels in any ONE of the five criteria listed, this will be considered sufficient to nominate the person for an honorary degree
Nominators should begin by completing all sections of the Honorary Degree Nomination Form. Incomplete nomination forms will not be forwarded to the committee. Note that additional information and documentation to support the nomination may be attached to and included with the nomination form.
Each nomination should be accompanied by two letters of support from individuals who are familiar with the candidate’s achievements and knowledgeable in the candidate’s area of expertise. The letters should state the relationship of the writer to the candidate, and should complement, rather than reproduce, the information provided on the nomination form, by providing a broader context to the candidate’s accomplishments and their impact. The individuals supplying these letters must be informed of the need to maintain strict confidentiality; they should not contact the candidate to inform him/her of the nomination. The Committee may contact the nominator if further information is required.
The Honorary Degrees Committee will consider all nominations in strictest confidence. Candidates recommended by the Committee will then be presented to a closed session of Senate for approval. In order to protect the confidentiality of the process, nominators will not be informed of the decision of Senate, and will only be contacted if and when the granting of the honorary degree has been scheduled. If a nominee is approved by Senate, the university’s President will choose when to contact the candidate with an offer to receive the honorary degree. The President also decides, in consultation with the candidate, at which Convocation ceremony the degree will be awarded, and when the honorary degree will be publicized.
Approved nominees are held on an active list for a period of five years to allow time for the candidate to attend a convocation ceremony to receive the degree.
Shortlisting of the Candidates
- The Honorary Degrees Committee shall meet in the Fall Semester of each year for the purpose of updating and reviewing its existing file of potential candidates. After considering a nomination or re-nomination, the committee may reject it, in which case the file is destroyed, agree to forward the nomination for approval by Senate and the Board, or place the nomination on a Standing List for consideration at a later date.
- Names placed on the Standing List shall remain there for a period of three years, after which time, if the nominee has not been selected or re-nominated, the name shall be deleted.
- The Honorary Degrees Committee submits to the Senate, from among the potential candidates, a short list of candidates, upon whom it recommends that the Senate confer an honorary degree and the category of the degree to be conferred.
- That the Senate has the right to call special Convocations and to confer honorary degrees at such Convocations.
- That the Senate will consider only those nominations that have been proposed by its Honorary Degrees Committee.
Procedure for Recommending Candidates for Honorary Degrees
- Recommendations shall be made at a regular or special meeting of Senate.
- The report of the Honorary Degrees Committee shall be given “in camera”.
- The report shall be distributed at the beginning of the “in camera” session.
- Results of the “in camera” session are confidential. Minutes of the session are not included in the circulated minutes. These minutes are kept in the Honorary Degrees Committee files.
Notification of Candidates
The candidate or candidates to be honored shall be contacted by the President, as Chair of Senate, [Chair of the Honorary Degrees Committee] as soon as possible following the approval of the Senate and the Board of Governors.
Revocation of Honorary Degrees
In rare and exceptional circumstances, where the behaviour of an individual has caused significant concern, the Honorary Degrees Committee has the right to review and recommend to Senate the rescinding of an Honorary Degree.
Please send nominations and direct all inquiries to:
Office of the President
100 College Drive
PO Box 5002
North Bay, ON P1B 8L7