Honorary Awards - Governing Policy | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Honorary Awards - Governing Policy

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Approval authority
Responsible Executive member
Vice-Chancellor and President
Designated officer
Vice-Chancellor and President
First approved
19 August 2008
Last amended
20 June 2023
Review date
2 March 2025
Related documents
Linked documents

1. Purpose of policy

1.1 This Policy makes provision for the conferral of honorary awards, which affords a special opportunity for the University to recognise persons of outstanding achievement.

2. Policy scope and application

2.1 This policy applies to all nominees and recipients of honorary awards.

3. Definitions

Refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures.

4. Policy Statement

4.1 The University may confer honorary awards to recognise distinguished service to the community, to the University, or for outstanding achievement in a particular field. The conferral of awards is undertaken by the University Council based on recommendations from the Honorary Awards Committee. Honorary awards are prestigious and are intended to recognise excellence.

5. Principles

5.1 Award categories
The University confers honorary awards in five categories:
Honorary Doctorate

An Honorary Doctorate may be awarded to a person in recognition of excellence and extraordinary achievement in a significant area of human endeavour. The degree awarded may be either Honorary Doctor of the University (DUniv) or an honorary doctorate in a specific field.

The Chancellor’s Stole

The award of the Chancellor’s stole recognises an extraordinary voluntary contribution to the University.

Primarily the Chancellor Stole will be awarded to an Honorary Senior Fellow as additional recognition for continued outstanding contribution specifically to the University above and beyond that for which they have been already been recognised. The stole may also be awarded to recognise extraordinary philanthropic contributions to the University.

Honorary Senior Fellow

An award of Honorary Senior Fellow may be made:

(a) to a person in recognition of a significant and sustained contribution to the development of the University or of the region; or

(b) on the recommendation of the Chancellor, to external members of the Council or its Committees who have demonstrated sustained and distinguished service to the University on the Council or a Council Committee for a minimum of three years that is above and beyond the normal expectations of membership.

Emeritus Professor

An award of the title Emeritus Professor may be made to recognise a Professor of the University who has rendered sustained and distinguished service to the University. An award of Emeritus Professor may only be made where the recipient of the award has retired or resigned from their substantive position at the University, upon which the nomination for the award is based.

Distinguished Companion of the University

An award of the title Distinguished Companion of the University may be made to recognise the sustained and distinguished service to the University of a professional staff member who has:

(a) made an outstanding commitment to the life of the University by being instrumental in the leadership, development and/or support of a program, project or initiative that has substantially enhanced the reputation, organisation or operation of the University, and typically (but not necessarily) over a significant period of time; and/or

(b) displayed an outstanding application of exceptional skills, judgement or dedication in the service of the University at a sustained level above and beyond what is expected of a University staff member, normally over a considerable period of time.

For service to be considered as distinguished, the service must be well beyond the normal expectations of the person’s former role.

An award of the title Distinguished Companion of the University may only be made where the recipient of the award has retired or resigned from their substantive position at the University, upon which the nomination for the award is based.

5.2 Approval and conferral of honorary awards

5.2.1 All honorary awards will be made on the approval of the Council.

5.2.2 Honorary Doctorates, Honorary Senior Fellowships and Chancellor’s Stoles will normally be conferred at Graduation Ceremonies. These awards may be made in absentia if the Vice-Chancellor and President determines that it is necessary or more practicable to do so.

5.2.3 The titles of Emeritus Professor and Distinguished Companion of the University may be conferred at a Graduation Ceremony or at any other time, at the discretion of the Vice-Chancellor and President.

5.3. Honorary Awards Committee

5.3.1 The Honorary Awards Committee will seek and consider nominations for honorary awards, and recommend to Council the conferral of honorary awards.

5.3.2 The Council will determine the membership of the Honorary Awards Committee. The Committee will comprise:

(a) the Chancellor, or their nominee (Chairperson);

(b) the Vice-Chancellor and President;

(c) a member of Executive, nominated by the Vice-Chancellor and President and appointed by Council; and

(d) up to three members of Council.

5.3.3 The period of office of appointed members will be their term of office on Council.

5.3.4 In making its recommendations, the Committee should attempt to reflect the cultural diversity of the region and the international character and diversity of the University itself. It should also attempt to honour those whose outstanding contributions to their fields or to society have not yet been widely recognised. The Committee will also consider gender equity and diversity when making its recommendations.

5.3.5 As the only university headquartered in this region, the University has a special responsibility to acknowledge and honour persons of outstanding achievement who have significant ties to the region or the University, including those who have rendered distinguished service to the University as a Professor or professional staff member.

5.3.6 The Committee will also take into account the academic specialisations of the University in considering nominations.

5.3.7 The nominations made to and deliberations of the Committee must be treated as strictly confidential.

5.4. Nominees

5.4.1 Honorary awards may not be made to current members of staff or current members of Council and its Committees, except in exceptional circumstances. Retired or former staff members must meet the same high standards for nomination as all other honorary award candidates. Nominations of former members of staff, Council or its committees may be made directly by the Vice-Chancellor and President. These may be submitted in the form of a memorandum and statements of support, or other supporting material, will not be required. However, the memorandum must clearly convey how the candidate has met the criteria for that award.

5.5. Privileges

5.5.1 Holders of honorary awards shall be entitled to the following privileges:

(a) participation in the University’s academic procession;

(b) participation in University special events;

(c) receipt, at no charge, of University publications;

(d) limited use of the University Library; and

(e) such other privileges as may be determined by the Vice-Chancellor and President from time to time.

5.6. Rescission of Honorary Awards

5.6.1 An honorary award may be rescinded by Council, on the recommendation of the Honorary Awards Committee, where Council is of the opinion that the recipient has acted in such a manner as to bring the University's name into disrepute.

6. Authorities / Responsibilities

The following authorities are delegated under this policy and associated procedures:


University Officer / Committee

Approve and confer Honorary Awards


Rescind Honorary Awards


Maintain electronic register of honorary awards

Council Secretary