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President’s Blog, April 2017

Dear Faculty,

In this newsletter we report back from the Joint Academic Senate/Provost Retreat that took place on 17-18 February. This annual event brings together representatives from the Senate and its committees, members of the Provost’s office, Deans, faculty, staff, and student officers from both UGS and GSG. It is one of the few times that such a broad cross-section of the university community comes together to brainstorm ideas. In many cases the topics we address are complex, and we explore in particular how the expertise of our faculty can be used to create USC-specific solutions. This year, we heard updates on initiatives in diversity and inclusivity, explored ideas for first-year programs that could better prepare our students to succeed and develop resiliency, and discussed campus safety and student mental health – a topic of even greater relevance since the tragic murder of Professor Bosco Tjan last year. I’d like to thank everyone who attended and gave up part of their weekend to contribute to these important discussions.

Information about the other activities of the Senate and its committees during the year can always be found on our website, in our meeting minutes and committee reports. I’d especially like to highlight the work this year by the Senate Sustainability Committee, which resulted in the development of a comprehensive “USC Sustainability Strategy 2030”. The committee will be holding a forum on Thursday April 27th at noon in TCC, to give the university community the opportunity to learn about the plan and provide feedback. I know that many of you care very much about environmental issues, and I hope that you will join this effort by the faculty to impact processes at USC and beyond.

Many faculty also continue to express concern to the Senate about the impact of current political events on the university and its members, and especially the impact of the recent Executive Orders on immigration. The Senate hosted an emergency meeting to discuss these events, which included hearing from the USC Gould Student, Faculty, and Staff Immigrant Legal Advice Project, and from faculty who are directly impacted by these orders. As a result, the Senate passed a resolution at its February meeting that stated our opposition to these Executive Orders. In addition, USC has recently joined with 30 other top universities in filing an amicus brief appealing the order with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Faculty are also independently showing their support for immigrants and DACA students, which included taking out a full page ad in the LA Times. For the most up to date information, I direct you to the list of actions and resources that are compiled on the Provost’s website.

I hope you continue to stay informed of our activities, through this newsletter and our website, by following us on social media, or by attending the open monthly Senate meetings.

To discuss go to our Facebook post.

Thank you,

Paula Cannon
President of the Academic Senate