It’s no understatement to say that we are living in changing times. The Academic Senate has heard from many of you that you are concerned that changes may be enacted that fundamentally challenge our beliefs as faculty, or are at odds with the mission of an academic research university. Our home in Los Angeles means that we also consider the impact of policies on our neighboring communities. In this regard, I would like to draw your attention to a statement that was passed unanimously by the Academic Senate at its December 14th meeting, which reaffirms the shared values of the USC faculty. We welcome your thoughts on it.
I would also like to update you on some of the other activities of the Senate during this academic year. A personal highlight for me has been our advocacy to make USC a smoke-free campus. Coming from the Keck School of Medicine, I was aware of the great expertise we have in the Dept. of Preventive Medicine on this subject, and was delighted that Professor Jonathan Samet attended the September meeting to educate the Senate about this issue. In October, after getting feedback from our individual faculty councils, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution to make USC smoke-free. This was sent to the Provost, where it joined resolutions from the staff, undergraduate and graduate student assemblies. In a wonderful reflection of how shared governance works at USC, the Provost’s Office quickly moved to set this new policy in place (https://policy.usc.edu/smoke-free/).
The Senate also worked closely this year with administrators to handle changes to USC’s childcare facilities and providers, the results of which are described in another blog post. We are also engaged in an ongoing dialogue with ITS about recent and proposed changes that impact cybersecurity and faculty email retention policies. The Senate discussed and endorsed a white paper from the Senate Committee on RTPC Faculty, which contains recommendations on how to reward and retain top RTPC faculty, as well as a report from the University Research Committee on International Collaborations and Export Controls. Our visitors have included members of USC’s counseling team, who educated us about Trojans Care – resources available to faculty to better prepare us to identify and help those in need – which are also described in a separate blog post. More detailed information about these and other items that the Senate is addressing can be found on our website (https://academicsenate.usc.edu) in meeting minutes and through links to endorsed resolutions, reports, and other documents.
I hope you will continue to stay informed of our actions through our newsletter, by visiting our website, through social media, or by attending the open monthly meeting. As always, you can also email any concerns or ideas to me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Academic Senate more generally at email@example.com.
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President of the Academic Senate