Other articles in the October newsletter:
- Senate Retreat: Controversy and Challenges in the Higher Education Community
- Senate Retreat: Teaching 2030
- Advancing Sustainability at USC: An Update from the Senate Sustainability Committee
It is still early in the new academic year, but it is already proving to be a challenging one, from internal concerns about how our university works to the impact on the university and its community of a range of both actual and potential external events. As co-chair of the new Task Force on Workplace Standards and Employee Wellness, I am committed to helping USC address the internal concerns. At this fall’s Academic Senate planning retreat, the morning session on Controversy and Challenge in Higher Education focused on helping us understand better how to handle external events. The Senate leadership will continue to monitor both internal and external events, and will act as it sees it can make a difference. For those of you unfamiliar with the Academic Senate and its workings, I highly recommend checking out the post from last year’s Faculty President – Paula Cannon – entitled Academic Senate 101. But at this point I would like to shift to highlighting a number of the Senate’s other recent, current and prospective activities.
Last year the Senate created two new task forces – on Innovation and Interdisciplinary Communities (this one being joint with the Provost’s office) – both inspired by particular hopes for the future of USC. We also created a new standing committee, on Tenured and Tenure Track Faculty Affairs, to focus on the particular concerns of this critical body of faculty. You can find links to last year’s reports from the first and last of these bodies at the bottom of the pages linked to above. Despite a kickoff session on interdisciplinary communities at last fall’s Senate planning retreat, this task force did not actually get populated, an omission that has now been fixed.
I also want to highlight last year’s work by the Committee on Sustainability, whose report USC Sustainability Strategy 2030 thoughtfully articulated what we should strive for in the medium term with respect to sustainability. Inspired by this outcome, and in partnership with the Provost’s office, we have this year asked the Joint Committee on Teaching and Academic Programs to develop an analogous vision and strategy for Teaching at USC in 2030.
In addition to these activities, we are also looking forward to the important work that continues through our other committees and task forces, whether following up on recent progress in faculty affairs, or diversity, equity and inclusion; or reflecting other issues of interest concerning the faculty, the senate, or the university.
Your questions, comments and suggestions are always welcome. Feel free to either send them to the official senate email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to me personally (email@example.com). Or consider participating in one of our monthly Academic Senate meetings.
To discuss go to our Facebook post.
President of the Academic Senate
Professor of Computer Science, Viterbi School of Engineering
Director for Cognitive Architecture Research, Institute for Creative Technologies