Faculty, staff, and students are being asked to take a survey of the values we hold. I encourage everyone to participate. This is the first step in a process of reestablishing shared values and a common purpose.
The USC community has suffered through some difficult years. Troubling events have challenged our community and have raised critical questions about what we value and how we act. At President Folt’s inauguration, Board of Trustees Chair Rick Caruso spoke about the need for USC to undertake a journey toward redemption. He said this journey requires reflection as an initial step to implementing concrete actions that establish we have learned from the past and are moving to new ways of conducting ourselves.
As we move forward, sustaining that which is positive about our institution requires fixes that do not destroy that which is good and durable as these lay the foundation for expanded positive impact. Nevertheless, fixes are needed and must be visibly made —to regain trust of our internal and external communities.
Ours is a world of enormous change. We need to recognize how social pressures impact the students we educate and alter the research questions we ask and how our economic circumstances affect the way we live. We must weigh these factors as we forge our future. Ultimately the question is not about the past but the roles each of us at USC wish to play in creating the future of our aspirations.
Key to this process is to reflect on changes we will implement in how we go about our work and our lives – how we define success and the steps we are willing to take to build and sustain excellence. As we reimagine the future and act on our aspirations, USC will change— we must change. Some of this change will be shaped by what we learn from introspection, some will depend on the current state of our society and some will depend on how we imagine the future. As an important step in this process we must clarify the ways in which we want to change. This is why the Values Poll is important.
USC is a vibrant institution of higher education. We do amazing things each and every day. We are extraordinary because of what we accomplish, and we will continue to accomplish great things and have global impact while acting in line with our core principles.
I encourage everyone to take the Values Poll and participate in subsequent Town Halls, discussion sessions, and workshops. Together, we will make a difference at USC, in LA, and around the globe.
–Charles F. Zukoski, October 29, 2019