USC Unifying Values

Message to USC Faculty

From: Charles F. Zukoski, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

As we end the Fall semester, I want to thank you for everything you’ve done to meet the challenges of this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to reimagine our methods of teaching and research and will no doubt lead to enduring changes to our communities and our academic lives.

What hasn’t changed in all of this is our commitment to being a top research university. We remain an institution with high aspirations and a profound belief in academic excellence. Our goals and the strategies we employ to achieve them are at the core of how we will succeed.

Accomplishing our mission requires that we build a culture that reinforces the ethical framework within which we make decisions. Key to establishing that culture is embracing values that guide our actions.

Over the past year, great effort has been put into articulating our values. As faculty, you had a significant impact on shaping and imparting this vision. More than 3,000 of you responded to the USC Values Poll last October to state what values mattered to you. Nearly 1,000 faculty participated in culture Town Halls and Discussion Sessions. Academic Senate members provided thorough and thoughtful insights on recommended actions to improve our institutional systems and processes. Many of you continue to serve in leadership roles within the Culture Journey initiative in the Working Group on University Culture and Culture Network. I am grateful for those who have led this effort and taken it upon themselves to bring these values to life, paving the way for change at USC.

Created with this remarkable level of community participation, President Folt announced last week the results of this work that will shape how we continue moving toward our goals.

I am pleased to reiterate her message and affirm my commitment to upholding these values. As members of the USC community we will:

Act with integrity in the pursuit of excellence. Embrace diversity, equity and inclusion and promote well-being. Engage in open communication and be accountable for living our values.

As we seek to accomplish our academic goals, our values serve as the guideposts around which we rally, align and demonstrate who we are at our best. I rest secure in the knowledge that we have a foundation created by our university community upon which we can build.

We will continue to share with you further institutional developments and improvements that enhance our culture and we will engage your voices in the process. You may visit the values website at and email to receive in-depth updates on our culture change.

Thank you for your continued efforts to help us achieve and grow. I hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

cc: Office of the President
Academic Deans
President’s Senior Leadership Team
Provost’s Leadership Team
Academic Senate
Staff Assembly
GSG President
USG President