Message to USC Faculty
I hope you were able to spend some well-deserved time with family and friends over the break. I am excited to see what we will accomplish together this spring. We are here at USC because of our shared commitment to excellence in teaching, research, clinical care, and artistic and creative endeavors. Together, we continue to achieve transformational advances and contribute to the betterment of society.
While our work continues, we must be realistic about the situation around us. The Omicron variant is highly transmissible; however, we are encouraged that data suggest vaccinations and boosters are effective at preventing severe illnesses and that the current surge may be short-lived.
We will continue to take all protective measures necessary so we can return safely to our in-person learning on January 24 with a healthy and supported workforce. To help achieve this goal, please note that the university is requiring COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all students, faculty, and staff and we are requiring medical grade masks on campus , based on new state and county guidelines. We have further guidance for your classes on our Faculty FAQ. Please know that if you need support in your classrooms and labs, you should reach out to your department chairs and deans.
The timing of the variant surge creates an evolving set of circumstances as we start the semester. I ask for your continued flexibility and patience. The cumulative toll of the past few semesters has been difficult for all of us, but especially for our students, mostly young adults navigating academic studies, personal growth, and an uncertain world. They are feeling heightened stress and we know all of this will impact your classrooms. Your care and compassion, your guidance and understanding, and your instruction and your example will help.
We expect student absences due to illness or required isolation due to positive COVID cases. However, our goal is to return to an in-person community for the mental health and well-being of all of us. Being together on campus last semester provided overwhelming evidence that we thrive when we are here, together.
Colleagues, we know that you, too, are experiencing the stress of another challenging time. We appreciate that and we know that your strong work is what establishes us as a leading local, national, and global institution. While we address the health and safety of our community, we never lose focus of why we are faculty to begin with – our desire to transform society through the development and transfer of knowledge.
I look forward to learning about and celebrating more of your achievements throughout the semester. Your deans are constantly sharing with me wonderful news—not only of awards, grants, and publications, but of committee and community service, mentoring, and support.
I am delighted to have gotten to know so many of you, both personally and through your work. You are all united by one characteristic: the relentless pursuit of excellence.
Thank you for your work and welcome back.
Charles F. Zukoski
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
cc: Office of the President
President’s Senior Leadership Team
Provost’s Leadership Team