Essential Guides
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Albert "Skip" Rizzo, directs the
Virtual Environment Lab
Steven Lany
international relations expert
Marshall Cohen, University Professor Emeritus, Faculty Mediation Officer Paul Alkon, former
Faculty Rights and Responsibilities chair

Faculty Seeking Advice and Help


Faculty with problems have many sources of help. Department Chairs and Deans are usually the first people to turn to.

If they can't solve the problem, advice is available from:

Specialized help is also available from:


If neither your Dean nor the Faculty Mediation Officer can resolve your problem, you may file a grievance if your rights have been violated. The Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs is available for consultation. Grievances must be filed at the Academic Senate office within nine months of when you learn of the action violating your rights; forms are available at the Senate office. A hearing is held before a faculty panel of the Committee on Faculty Tenure and Privileges Appeals.

Investigations and dismissal proceedings

If complaints are made about faculty, faculty rights are protected and facts are investigated through separate processes depending on the subject (as briefly summarized below.) The Faculty Handbook describes the protections and procedures connected with a dean's recommendation to the Provost to consider dismissal charges. If the Provost files formal dismissal charges, a hearing is held before a faculty panel of the Committee on Faculty Tenure and Privileges Appeals, as described in the Handbook, and the committee makes a recommendation to the President of the University. Appeals of sexual harassment sanctions are also heard by a panel of that committee. (A faculty member may be suspended as part of the initiation of a dismissal action, if the Provost judges immediate harm is threatened.)

  • Charges of sexual discrimination or harassment are investigated by the Office of Equity and Diversity under the provisions of the Faculty Handbook. The Handbook explains how sanctions may be imposed, or a recommendation made that the Provost file formal dismissal charges.
  • Charges of threats or violence are investigated by a Threat Assessment Team under the policy on Violence in the Workplace. The teams's report may lead the dean to consider whether discipline is appropriate.
  • Charges of scientific misconduct are first looked into by an expert committee under the policy on Scientific Misconduct. The committee's report may lead the dean to consider whether discipline is appropriate.
  • Charges of other types of misconduct may lead the dean to consider, after an appropriate thorough inquiry, whether discipline is appropriate.
  • Performance issues are addressed whenever possible through individualized efforts at development, as discussed in the Faculty Evaluation policy. If the issues rise to the level of neglect of duty or incompetence, the dean may consider whether discipline is appropriate. In cases of job abandonment, salary may be suspended at once, under a process described in the Handbook.

USC Policies

Faculty Handbook
Conflicts of Interest and Ethics (PDF)
Conflicts of Interest in Research
Faculty Evaluation (PDF)
Scientific Misconduct (PDF)
Sexual Harassment
Acts of Violence in the Workplace (PDF)

USC Resources

Academic Senate
Academic Deans and Directors
Center for Excellence in Teaching
Center for Work and Family Life
Office of Compliance
Concerning Terminations of Tenured Faculty by Sol Golomb (Faculty Forum Newsletter)
Emergency Planning Office
Equity and Diversity Office
Faculty Handbook
Faculty Mediation Officer
How to Report Concerns about Accounting or Auditing (PDF)
Keeping Out of Legal Trouble: Tips for USC Faculty (PDF)
Mediation by Marshall Cohen (Faculty Forum Newsletter)
Professional Development Course Catalogue
Risk Management Services
Workers' Compensation Services
Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs
Vice Provost for Research Women in Science and Engineering