The university is implementing a series of measures that aims to strengthen and improve working and teaching environments, USC leaders announced in an Oct. 10 memo to Keck School of Medicine of USC faculty and staff.

The measures, which include creating a new office to provide leadership training as well as an investigative unit to address personnel issues, were announced in response to recent events at the Keck School, according to USC Provost Michael Quick, PhD, and Todd Dickey, JD, senior vice president for administration.

“While the issues at (the Keck School) have been painful, they have informed us,” Quick and Dickey wrote in the memo. “We have reflected on what it means to be a member of the Trojan Family, and more importantly, the crucial role that university leaders have in creating a strong and supportive culture on our campuses. We must build the respectful, honest community that is embodied in our code of ethics.”

The measures outlined included:

  1. Vice Provost for Leadership Development and Evaluation: The creation of an office, reporting to the Provost, that will provide leadership training to address expectations of deans and senior leaders, and to evaluate their performance.
  2. USC Ombuds Office: Varun Soni, Vice Provost for Campus Wellness and Crisis Intervention, will lead the creation of a confidential space with a physical presence on the Health Sciences Campus to report issues and assist in managing difficult situations with impartiality and independence.
  3. Investigative unit for non-protected classes: The creation of a separate unit to investigate reported incidents that do not fall within the scope of the offices of Equity and Diversity and Title IX. Results of these investigations involving faculty will be handled by the office of the Vice Provost; results of investigations involving staff will be handled by the Associate Senior Vice President for Human Resources.
  4. Strengthened Reporting: The establishment of clear processes to elevate concerns so they can be monitored as they arise.
  5. Specific Initiatives: Tom Jackiewicz, senior vice president and CEO of Keck Medicine of USC, will work with the interim dean of the Keck School and the deans of the USC School of Pharmacy and the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, on focused initiatives for the faculty, students and staff at the Health Sciences Campus.

The memo also included resources for faculty and staff to report personal and professional concerns, such as Trojans Care for Trojans and the Office of Compliance Help and Hotline service.

“We recognize that we ask much of our community: to be not only global leaders in research, teaching, creative expression, and clinical care, but also leaders in the way we act, treat and respect each other,” Quick and Dickey wrote. “Our actions must be a visible manifestation of our highest ideals and shared values. With all of these steps, and more, we know we will become an even more exceptional community.”