Graduate and Professional Education

Special Study Options

Center for Excellence in Teaching

Grace Ford Salvatori, Suite 211
(213) 740-9040
FAX: (213) 821-2474

Director: Edward Finegan, Ph.D.

Program Manager: Dana Coyle

Faculty Fellows: Eyal Ben-Issac, Clinical Pediatrics; Edward Finegan, Linguistics and Law; Steven Finkel, Molecular Biology; Wayne Glass, International Relations; Brenda Goodman, Cinematic Arts; Win May, Medical Education; Tara McPherson, Cinematic Arts; Najm Meshkati, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Geoffrey Middlebrook, The Writing Program; Sally Pratt, Slavic Languages and Literatures; Steven Ross, History; Sam Safadi, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering; Karen Sternheimer, Sociology; Katherine Sullivan, Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy; Theresa Woehrle, Family Medicine

Distinguished Faculty Fellows: J. Lawford Anderson, Earth Sciences; Sarah Banet-Weiser, Communication; Warren Bennis, Management and Organization; Nelson Eugene (Gene) Bickers, Physics; Sharon M. Carnicke, Theatre; Steven Chen, Pharmacy; Delores Conway, Information and Operations Management; Frank Corsetti, Earth Sciences; Gerald C. Davison, Psychology; William Deverell, History; Donna Elliott, Pediatrics-Keck; Judy Garner, Cell and Neurobiology; Howard Gillman, Political Science; Stephan Haas, Physics and Astronomy; Heather James, English; Mark E. Kann, Political Science; James Kincaid, English; Paul W. Knoll, History; Steven L. Lamy, International Relations; Nancy Lutkehaus, Anthropology; Debbie MacInnis, Business; Frank Manis, Psychology; Doe Mayer, Cinematic Arts; William O. McClure, Biological Sciences; William F. McComas, Education; Charles McKenna, Chemistry; Beth Meyerowitz, Psychology; Danielle Mihram, French and Italian; Michael W. Quick, Biological Sciences; Nandini Rajagopalan, Management and Organization; Alison Dundes Renteln, Political Science; Margaret Rosenthal, French and Italian; Steven B. Sample, Honorary Distinguished Faculty Fellow; Joel E. Schechter, Cell and Neurobiology; Terry Lee Seip, History; Geoffrey Spedding, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering; Craig B. Stanford, Anthropology; Peter Starr, French and Comparative Literature; Nelly Stromquist, Education; Armand R. Tanguay, Jr., Engineering; S. Mark Young, Accounting; John Walsh, Gerontology; Bruce E. Zuckerman, Religion

Committed to the development and advancement of learner-centered education, CET’s mission is to provide shared vision, support and leadership across the University of Southern California. Dedicated to the advancement of teaching in a learner-centered environment, the center encourages discovery and promulgation of the most effective pedagogies among faculty and students. Its mentoring and other structured programs foster development among junior and senior faculty and doctoral students aspiring to academic careers. Unique among centers with similar purposes at major U.S. colleges and universities, CET’s programs are conceived and implemented by faculty fellows, teaching assistant fellows and undergraduate fellows, who together comprise an interdisciplinary community of practice across the curriculum inside and outside the classroom.

CET strives to encourage the full integration of the university’s research mission into teaching, both in and outside of the classroom. Excellence in research requires commitment to the development of superior communication and instructional skills in all fields, as well as in the training of our students for their future in academia. The scholarly activities of the faculty may lead directly to opportunities to foster university-wide discourse on the commitment to excellence in teaching.

The objectives of CET’s Fellows are to:

  • Form, as a group, an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of common pedagogical approaches and disciplinary differences
  • Share teaching strategies, successes and challenges
  • Serve as mentors available to faculty and students
  • Serve as advocates for a university-wide discourse on the commitment to excellence in teaching
  • Foster recognition of the importance of teaching as an indispensable dimension of undergraduate and graduate education

Faculty fellows serve students directly via mentoring and indirectly as evangelists for teaching excellence throughout the university, by sharing ideas in workshops and offering advisement on effective teaching methods to junior faculty. In addition, the fellows collectively seek to provide an intellectual resource on instructional theory and policy evaluation for university administrators tasked with responding to challenges posed by the changing national educational environment.

The Teaching Assistant Fellows (TAF) program for outstanding USC teaching assistants (TAs) primarily produces teaching assistant (TA) training materials and offers programs to enhance TA instruction across the university and beyond. The TAFs work collaboratively combining their personal teaching expertise with research on best practices to create cutting-edge materials. The TAF-created wiki exemplifies the work of the TAFs. The USC TA wiki provides information by TAs for TAs. The TAF-created wiki can be found at

Secondarily, the TAF program provides professional development for the TAFs through monthly workshops. TAFs receive advanced training in the modern theory and practice of pedagogy as well as mentoring from CET Fellows and other USC experts.

The CET Undergraduate Fellows program is designed to support CET’s mission by establishing a group of undergraduates committed to improving USC’s undergraduate educational experience. The CET Undergraduate Fellows program provides students with a way to provide input and support for the betterment of the undergraduate academic experience. Undergraduate fellows also receive mentoring from faculty fellows.

CET trains new teaching assistants at the beginning of each semester and assists in the creation and operation of teaching assistant training programs within each school. The center is also asked to develop better ways to evaluate teaching effectiveness and student learning. In its capacity as principal advocate for and promoter of an excellent teaching and learning environment on campus, CET provides recognition and awards for excellent teachers and mentors nominated and selected by faculty and students.

Each year CET solicits nominations for and selects the winners of several university-wide awards and grants for teaching excellence: The Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching is the highest honor the university faculty can bestow on its members for outstanding teaching. It recognizes career achievements in teaching with emphasis on concrete accomplishments and proven results; it is not intended as a “teacher of the year” award. A maximum of two awards of $7,500 each are presented each year at the Academic Honors Convocation in April to emphasize the university’s recognition of the significant role that teaching plays in its mission.

The University Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards of $1,000 are presented each year at the Academic Honors Convocation to three graduate teaching assistants who have exhibited consistent excellence in the classroom and symbolizes the university’s dedication to the education of scholar-teachers.

The Fund for Innovative Undergraduate Teaching is a program designed to foster new ideas in university instruction. Funding from the Vice Provost’s Office of Undergraduate Programs is awarded to innovative projects. Such projects are ones that are not part of the faculty member’s usual teaching commitment (either in content or instructional mode), and, as such, make a significant addition to USC’s pedagogical effort.

CET also arranges consultations, symposia, institutes, conferences, demonstrations and other kinds of programmatic activities to support excellence in teaching and learning on behalf of the university.

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Grace Ford Salvatori Hall (GFS) 315
3601 Watt Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1695

Associate Provost and Director: Mark Todd, Ph.D.

Associate Director: Donna Garcia

The USC Office of Postdoctoral Affairs works closely with the academic units, the USC Career Center and USC postdoctoral scholars to disseminate university initiatives and policies, and to help make USC the university of choice for all postdoctoral scholars. It is the central resource on campus, serving as a liaison between the Office of the Provost, postdoctoral scholars, faculty and staff. The office manages the Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholars in the Humanities program and provides an annual programming budget to the USC Postdoctoral Association to assist with creating a connected and trained postdoctoral community through professionalization and social events. More details can be found on the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs Website at