About

Our Mission

USC’s 2017 strategic plan maps out a dynamic course through the 21st Century “that reaffirms the importance of teaching and mentoring in the context of a research university.”  It calls for an inclusive spirit where educational experiences are enhanced through examination of diverse perspectives. It advocates the adoption of a convergent spirit where disciplines work together to teach students to solve complex problems incorporating multiple points of view, preparing them to tackle the global challenges of our time — many of which play out in our own global megacity of Los Angeles. It demands pedagogical practices that include web-based pathways to knowledge, and that teach students to leverage technology to maximize their impact. It envisions a research university where teaching and learning are as transformative as research.

The USC Center for Excellence in Teaching (CET) will meet these challenges by promoting a culture of teaching excellence by:

1. Ensuring that USC’s core values and strategic priorities are reflected in the university’s teaching mission

CET will serve as a resource for the university community by enacting USC’s strategic priorities in the teaching mission.  CET will:

  • Consult on university policies and practices to elevate the status of teaching at USC such that pedagogical practice becomes a required component for the pursuit of academic excellence
  • Provide guidance on university-level distinguished teaching honors, administer innovation grants, and seed transformational teaching programs
  • Develop evidence-based teaching development training, host conferences on teaching excellence, and share innovative approaches to teaching
  • Support faculty in cultivating more inclusive curricula and classroom environments, where diverse perspectives are both respected and challenged
  • Provide guidance on interdisciplinary approaches to education that leads to convergence of knowledge and training
  • Help faculty incorporate civic engagement into curricula, leveraging Los Angeles as a rich training ground for applying course content to real world challenges
  • Provide training on educational technology and use of all media for impact

2. Serving as a resource for developing, evaluating, and rewarding teaching excellence

CET will serve as a resource for schools as they establish their own policies and practices to develop, evaluate, and reward teaching excellence.  CET will:

  • Provide assistance in the development of school-based strategic plans around teaching
  • Consult on the development of school-based teaching infrastructure and resources
  • Train Faculty Fellows who will facilitate teaching development cohorts within their own schools.

3. Providing best practices in instruction and course design

CET will serve as a resource for faculty and future faculty by promoting best practices for teaching and learning at USC.  CET will:

  • Promulgate the foundational principles of teaching and learning and best pedagogical practices through training
  • Provide confidential consultation and training opportunities
  • Help develop and support junior faculty and future faculty as they establish their pedagogical practice