University of Southern California

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: Tatiana Akishina, Slavic Languages and Literature; Eyal Ben-Issac, Clinical Pediatrics; Edward Finegan, Linguistics and Law; Brenda Goodman, Cinematic Arts; Thomas Goodnight, Communication; Jack Halberstam, American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies and Comparative Literature; Dinah Lenney, Master of Professional Writing Program; Oliver Mayer, Dramatic Arts; Erin Moore, Anthropology; Krishna Nayak, Electrical Engineering; Mark Redekopp, Electrical Engineering; Steven Ross, History; Rachel Walker, Linguistics; Michael Wincor, Pharmacy; Theresa Woehrle, Family Medicine

Distinguished Faculty Fellows: Sarah Banet-Weiser, Communication; Nelson Eugene (Gene) Bickers, Physics; Sharon M. Carnicke, Theatre; Steven Chen, Pharmacy; Frank Corsetti, Earth Sciences; Gerald C. Davison, Psychology; William Deverell, History; Donna Elliott, Pediatrics-Keck; Steven Finkel, Molecular Biology; Judy Garner, Cell and Neurobiology; Howard Gillman, Political Science; Wayne Glass, International Relations; 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; Win May, Medical Education; Doe Mayer, Cinematic Arts; William O. McClure, Biological Sciences; Charles McKenna, Chemistry; Tara McPherson, Cinematic Arts; Najm Meshkati, Civil and Environmental EngineeringBeth Meyerowitz, Psychology; Geoffrey Middlebrook, Writing Program; Danielle Mihram, French and Italian; Sally Pratt, Slavic Languages and Literatures; Michael W. Quick, Biological Sciences; Nandini Rajagopalan, Management and Organization; Alison Dundes Renteln, Political Science; Margaret Rosenthal, French and Italian; Sam Safadi, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering; Steven B. Sample, Honorary Distinguished Faculty Fellow; Joel E. Schechter, Cell and Neurobiology; Geoffrey Spedding, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering; Craig B. Stanford, Anthropology; Peter Starr, French and Comparative Literature; Karen Sternheimer, Sociology; Katherine Sullivan, Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy; 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. 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 $3,500 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.

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) 304
3601 Watt Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1695

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

Associate Director: Dan Carino

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is the central postdoctoral scholar resource on campus. It serves as a liaison between the Office of the Provost, postdoctoral scholars, faculty and staff to disseminate university initiatives and policies. The office works closely with academic units to help recruit and train a diverse cadre of the best junior scholars to the university, preparing postdoctoral scholars for careers as independent researchers, academics and leaders of their chosen fields.

The office manages the following Provost’s signature programs for postdoctoral scholars: Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholars in the Humanities, Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholars Program for Clinical Residents and Fellows, the Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholars Program for Faculty Diversity in Informatics and Digital Knowledge, and the Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar Research Grants.

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs facilitates the full integration of postdoctoral scholars at USC, encouraging all postdocs to take advantage of the many opportunities to engage and connect with other members of the Trojan Family.

More details can be found on the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs Website at