Chapter 3 – Faculty: Academic Practices and Policies

Chapter 3 contents

3-A Faculty Composition

3-B Faculty Rights and Responsibilities

  • 3-B (1) Academic and Professional Freedom
  • 3-B (2) Academic and Professional Responsibilities
  • 3-B (3) Additional Responsibilities
  • 3-B (4) Contractual Conditions
  • 3-B (5) Periods of Service

3-C Responsibilities to Students

3-D Compensation

  • 3-D (1) Pay Schedule and Payroll Information
  • 3-D (2) Compensation: Components and Changes

3-E Leaves of Absence

  • 3-E (1) General
  • 3-E (2) Sabbatical Leave
  • 3-E (3) Medical Leaves
  • 3-E (4) Military Leave
  • 3-E (5) Parental Leave (PAID)
  • 3-E (6) Jury Duty
  • 3-E (7) Vacation
  • 3-E (8) Personal Leave of Absence (UNPAID)
  • 3-E (9) Indefinite Leave
  • 3-E (10) Part-time Leave

3-F Benefits

3-G Personal Conflicts of Interest

3-H Political Participation

3-I Outside Activities of Faculty Members

  • 3-I (1) Conflict of Interest
  • 3-I (2) Absences and Similar Conflicts of Commitments
  • 3-I (3) Outside Consulting
  • 3-I (4) Outside Educational Work
  • 3-I (5) Endorsements

3-J Candidacy for Degrees


The University Bylaws define the faculty of the University of Southern California as follows:

9.2(a) Composition.  The University Faculty shall consist of the President of the University; the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; Academic Deans and Directors; and members of the teaching and research staffs holding titles including the following terms: Professors, Associate Professors, Assistant Professors, Instructors, Lecturers (but not Assistant Lecturers) and Librarians.

The faculty consists of those properly appointed members of the teaching and research staffs holding these faculty titles, whether or not tenured or tenure-eligible, whether full- or part-time. However, academic staff as listed in section 4-B(2)(h) are not designated as faculty.


3‑B (1)       Academic and Professional Freedom

The University adheres to national standards and procedures concerning academic and professional freedom, academic tenure, and full academic due process.  Chapter 4, Faculty Appointments, Promotions and Tenure; Chapter 7, Faculty Grievances; and Chapter 8, Faculty Dismissals, provide the details as to how this adherence is made specific.

3-B (1)(a)    Academic Freedom

The University of Southern California exists for the common good, and not to further the interest of solely the individual faculty member or the institution as a whole.  The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition.

Academic freedom protects all faculty.  Academic freedom is essential to these purposes and applies to both teaching and research.  Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Academic freedom in its teaching aspect is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the teacher in teaching and of the student to freedom in learning.  It carries with it duties correlative with rights.

Faculty members are entitled to full freedom in research and the publication of the result, subject to adequate performance of their other academic duties, but research and consultation for pecuniary return shall be in accord with University policy.  Basic principles on the right of the faculty to freedom from undue restrictions by sponsors and donors are set out in Section 5-B (1), and similar principles apply to educational activities.

Faculty members are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject; to the corollary responsibility to state the truth as they see it; and to the exercise of critical self‑discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge.  Faculty members are citizens, members of learned professions, and officers of an educational institution.  When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations.  As educational officers they should remember that the public may judge their profession and the University by their utterances.  Hence, they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the University.

Because it provides freedom and economic security, tenure is indispensable to the success of an institution in fulfilling its obligations to its students and to society. (See Section 4-E for additional information about tenure.)

3-B (1)(b)    Professional Freedom

Professional freedom is inherent within the concept of academic freedom and denotes the right of a faculty member to select those approaches to the development and exercise of professional competence and those allocations of time and place for alternative functions and commitments as appear best fitted for this purpose.

Professional responsibility is a corollary of professional freedom.  The faculty member owes responsibility to the standards of his or her discipline, professional and faculty colleagues, students, educational institution, and the community at large.

3‑B (2)       Academic and Professional Responsibilities

Although various groups contribute in different ways to the University’s well-being, it is the faculty who preeminently create and enhance the scholarly excellence of the University.  Their importance to the intellectual life of the University and the community at large confers on them, individually and collectively, certain responsibilities to the institution, to their students, and to their respective disciplines, in line with the University Code of Ethics, Section B of the Appendix.  Consequently, faculty academic status and matters related thereto are primarily a faculty responsibility.  This includes appointments, reappointments, decisions not to reappoint, promotion, the granting of tenure, and dismissal.

The faculty’s role on curriculum is set out in the University Bylaws as follows:

9.3 Courses of Instruction.  The courses of instruction in the several schools and colleges shall be prescribed by their several faculties, on the recommendation of the appropriate faculty committee and subject to the approval of the President of the University.

3-B (2)(a)    Activity Profile

Faculty discharge these responsibilities through teaching, research, and service. The average activity profile of a full‑time tenure‑track or tenured faculty member is approximately 35‑45% each of teaching and research and 5‑15% of service. (Some schools prefer to express the average profile as 3/9 – 4/9 each of teaching and research and 1/9 of service.)  Although actual percentages may vary depending on the needs of the faculty member’s academic unit, it is expected that each tenured and tenure‑track faculty member will make a significant contribution in each of the three areas of responsibility, except that a research-only profile for a tenured or tenure-track faculty member may be established, only on a temporary basis and only with the Provost’s approval. Teaching-track, research-track, clinical-track, practitioner-track, and librarian faculty will have a different activity profile depending on the needs and expectations of the academic unit in which they serve.  The specific nature of a faculty member’s teaching, research, and/or clinical service to the University may be adapted in accordance with the demands of the specific academic unit, or the terms of a particular faculty member’s established profile, or both.  The activity profile should be established through consultation between each faculty member and the dean or chair of the academic unit.  Faculty members may pursue other professional activities, in accordance with University conflict of interest policies, as long as these endeavors do not detract from the faculty member’s responsibilities to the University.

3-B (2)(b)    Teaching

Teaching includes classroom and other instruction of undergraduate, graduate, and professional and post‑graduate students, academic advising, preparation, librarianship, and the direction of research.  Faculty are expected to meet their classes, be accessible to their students through regularly scheduled and sufficient office hours, and provide grading of student work in a timely fashion.  Each class is to be provided with a syllabus outlining goals, the course schedule, readings, requirements for research papers, a timetable for examinations, the method and criteria for grading, and the means by which students can contact the faculty member outside the classroom.  Students in all classes, labs, and discussion sections should be given the opportunity to provide evaluation and suggestions through anonymous course assessment forms.  Faculty are expected to teach courses that have been assigned to them by the department chair, including mid-semester changes if needed.  Assignments will be made after consultation with department faculty, on the basis of departmental or school needs.  It is very important that students receive the instruction to which they are entitled and, except very rarely, from the instructor of record.  In case of faculty absence, it is incumbent on the faculty member to provide appropriate class coverage, subject to the review of the chair or dean, as requested.  Absences of two consecutive weeks or more require the faculty member and the chair or dean to provide a written plan for the discharge of individual faculty responsibilities, with notice to the Provost.

3-B (2)(c)    Mentoring

Mentoring is an important component of faculty responsibilities.  Depending on the discipline, the research effort involves the supervision and mentoring of undergraduate students, graduate students, other faculty, and those occupying post‑doctoral or other research positions.  Such mentoring is also part of a faculty member’s teaching effort.  Mentoring of junior faculty is a significant service responsibility of senior faculty members.

3-B (2)(d)    Clinical Responsibilities

Faculty in a clinical department are expected to perform clinical responsibilities that have been assigned by the department chair, after consultation with the affected individual.  If requested, there will be consultation within 30 days with a standing or ad hoc department faculty committee, appointed by the dean and including an observer from faculty council.  Such clinical assignments shall be made on the basis of departmental needs.

3-B (2)(e)    Research and Artistic Work

Faculty are expected to engage in high quality, continuing research of a type appropriate for the field, discipline, or interdisciplinary area.  Typically, the product of the research effort is publication or its counterpart in the visual and performing arts (performances, exhibitions, and the like).  Similarly, depending on the field or discipline, research can require considerable effort in the writing of proposals or related endeavors to acquire outside funding as may be needed to conduct a faculty member’s research.  Participation in conferences, professional societies, and peer review panels are common activities.  Ultimately, the results of research and artistic work are expected to contribute to the faculty member’s national or international reputation.

3-B (2)(f)     Librarianship

Faculty who are full-time librarians have a primary responsibility of excellent librarianship.  This includes serving the library and information needs of faculty and students, and supporting the mission of the University and the goals of the libraries.  Professional growth and development is an additional responsibility.  The individual’s activity profile may also include teaching, research, and service as defined by the needs of the appropriate library or assigned by the Dean.

3-B (2)(g)    Service

Service includes effort on committees and other activities at the departmental level through the University level.  Depending on the field or discipline, this effort may include work outside the University.

3-B (2)(h)    In General

Teaching, clinical, and service assignments shall not be made for discriminatory, arbitrary, capricious, or retaliatory reasons.  Claims that assignments violate this or any other provision of the Faculty Handbook, other University policies, or provisions of law are subject to review through the grievance procedure. However, contested teaching, clinical and service assignments shall be performed pending any review.

3‑B (3)       Additional Responsibilities

Full‑time service of faculty includes:

Performance of teaching duties, clinical duties, or librarianship in accord with established requirements of the particular school or department in which the faculty member is employed;

Professional development and enhancement of the public good and of the strength of the University through research, scholarly publication or other creative activity, and activity in professional groups and societies;

Counseling of students, assisting in registration and Commencement, maintaining regular office hours, serving on University Committees, and performing such other University service as may be needed during the academic year or fiscal year period of service.

3‑B (4)       Contractual Conditions

Contracts or letters shall be issued to all faculty, by the appropriate University officer, specifying academic rank and title, salary, any change in tenure status, starting and ending dates for all appointments, and any change in the Tenure Decision Date (where appropriate).  Any other conditions or limitations of employment also shall be given or incorporated by reference.  The President shall issue annual contracts or letters to all full‑time faculty, as well as those faculty with part-time duties accorded full-time-equivalent status for University policies including benefits eligibility.  The Provost or deans shall issue contracts or letters to all other faculty giving the title, salary, and terms of the appointment.  No individual is considered to have faculty status unless the President, Provost, or dean has signed a written contract or letter for that employee specifying a faculty title and other applicable conditions of the Handbook are met; however, academic staff – as listed in section 4-B (2)(h) are not designated as faculty.

Whenever possible, contracts or letters shall be issued and delivered to all continuing faculty by the date of University Commencement.

3‑B (5)       Periods of Service

Except for academic recess and University holidays, unless agreed otherwise by individual contract, the period of service for academic year faculty is from August 16 through May 15 of the following calendar year and the period of service for fiscal year faculty is from July 1 through June 30 of the following calendar year.

If the Provost grants special permission a newly-appointed academic year faculty member may begin the appointment before August 16 (on or after May 16 of the previous summer), and if the Provost grants special permission an academic year faculty member who is not returning for the following year may retain appointment beyond May 15 (up to August 15), with compensation arrangements as agreed in each case.


The faculty of the University of Southern California expect themselves and one another to maintain high standards in the conduct of their courses.  For a general statement of faculty responsibilities in teaching as well as research and service see Section 3-B, Faculty Rights and Responsibilities.

For specific information relating to most student concerns, the primary documents of authority are the University Catalogue ( and SCampus (  The program requirements listed in the Catalogue supersede any information contained in any bulletin of any school or department. Specific information about matters not covered in the catalogue can be found in the Schedule of Classes (; the Grading and Correction of Grades Handbook (; and the Student Directory (on-line only at  For reference purposes, the following table delineates the appropriate university document for various common faculty-student administration issues.

Specific issue Source(s)
Information about conduct of courses, grading, student records, students with disabilities, ethics of graduate study, and academic integrity University Catalogue; Schedule of Classes; Grading and Correction of Grades Handbook; Student Conduct Code (; sections of SCampus; Code of Ethics (
Information about registration, withdrawal, drop and add procedures, dates and locations, and rescheduling of classes University Catalogue; Schedule of Classes
Information regarding the administration of mid-term exams, final exams, accommodations for students with disabilities, and submission of grade reports University Catalogue; Schedule of Classes; Grading and Correction of Grades Handbook;
Information on identifying and responding to academic dishonesty Student Conduct Code and University Governance sections of SCampus (
Email and contact identification for enrolled students Student Directory (On-line only)

The following administrators and their staffs may also be consulted regarding matters not covered in the foregoing publications: Vice Provost for Student Affairs, Vice President of Admissions and Planning, Dean of Academic Records and Registrar, and the advisement and administrative offices in the various academic units of the University.


3‑D (1)       Pay Schedule and Payroll Information

It is the policy of the University to make payroll schedules and information readily available to faculty members, and update them regularly.  Current payroll information is posted at the Employee Information web site, http://ais‑  The web site provides up-to-date information on required paperwork pertaining to payroll information for appointments, elections, deductions and terminations.

3‑D (2)       Compensation: Components and Changes

3-D (2) (a) Compensation Components

 Total University salary (a) includes core salary based on a nine-month academic year or a twelve-month fiscal year period of service (or other period based on individual contract) and (b) can also include supplementary salary or stipends, which are set for a fixed period (one year at a time, unless a different period is specifically stated by contract.)

  • Supplementary Salary for Summer Teaching. Members of the full‑time faculty are given first option to teach courses offered by their departments during the Summer Session. Full‑time faculty on academic year appointments may receive up to 3/9 of their core pay from non‑grant funds during the summer months, subject to the approval of their dean.
  • Supplementary Salary for Summer Research and Other Sponsored Activities. The United States government and some private agencies do not permit extra compensation or overload payment during the academic year on grants or contracts. No overload payment is permitted for research by faculty with fiscal year period of service.  For faculty with academic year period of service, grants and contracts may provide for additional earning during the summer at the same monthly rate as during the academic year.  Payment for more than 11 months service for academic year faculty is permitted only when approved by the awarding agency, and the arrangement should be included in the proposal to the government or private agency concerned.
  • Extra Compensation: Subject to the approval of the Provost, full-time faculty members on academic year- or fiscal year- appointment may receive supplementary salary, administrative stipends, and other non-core salary.
  • Institutional Base Salary: Institutional base salary includes core salary, supplementary salary, administrative stipends and other non-core salary, as established annually by the Provost.

3-D (2)(b) Compensation Changes

Merit-based increases in core salary of continuing active faculty are considered annually as part of the salary setting process.  University policies and guidelines deal with the merit evaluation of faculty, including the participation of a faculty committee.  No cuts in the contractual University core salary of continuing active full-time tenured faculty members or continuing active full-time untenured faculty members during the term of an existing annual appointment or a contract shall be made except by the Provost and then only (a) for bona fide financial reasons short of financial exigency, pro rata applying an equal percentage to all continuing active full-time tenured and untenured faculty in the school or (b) for adequate cause (not for financial exigency) with the protections provided in Chapter 6 or Section 8-B or (c) in accord with contractual terms or express agreement with the faculty member.  These cuts are not to exceed 10%, for violation of the policy on Providing a Safe Educational and Work Environment, Chapter 6, or not to exceed 10% for adequate cause (as defined in the first sentence of Section 8-C), not necessarily serious enough to warrant dismissal, after recommendation by a faculty committee.  In each case the cut will be subject to annual review.  This paragraph does not override provisions on reduction in salary elsewhere in the Handbook.


3‑E (1)       General

The following section summarizes leaves of absence for which faculty members may qualify.  Detailed policies are available on the University Policies website,  Failure to return to work after one year on leave or absent from duty may be a basis for termination of employment by the President or Provost without formal proceedings, unless the Provost approves an extension.  Most types of leave are granted for one semester, or one year as a maximum.

Faculty anticipating a leave without pay should consult the Benefits Office for information about the effect of the leave on their fringe benefits.

Tenure-track faculty who have been granted leave may under certain circumstances request an extension of the Tenure Decision Date, and special provisions are set out in the policy on Academic and Family Life Balance, Chapter 9.  Requests for extension of the Tenure Decision Date shall be in writing and shall be directed to the Committee on Deadlines and Leaves for its review and recommendation in writing to the Provost on behalf of the President, either prior to the leave or within six months after returning to regular activities.  The Committee will not review extensions to which the faculty member is entitled under Chapter 9, and extensions based on a medical leave.

The ADA/504 Coordinator serves as a resource for information about government and University rules on leaves and benefits and their coordination.

3‑E (2)       Sabbatical Leave

Sabbatical leave may be granted to faculty members after either six years or six semesters of accrued full‑time service at the University.  Deans and directors should take into consideration the following factors when making recommendations to the Provost:

A definite and well‑defined research or study program must be submitted for approval.  A candidate should indicate what the prospects of completion of the project will be.

  1. Sabbatical leave will be allowed (a) one semester on full salary for each six years of service, (b) one academic year on half salary for each six years of service, or (c) one semester at half salary for each six semesters of service.
  2. If the faculty member requests based on an exceptional situation, the Provost may approve on a merit basis a more frequent sabbatical leave or more than half salary.
  3. A faculty member on sabbatical leave should not engage in other activities for remuneration that would intrude on his or her sabbatical research.
  4. The absence of a faculty member should not jeopardize the academic program of his or her department.
  5. It is expected that the faculty member will return to the University for at least one year after sabbatical.
  6. A final report shall be provided to the dean or director upon the faculty member’s return.
  7. Normally, sabbatical leave is taken immediately following the period of service to which the leave relates.  The sabbatical leave privilege may not be accumulated; e.g., after 12 years, a sabbatical of two academic years may not be taken.

Also, the sabbatical should be taken over consecutive academic periods (e.g., fall and spring semesters of a given academic year, or spring semester and fall semester of consecutive years, but not fall of one academic year and fall or spring of the following academic year).  Benefits shall continue during the paid sabbatical.

A department may recommend to the dean exceptions to these policies, however, to facilitate the research or study of the faculty member.  The department may also recommend an exception to the dean to meet teaching or other needs of the department, the school, or the University.  Such exceptions require approval in writing by the Provost.

This section deals with eligibility of tenured faculty.  Eligibility of other faculty is discussed in Section 4-C (2)(b).

3‑E (3)       Medical Leaves

This subsection summarizes the types of medical leave.   An individual on unpaid medical leave may qualify for payment of disability benefits, or for University insurance benefits, or both; for information see the University Benefits website

3-E (3)(a)    Academic and Family Life Balance

See Chapter 9.

3-E (3)(b)    Medical Leave (UNPAID)

Faculty members who are unable to work due to an illness, injury, or disability (including pregnancy-related disability) may be eligible for an unpaid medical leave.  Such individuals may qualify for disability benefits while on medical leave. The Provost may place eligible faculty members on medical leave for the period that they are unable to work.  The Provost may place on leave without pay faculty members who are absent for more than two consecutive weeks, whether or not they qualify for disability benefits.  Medical leave runs concurrently with all other leave for which a faculty member qualifies.  Medical leaves for longer than one year are not regularly available, although the Provost may extend the leave and the University will do so to the extent the law requires.

As an alternative, upon request, the University will consider any reasonable accommodations necessary to enable a faculty member with a qualifying disability (as defined under state and federal law) to perform the essential functions of his or her position. The University also considers any reasonable accommodations necessary to enable a faculty member with a qualifying disability to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by similarly-situated faculty who are without disabilities.

3-E (3)(c)    Statutory Family Care and Medical Leave (UNPAID)

Unpaid statutory Family Care and Medical Leave is governed by the provisions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), and the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Act.  Eligible faculty members may take unpaid statutory Family Care Leave for the birth or adoption of a faculty member’s child; the placement of a foster child with the faculty member; or the serious health condition (as defined under state and federal law) of a faculty member’s child, spouse, registered domestic partner (as provided by CFRA), registered domestic partner’s child, or parent.  Eligible faculty members may take unpaid statutory Medical Leave for a faculty member’s own serious health condition (as defined under state and federal law) including disability on account of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

A faculty member generally may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid statutory Family Care and Medical Leave in a 12-month period, as detailed in the policies posted on the University Policies website  A faculty member who takes leave for a pregnancy-related disability, followed by leave for birth-bonding, may take longer leave as detailed in University policy.  Family Care and Medical Leave runs concurrently with all other leave for which a faculty member qualifies, except when, by law, the protected leaves do not run concurrently.  The faculty member may also qualify for paid parental leave as explained in Chapter 9, or disability benefits.

3-E (3)(d)    Absences due to Illness

A tenure-track faculty member who has been granted medical leave may request an extension of the Tenure Decision Date.  Such extensions shall be requested in writing and shall be directed to the Committee on Deadlines and Leaves for its review and recommendation in writing to the Provost on behalf of the President, either prior to the leave or within six months after returning to regular activities.

A faculty member who is absent because of illness for a brief period should make arrangements through his or her department chair to see that his or her teaching and other responsibilities are met.

The University grants sick leave in accordance with law. Detailed policies are available on the University Policies website,  Absences for more than seven consecutive days that are due to accident, illness or other temporary medical disability (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions) may qualify the faculty member for disability benefits.  Additional information is available from the Benefits Administration Office.

Insurance benefits ordinarily provided by the University and for which the faculty member is otherwise eligible, will be continued during the period the faculty member is medically certified as unable to work due to a medical disability or serious health condition.  The cost of coverage normally borne by the faculty member will remain the responsibility of the faculty member.  Once a doctor has certified the faculty member medically able to return to work, the faculty member is responsible for paying the full cost of benefit premiums until he or she returns to active service.

3‑E (4)       Military Leave

The University grants military leave in accordance with law.  Detailed policies are available on the University Policies website,

3‑E (5)       Parental Leave (PAID)

See Chapter 9, Academic and Family Life Balance.

3‑E (6)       Jury Duty

Leave for jury service is available to faculty as for other University employees as specified on the University Policies website  Additional paid leave may be provided at the discretion of the Dean.

3‑E (7)       Vacation

Faculty members on fiscal year appointments are entitled to 20 working days annual vacation, at a time agreed upon with the department of appointment so that it does not conflict with faculty responsibilities.  The maximum amount of vacation a faculty member on fiscal year appointment can accrue at any time is 35 working days.  Faculty members who accrue the maximum amount of vacation are not eligible to earn any additional vacation until that accrued vacation is reduced to below the maximum level.

3‑E (8)       Personal Leave of Absence (UNPAID)

Unpaid Personal Leave of Absence (also known as Special Leave) may be granted at the discretion of the Provost for faculty members who are not eligible for another type of leave (Sick, Family and Medical, Medical, or Parental Leave).  Personal Leave may be granted for one or two semesters and generally may not exceed one year.

3‑E (9)       Indefinite Leave

Faculty, including tenured faculty, may be placed on what is called “indefinite leave” without duties or pay only as provided by Section 4-E. 

3‑E (10)     Part-time Leave

The Provost may grant a short-term partial leave of absence, one or two semesters at proportionate pay for part-time service, to any full-time faculty member.  Faculty anticipating a leave without pay should consult the Benefits Office for information about the effect of the leave on their fringe benefits.

Part-time service to accommodate family responsibilities or as a transition to retirement is provided for in Chapters 9 and 10.  Tenured and tenure-track faculty are otherwise on full-time appointments, see Section 4-B (1), unless extraordinary permission is granted by the Provost.


The University of Southern California provides extensive benefit programs to benefits-eligible faculty.  In addition to benefits required by law, those programs currently include health insurance, dental insurance, retirement benefits, child care, tuition assistance for the faculty member and his or her eligible spouse and dependent children, tuition exchange for eligible faculty children, life insurance and various other benefits.

The particular provisions of each of the above benefit programs are determined by the USC Senior Vice President, Administration after consultation with faculty through the Benefits Committee and the Senate Committee on the Faculty Environment.  Current provisions are available at the benefits website,


Having a family or other intimate relationship to a current member of the faculty or staff shall not be a bar to equal opportunity in employment or education for anyone.

At the same time, any faculty member in such a relationship should take all reasonable steps to avoid a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest in his or her USC work that could arise from the relationship.  In particular, a faculty member shall not participate in any decision (such as decisions concerning initial appointment, retention, promotion, salary, or leave of absence of a member of the faculty or staff, or decisions concerning the admission, grading or academic advancement of a student) that involves either a direct benefit or detriment to a person with whom he or she has an intimate or family relationship.  Faculty members shall not supervise or evaluate the work of a USC employee or student with whom they have such a relationship.  A principal investigator shall not permit a person with whom he or she has an intimate or family relationship to be paid from the funds of a grant or contract supervised by the principal investigator.

In an unusual situation that would otherwise call for a faculty member to supervise or evaluate the work of someone with whom he or she has such a relationship, special arrangements are required to avoid the possibility of favoritism, such as having an unrelated third party supervise or evaluate the work.  The Provost’s written permission is also required. (See also Sections

6-I, Consensual Relationships, and 6-D, Procedures for Complaints, of Chapter 6.)

To protect privacy, faculty members who recuse themselves from such decisions or supervisory responsibilities are not required to state reasons.

If a faculty member is in doubt concerning the possibility of a conflict of interest, it is recommended that the faculty member consult the department chair or dean.  A department chair or dean who has similar doubts should initiate discussion with the faculty member; and any other faculty member with such concerns should raise them with the chair or dean, who should take appropriate steps.  Advice in these situations should be sought from the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and the President of the Faculty.  Confidentiality shall be protected to the fullest extent possible.


As citizens, the faculty members of the University have the same rights and responsibilities of free speech, thought, and action as all American citizens.  Their position, however, imposes special obligations, such as emphasizing that they are not institutional representatives, and exercising appropriate restraint.

For the protection of both faculty members and the University, faculty members campaigning as political candidates for state or federal offices will do so on their own time.  For the period of such candidacy, it is required that they obtain personal leave of absence under Section 3-E (8) or continue work at the University on a part‑time basis under Section 3-E (10).  Such leave of absence is not a sabbatical leave and, if full‑time, is also without pay.

Leave of absence is not required of faculty members who become candidates for or are elected to offices of a temporary or part‑time nature, such as a membership on a municipal charter revision commission, delegate to the State Constitutional Convention, a member of a local school board, or a holder of municipal office.

This policy is intended to safeguard the freedom of speech, thought, and action of faculty, and to avoid impairment of the significant contributions they are capable of making toward improved local, state, and federal government.


The University of Southern California encourages faculty involvement in outside consulting, research, and professional activities, as well as community service.  However, since the primary responsibility of a full‑time faculty member is to the University, limits on outside activities must be set.  Outside research, consultation, educational work and relationships with industry shall be in accord with the relevant University policies as well as the general policies on conflict of interest and conflict of commitment.  Within the limits specified, such activities provide an opportunity for the professional development of the faculty member and the enhancement of the University’s impact beyond the classroom and laboratory.  However, the facilities and services of the University may not be used in connection with compensated outside effort except to a purely incidental extent, or for appropriate University‑determined compensation and in accord with University regulations.

3‑I (1)        Conflict of Interest

(a) Each full‑time faculty member owes primary professional responsibility to the University and shall be alert to the possibility that outside obligations, employment, and financial and professional interests, including those of their close family members or those of anyone with whom they have intimate relationships, can affect their objectivity, decision-making, as well as other responsibilities to the University.

To assist faculty members in understanding possible conflicts of interest or other problems that may develop, and to alert the individual, the department chair, and the University to potential conflict of interest, policies are posted on the University Policies website,

(b) All outside employment, as well as other outside activities or personal relationships described in the University policy (, must be disclosed through the “diSClose” online system (

If in doubt concerning the possibility of conflict arising from a consulting or other remunerative activity, the faculty member should report it. This responsibility to report continues through the summer and while on leave.

The Office of Compliance serves as a resource for information about government and University policies and regulations regarding conflict of interest.  (See also policies posted on the University Policies website,  This office bears responsibility to collect this information and disseminate it to the deans of the schools and colleges of the University and to other administrative personnel.  Thus, faculty members who report to them and who are working on government‑sponsored activities are kept abreast of policies and regulations touching upon conflict of interest.

3‑I (2)        Absences and Similar Conflicts of Commitment

(a) Faculty members have a binding obligation to discharge instructional and other regular duties, and performance of these duties may be impaired by any other activity requiring a large portion of time.  It is important that students receive the instruction the curriculum envisages and almost always from the instructor of record.

(b) Faculty members who belong to professional associations and societies or who serve on scholarly or advisory bodies in their field of expertise will necessarily be absent from campus on occasion, but such absences are subject to the review of the department chair, division head, or dean on how the individual’s instructional and other responsibilities will be met.  There may be other good reasons, acceptable to the chair or dean that justify brief absences from the faculty member’s usual obligations.

(c) For brief absences, faculty members shall make appropriate arrangements subject to the review of the chair or dean as requested and according to University and school policies, so that absences interfere only minimally with their normal teaching and other responsibilities.  (See also policies posted on the University Policies website,  For lengthy or frequent periods of absence, however, a faculty member must seek an approved leave (statutory Family Care and Medical Leave, medical, parental, or personal leave of absence) and may qualify for disability benefits.  Neglect of duty, in accordance with Section 8-C, may occur if there is excessively lengthy or frequent absence due to illness or other reason, if taken without obtaining an approved leave.

(d) The Provost may place on leave without pay faculty members who are absent for more than two consecutive weeks without an approved leave, vacation, or permission from the dean or the dean’s designee.

(e) All outside employment, as well as other activities described in the University policy ( which pose potential conflicts of commitment, must be disclosed through the “diSClose” online system (

3‑I (3)        Outside Consulting, Research, and Clinical Practice

Many faculty have the opportunity to receive recognition and remuneration through consultation beyond their University employment.  The nature of the consulting work should be evaluated in terms of its worth as a scholarly experience and should in no way detract from the prestige of the University or the professional stature of the faculty member.  (This is not intended to interfere with general personal or nonprofessional activities of the faculty member.)

The University obligations of faculty members are complex and the degree to which obligations are met cannot easily be ascertained by time records or publications lists.  As a result, the University has established limits on the amount of time that normally can be devoted to outside consulting work.

A full‑time faculty member may not consult more than one day per week on average during the contract period of service.

In rare instances circumstances may warrant an exception to this policy.  Requests should be made prior to the period during which consulting will take place.  Approval must be secured from the Provost.

In addition to external consultation, a faculty member may engage in clinical practice for a University-approved faculty practice plan corporation, within the terms of the appropriate school or departmental practice plan and as approved by the dean.  Full-term status for purposes of benefits, governance, and applicability of University policies may be extended to such faculty even though the extent of their practice with the practice plan corporation means that the professional services provided directly to the University are less than full-time.

It should always be borne in mind that consulting is a conditional privilege granted by the University.  As such, the University is the final judge of the appropriateness of the outside activity and whether it unduly compromises the faculty member’s primary responsibilities implicit in his or her contract for full‑time employment with the University.

(a) All outside employment, as well as other activities described in the University policy (, must be disclosed through the “diSClose” online system (

(b) Compensated external research is subject to (1) the same time limitations as external consultation; (2) the policy of Conflict of Interest in Research (; (3) the policy on Conflict of Interest in Professional and Business Practices (; and (4) the duty to disclose through the “diSClose” online system (

(c) Healthcare providers must also comply with the policy on Relationships with Industry (

3‑I (4)        Outside Educational Work

Faculty members occasionally have the opportunity to receive recognition and remuneration through activity as an educator with outside institutions while holding a USC faculty appointment.  Any faculty member, full- or part-time, may be an educator at another institution or enterprise upon the written prior approval of the Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs.  All outside employment, as well as other activities described in the University policy ( which includes educational work, must be disclosed through the “diSClose” online system (

3-I (4)(a) Process

Faculty should submit a request for advance approval, for work at another college or university, or instruction or course creation for other outside enterprises.  If the individual making the request has a department chair, the request should be submitted through the chair; it then goes to the dean; and the request and evaluation of the request by the chair and dean then go to the Vice Provost for decision.  Faculty may seek advice in these situations from the Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs and the President of the Faculty.  Department Chairs and Deans can make recommendations, but the decision for approval lies with the Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs.  Faculty may appeal the Vice Provost’s decision to the Provost.

3-I (4) (b) Criteria

The standard to be applied is whether the outside work may be inconsistent with a faculty member’s responsibilities to USC, create a conflict or appearance of conflict with any USC program, dilute USC’s academic stature, detract from the prestige of the University or the professional stature of the faculty member or unduly impinge on the faculty member’s primary responsibilities with the university.

Examples of situations typically approved are: (1) responding to a request from a peer institution, after identifying the special or emergency needs that occasion their request, and (2) outside teaching where the added value of the corresponding USC offering is clear, and the work does not impinge on the faculty member’s responsibilities with the University. Some examples typically disapproved are: (1) outside teaching that largely duplicate a course in the USC curriculum, whether or not currently taught or taught by the individual making the request, (2) outside work that dilutes USC’s academic stature, and (3) outside work that interferes with the individual’s USC responsibilities.

Activities such as lectures at professional societies, occasional guest lectures, or community activities, that are pro bono or awarded an honorarium, generally do not require approval under this section.

Schools shall keep the Vice Provost informed in a timely fashion concerning any concurrent activity as an educator to be done by a faculty member of their unit at other institutions

3-I (4)(c) Dual Tenure

Faculty may not hold tenure simultaneously at two institutions except with approval of the President.

3I (5)       Endorsements 

Any action of a faculty member that might seem to commit the University to an endorsement (e.g., of a business, private practice, product or service, or political position) should be avoided unless expressly authorized in advance by the Provost.  A faculty member may state his or her academic position for identification in the media, or as part of a biographical note.


Faculty members shall not be candidates for degrees in the same department or program in which they have an appointment.  In addition, assistant professors on the tenure track should not simultaneously be candidates for degrees anywhere. Individual exceptions may be made only with the approval of the Provost or of a special committee appointed by the President.