University of Southern California USC

About USC Mellon Mentoring Program

The University of Southern California is committed to mentoring. In recent years, the USC Mellon Academic Mentoring Support Program successfully established itself as a champion in the development of mentoring programs for junior faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates. USC is a national leader in mentoring, sharing our practices with peer institutions through participation in conferences, and publications via the web, print and new media.

In 2007-2008, USC embarked on a six year partnership with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to build on the successes already achieved with the goal of integrating mentoring throughout this large and complex research university. This effort is founded on three insights: First, mentoring will thrive only if it becomes part of the culture. Second, the faculty is the key constituency in securing long-term change in the university. Third, mentoring will thrive as faculty increasingly understand that it is the key tool for academic success.

The 2012 USC Faculty Handbook clearly identifies the importance of mentoring in the section of Academic and Professional Responsibilities: “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 postdoctoral 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.” Faculty Handbook, 2012;  Section 3, page 6 of 20.

Integral to fostering a university-wide culture of mentoring is the USC Mellon Mentoring Forum. Convened in partnership with the deans of every academic unit, the Mentoring Forum is composed of faculty members and school representatives. The Forum is charged with sharing best practices as well as oversight in the development of school-based mentoring programs and activities to nurture the development and empowerment of the faculty.  Through close collaboration with other university offices and cooperating groups, the Forum leads efforts to encourage, support, and recognize mentoring, enhancing USC as a role model for other universities and colleges in how to establish a culture of mentoring and institutionalize its practice.