About USC Faculty Union

Faculty at USC are joining together to improve the quality of higher education for our students, our professions, and our families. We all have different professional backgrounds, ranging from our fields of expertise, to our job titles.

Some of us are seeking secure positions with academic freedom so that we can dedicate ourselves fully to the students we teach. Others of us currently have or have had other successful careers, and enjoy the opportunity to contribute to our professional fields in the classroom. What we all have in common is the desire to make a lasting contribution to society by advancing our fields, and mentoring the next generation of talent. We are educators, artists, and professionals. We are the face of higher education.

Yet, we are in the midst of a crisis in higher education. With the constant rise in tuition, we – along with our students – have taken on more debt than any generation before us. All the while, a new model has evolved in higher education that relies on a large workforce of contingent faculty, who are marginalized in our academic communities, with no guarantees to academic freedom, teaching under substandard conditions and with inadequate compensation. We have become the majority of faculty in higher education.

This is why we are building a movement. It is time to reverse the trend. It is time to raise the standards in higher education. It is time to make our voices heard.


jessicakanoski2“I want to form a union at USC to gain employment stability, opportunity for growth, and a voice.”
Jessica Kanoski
Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences


rachelroske2“As contingent, non-tenured faculty, we make up the silent majority of professors teaching at USC.  It is time we realized our power in numbers to affect change on crucial issues such as job security, benefits and greater transparency in teaching assignment decisions. These issues are critical to our future at USC and in higher education in general, and it is only by working together that our voices will be heard.”

Rachel Roske
Roski School of Art and Design

“The past year at USC’s art school has shown in very stark terms the need for faculty to have a strong say in the direction and identity of their department. We need a seat at the table. Among other adjunct labor concerns, I support unionization because I have seen the damage done to an outstanding program when faculty are steamrolled and their expert opinions ignored.”
Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer
Roski School of Art and Design

NouraWedell2“I can’t stand down and let my students’ education be endangered, as it is now with the rise in adjunct faculty in the university. Fighting for dignity in education is good pedagogy.”
Noura Wedell
Roski School of Art and Design

annebray100“For 40 years I have taught part-time at nearly every school in Southern California, and the last 20 of those years I’ve spent at USC. I would appreciate a stronger sense of community among all members of the university. Having a union would mean more transparency about all the factors of employment, and would turn our isolation into community. I think the faculty can be a positive force amidst all the enormous financial pressures universities are facing today.”
Anne Bray
School of Cinematic Arts

“Teaching always goes far beyond the hours spent in the classroom, and as teachers we become the face of the university to the students. Helping develop classes and curriculum that bring real world experience into the academic setting is extremely important to the reputation of the university. By forming a union, we can ensure that USC compensates our efforts in a fair and equitable way.”
Andrew Garver
Thornton School of Music

“I am in full-support of forming a union. I don’t view my relationship with the administration as adversarial. However, I know many colleagues within our department and across campus do see themselves in that context. I also know that there are many legitimate issues that can only be tackled as a collective. On that alone, I offer my support to building a strong faculty union at USC.”
Edgar Landa
School of Dramatic Arts

“I am very honored to be an instructor and USC Trojan. I have an amazing experience working with world-class students. However, It is not right to do as much as I do with so much respect and care, and get paid less than 1% of what my students are paying for my classes. With a union we can collectively negotiate a fair contract worthy of the effort we put in as proud USC professors, faculty, and instructors.”
Luis Oliveira
Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences


“I stand with my faculty colleagues in the fight for equity, as well as fair and ethical labor practices. Collectively, we can transform the conditions of our employment, securing a just and improved future for ourselves, our students, our families and our communities.”
A.L. Steiner
Roski School of Art and Design

“When I was a graduate student in the School of Cinematic Arts, the faculty had a profound impact on my development as a filmmaker. Today, I’m proud to share my passion for filmmaking with my students, and I’m convinced that our success as a university is dependent on our ability to continue to cultivate a world class faculty.”

David O’Brien
School of Cinematic Arts

222“The dedicated educators who make this university run deserve much better than for our lives and careers, to which we have devoted so much of ourselves, to be subject to the whims of administrators. For these reasons, we are very much in need of a union here at USC, and I urge you to support us in our efforts to form one.”

Jamal Ali
Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences

JanetOwenDriggs“Faculty strength lies in collective bargaining, and students deserve faculty who have time to support them.”
Janet Owen Driggs
School of Dramatic Arts


“I support forming a union because faculty deserve to have security in our jobs. We are part of the USC community, and continue to teach here year after year, yet we don’t know if we’ll be asked to return. Our future is currently unclear at USC. By forming a union, we will be able to fight for longer term contracts and security for us and our families.”

Lina Kholaki
Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences


“Every semester, I teach my students and something inevitably comes up in their lives – a death in the family, an illness, some personal crisis. I take the time to direct them to resources and get the help they need. But it’s not in my contract. The more I feel unfairly compensated, the harder it is to justify allowing the University to take advantage of my good will and professionalism. Adjuncts need to be treated with the same respect that we give our students and our profession.”
Kimberly Tso
Price School of Public Policy

“The quality of the adjunct faculty at USC is absurdly high. Many adjunct faculty here could easily chair and run similar programs elsewhere, but choose to stay active as working professionals in their chosen field in Los Angeles. With access to so many incredibly talented teachers to choose from, the University provides low wages, limited to no health care, and no job security. In addition, nuisances such as, among other things, having to pay for parking, add up over time and increasingly make it feel as if we’re actually paying out of pocket to teach here. It is impossible to earn an appropriate living, even while teaching a full course load.  While this is not unique to USC, something feels off, and my colleagues and I are forming a union in order to refocus the University’s mission to supporting the faculty and the programs that our students deserve.”
Andrew Borba
School of Dramatic arts

Patrick Jackson“I love teaching sculpture at USC. But after 6 years, I’m still on semester-to-semester contracts, and I’m often not guaranteed classes until a few weeks before the semester begins. As an artist I’ve learned how to live on a shoe-string budget, but it’s still unnerving knowing that a class might be cancelled last minute, resulting in lost health benefits and income. I support forming a union at USC because I believe long-term faculty deserve more stability and job security.”

Patrick Jackson
Roski School of Art and Design

“My family is a Trojan Family. I love teaching at USC, and am fighting to make it better by building a faculty union here. Having been a member of a faculty union at another school, I know how valuable it is to have a way to bargain collectively with the university over issues that matter to us and our students. There is no substitute for a union when it comes to giving faculty a say in how we do our work and what it is worth.”

Kate Levin
Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences

“I’ve loved teaching art theory to students in Roski for the last 5 years, and was very saddened when I wasn’t offered any classes for next semester — I and two other part-time faculty are being replaced by a full-time hire. Even though I’ve always known adjunct teaching is never certain, my family and I weren’t expecting my classes to disappear after several years of service. I wish my colleagues much success in building their union so that they can create a USC where great faculty who are teaching great classes can live without fear that each semester might be their last.”

Molly Corey
Roski School of Art and Design

Sandra Ross

“I’m a second generation Trojan and I love USC. I’m fighting for better pay and greater transparency because the future of our school is at stake. By building a strong faculty organization, we’ll be able to advocate for our students and ourselves without having to put our careers on the line. If you think faculty are an important voice at our school, join me and the rest of your NTT colleagues and help us build our union.” 

Sandra Ross
Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences


“I’ve been teaching Ballroom Dance at USC for 22 years. Year-after-year you’re never sure whether the school will want you back. Over the past few years I’ve witnessed at least 5 of my colleagues get terminated. I want to form a union in order to achieve real job security and stability.”

Jesus Fuentes
Glorya Kaufman School of Dance

Kevin Profile in Hat“Unions for adjunct educators are a win-win, especially if the end goal is the best possible education the adjunct professor can deliver to the student.”

Kevin Arkadie
School of Cinematic Arts

“I have taught at USC for eight semesters and yet I feel every semester could be my last.  Due to the policy of only giving semester long contracts I feel my life is in three month cycles, with the stress of uncertainty a constant.  I support the union because I think we are the only ones that can bring the university to the table to discuss job security for adjuncts.”

David McDonald
Roski School of Art and Design

“I am passionate about teaching improv and have enjoyed teaching at USC for over ten years.  In that time, however, I have received only one small pay raise, and only after I asked for it.  In discussions with other adjuncts, I’ve discovered I’m not alone. We, the faculty, need to be the ones looking out for each other. Therefore, I support forming a union that helps us do just that.”

Julie Welch
School of Dramatic Arts

“I’ve stayed at USC for 16 years because, like all instructors I know, I love teaching the material and I care deeply about my students.  But now, with the school having stripped all departments of respective area heads, there is no one to speak for us and no one to ensure the health of our programs. It’s been gutting for each of us to watch the school’s erosion. Building a union, collaborating as a collective, is necessary in order for voices to be heard.”

Helen Kim
Roski School of Art and Design

“I tell my students on the first day of class: Bring honor to your work, because it’s our personal integrity that in the end represents us and sustains us. And what I want is for this university to bring honor to its work.”

David Balkan
School of Cinematic Arts

“Eric Trules here from SDA’s Full Time Faculty…12 years. But did you know I was 17 years an adjunct??! Believe me, I know the plight of an NTT faculty member. I’ve worked for and survived 3 different Deans, living with successive 6 month contracts as an adjunct, and then with a 1 year annual contract as a Full Time SDA Faculty member. Other than my reputation as an excellent teacher and my student evaluations, nothing has guaranteed my employment at USC. And please don’t buy into: “Nothing is guaranteed in life.” It’s not, but we can do better! Let’s spread the word one faculty member at a time. I’m for a faculty union and I will vote for one. Please consider joining me.”

Eric Trules
School of Dramatic Arts

“I have been teaching at USC for 13 years.  I have served my students with rigor and passion, and received inspiring evaluations. I have turned down many creative jobs throughout the years to keep my teaching schedule free, often teaching two hours a day four days a week. I am still hired semester to semester, have health insurance only four months a year, and had one salary raise since 2002.  I am the caretaker of two family members. I am incredibly strong and hopeful, but need to be valued and supported. My department tells me I am valued, and change has been promised to me for years. I will be 60 next year. Having collective bargaining power can transform our solo voices into solid action.”

Debra De Liso
School of Dramatic Arts

“Collective bargaining is a fundamental freedom in a democracy like ours. Teachers on a university campus are no exception when it comes to this right.”

Paul Babin
School of Cinematic Arts

“I believe the amazing faculty at USC deserve fair pay and basic benefits, commensurate with the amount of hard work and expertise they are bringing to the classroom every day. I support building a union to make real and lasting improvements.”

Lauren Murphy
School of Dramatic Arts

Oliver Rizk

“I support forming a faculty union at USC because alone, it’s difficult to get the attention of the administration. But with a union, I can talk to my colleagues in different departments about the issues we share, and collectively we can’t get ignored by the administration.”
Oliver Rizk

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences

MartinLeung“I support forming a union to give a better education to my students. With fairer working conditions, teachers such as myself will be able to give a higher quality education to students.”
Martin Leung
Thornton School of Music


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