APA Center for Organizational Excellence: National Winner

The Awards

Government/Military/Educational Institution Category

University of Southern California

Masters in Wellness

CaliforniaThe University of Southern California (USC) is renowned for its academic excellence, world-class medical, dental, business and cinematic arts schools, hospitals and legendary Trojan football team. The university is a leader in other ways, too – in nurturing and supporting its faculty and staff and its exemplary service to the Greater Los Angeles community.

Employee Involvement

USC employees have a strong voice though their Staff Assembly – a 60-member, officially recognized branch of the university’s governance system that exists to promote their growth and welfare. Through various subcommittees, the Staff Assembly conducts research and provides recommendations on any and all matters related to work, environment, benefits and policy. University staff members are also enthusiastic community volunteers. Based on its outstanding record of community involvement, USC was selected as one of 81 “Colleges with a Conscience” by The Princeton Review.

Health and Safety

As the largest private employer in the Los Angeles area, USC’s comprehensive employee wellness program has reaped workplace benefits that go well beyond decreased medical costs and return on investment. This includes positive impacts on productivity, absenteeism, morale, recruitment success and turnover. In 2010, USC became the first university in the world to earn an International Safe Community designation from the World Health Organization in recognition of its work in educating its population on what to do in a natural disaster, how to be safe in an urban environment and how to stay mentally and physically healthy.

Employee Growth and Development

USC is all about opportunity. The university provides free tuition for employees, dependents and spouses, professional development classes on work-related subjects, career counseling and coaching. Among its numerous programs, The Center for Excellence in Teaching works with faculty in sharing visions, talents, perspectives and teaching philosophies through a variety of events and online resources. A Faculty Fellows program, developed by and for faculty, operates a small academy of exemplary teachers and scholars who serve as mentors. Other programs include Talent Management, Trojan Leadership Academy, Women in Management and Women in Science and Engineering.

Work-Life Balance

Founded in 1980, The USC Center for Work and Family Life (CWFL) is the hub for integrated services designed to help faculty, staff and their families manage work-life issues. CWFL’s top priority is the healthy balance between personal and professional lives from pre-employment through retirement. CWFL’s core services include brief, fully confidential, solution-focused counseling for a wide range of personal and work-related concerns, consultative support for faculty, managers and departments, referrals for dependent care, workshops on stress management and other diverse programs and services to help employees find and preserve a healthy work-life balance.

Employee Recognition

Professors and faculty are regularly recognized for their outstanding research both individually and in teams. The Steven Sample Teaching and Mentoring Award annually recognizes professors for distinguished teaching. The President’s Award for Staff Achievement, presented annually to an employee who has made significant contributions to enhancing the university, carries a $2,000 honorarium. The Staff Assembly and the Staff Club jointly offer a monthly Staff Recognition Award for extraordinary employees and job performance. And the Office of Student Affairs has a “Pat on the Back” program to recognize staff for personal, academic and professional accomplishments that includes eight Annual Outstanding Awards in honor of service, dedication, innovation and collaboration.

The Bottom Line

USC’s central mission is the development of human beings in particular, and society as a whole, by cultivating and enriching the mind and spirit. Because The Trojan Family is one of its most valuable assets, the university is dedicated to helping everyone employed there – whether faculty, administrator or staff – maintain good health and live fulfilling lives. USC-sponsored social media and its robust websites play key roles in informing and enlightening everyone about its rich array of available programs.

"The Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award was an excellent process, which provided us with invaluable information that will greatly assist us in moving forward with our initiatives in health, wellness, and safety. The bonus was that we won the award!"

Josie Ryan
Director of Health and Wellness
Northwoodcare Inc. and Northwood Homecare Ltd