2010-2011 End-of-Year Report

Retired Faculty Association
End of Year Report
John Orr

Membership in the RFA includes all those who have been full-time or part-time members of the USC faculty in one or more academic ranks and who have been identified to the Emeriti Center by the Office of the Provost as having retired. A USC pre-retiree faculty member in the above academic ranks who would like to activate his or her membership prior to retirement is free to do so. In addition, the spouse or partner of a living or deceased RFA member can become an active member of the RFA in a manner to be determined by the Board. A partner is one who is legally recognized as such by the laws of the State of California.
During 2010-2011, RFA had 660 active members. They were joined by 72 dues-paying spouses/partners.

I. New 2010-20111 Initiatives

A. Ombudsman/ Advocacy Committee. During this year, the RFA Board created a new ad hoc committee to oversee RFA’s ombudsman and advocacy activities. These activities are not new on RFA’s mission-related agenda. But the Board action elevates their priority and assures that the organization will be attentive to the needs and interests of its members. Robert Coffey was appointed as the 2010-2011 chair. The committee focused attention on three issues: (1) Difficulties experienced by some RFA members in accessing University electronic resources; (2) University-related housing for retired members of USC’s faculty and staff; and (3) Sharply declining trends in the percentage of eligible faculty retirees who have been awarded Emeriti status.

B. RFA Finance Committee. The RFA Board created an ad hoc Finance Committee to develop long-term financial goals and strategies, to develop annual budget proposals, and to review the appropriateness of RFA financial strategies and expenditures in the relation to the organization’s core mission.

C. In cooperation with the Emeriti Center, RFA began the process of revising its website. Phoebe Liebig accepted responsibility for the transition.

D. As a memorial for Robert Biller, RFA contributed $2,000 to an existing graduate student scholarship program in the School of Policy, Planning, and Administration. In addition, the Board renamed RFA’s endowment fund as the Robert P. Biller Endowment Fund.

II. RFA Committees

A. Nominating Committee. The nominating committee, chaired by Art Donovan, presented its recommendations to the Board in February. The elections were conducted electronically, and results were presented at RFA’s annual meeting in March. The 2011-2012 officers will be Robert Baker (President), Phoebe Liebig (Vice President/President Elect), John Orr (Past President), Bill Petak (Treasurer), and Robert Stallings (Secretary). Natalie Cohen, and Jack Sanders returned to the RFA Board as at-large members; Kaaren Hoffman and Art Donovan were elected to a new three-year term as at-large members; and Victor Webb was elected as a new at-large Board member.

B. Programs/ Events Committee. The Programs/Events Committee, chaired by Phoebe Liebig and Ruberta Weaver, offered a full menu of events. Five Sherry Hours, held in Doheny Library, brought SRA and RFA members (and their spouses and/or partners) together for discussions related to a wide spectrum of topics. Presenters were drawn from USC’s current faculty. Retiree community dinners were planned to coordinate with two USC theatrical programs. Retirees were also encouraged to participate in USC’s Visions and Voices events, especially in the annual medical ethics program at the Health Sciences campus.

C. Scholarship Committee. This committee, chaired by Kaaren Hoffman, continued to expand RFA’s involvement as co-sponsor of the University’s Caldwell Scholars Program, which offers financial aid to selected students who have graduated from high schools in neighborhoods that surround the University.

Each semester, past and current Caldwell Scholars were invited to a luncheon, attended by Board members and by appropriate USC administrators and staff members. Caldwell Scholars were encouraged to interpret their experiences at USC , and also, to assist the RFA Board in considering expanded forms of support.

In cooperation with the Office of Financial Affairs, the RFA Scholarship Committee has been exploring ways to financially secure the Caldwell Scholars Program—including the possibility that this program may be supported through “payroll-deduct” faculty/staff contributions.

D. Communications Committee. Chaired by Natalie Cohen, this committee provided oversight for RFA’s annual dues/contributions solicitation cycle, the birthday card and sympathy card programs, and for Newsletter and website communications.

D. Widows/Widowers/Surviving Partners Committee. This committee, chaired by Ruberta Weaver and Bob Coffey, cooperated with the Emeriti Center in preparing material that offers practical guidance for retirees who have lost their spouses/partners. Plans are underway for a modest travel program.

E. Committee on University Service and Awards. Under the leadership of Jim Halls, the Committee on University Service and Awards identified members of the retired faculty who have expressed their willingness to serve on University Committees. This list was submitted to the Office of the Provost. RFA also provided the name of a member who agreed to serve on the Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award Committee.

III. RFA Relations with the Emeriti Center

A. The President (John Orr) and the Past President (Natalie Cohen) have served as members of the Emeriti Center’s Executive Committee.

B. Board member Art Donovan served as chair of the Emeriti Center’s very-active Benefits and Resources Committee.

C. Members of the RFA Executive Committee reviewed and revised the Memorandum of Understanding which structures RFA’s relations with the Emeriti Center. The proposed revision was approved by the Board and was presented to the Emeriti Center.

IV. Relations with the Emeriti Center College

Jack Wills (Emeritus Professor of History and RFA Board member), James Moore (Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering) co-hosted the Intergenerational Forum on Global Change, under the auspices of the Emeriti Center College. The Forum offered conversations about pressing contemporary issues. Undergraduates, graduate students, current faculty, and retired faculty and staff were encouraged to participate.

V. Relations with the USC Staff Retirement Association

A. The SRA President (John Hisserich) or his representatives (Jeanne and Bob Church) served as ex officio members of the RFA Board. They presented monthly reports concerning SRA activities and joint SRA/RFA activities.

B. The RFA President (or his representative) served as an ex officio member of the Board of the Staff Retirement Association.

C. The SRA and the RFA jointly sponsored a tour of the new Tutor Center.

D. The annual SRA/RFA Holiday Party was held in early December at the Galen Center. Slightly less than half of retired attendees were members of the retired faculty community and their spouses/partners.

VI. Contributions to Programs and Activities at the University of Southern California

A. RFA actively recruited retired faculty members to participate in the inauguration of President Max Nikias. Approximately 35-40 members participated in the inaugural procession. After the ceremony, they attended the inaugural luncheon hosted by the Half-Century Trojan Club.

B. Natalie Cohen served as RFA liaison to the University Senate. She (or her representative) attended each University Senate meeting. She actively sought solutions for problems being experienced by retired faculty members—e.g., declining trends in the award of emeritus/a status; difficulties being experienced by some members of the retired faculty in accessing University electronic resources. She offered monthly reports about University Senate proceedings at RFA Board meetings.

C. RFA actively encouraged members to serve as volunteers in a variety of University programs. It is currently developing plans for more effectively “marketing” volunteering opportunities (in cooperation with the Emeriti Center’s Encore program).

D. Many RFA members continued to pursue research/publication activities.

E. RFA members served as appointed members of University committees.

F. RFA encouraged members to function as mentors for USC undergraduate and graduate students.

G. As an acknowledgment of its citizenship in the USC community, RFA contributed $2,000 to the University Good Neighbors program.

H. Serving as an agent of the Office of the Provost, RFA organized the annual Provost’s Faculty Retirement Recognition Luncheon on November 18, 2010. The event was chaired by Robert Baker, RFA Vice President. Staff support was provided by Gloria Reyes (Emeriti Center).

I. About 20 RFA members participated in a brain-storming session, conducted by Associate Provost Robin Romans. The meeting offered members of USC’s retiree community an opportunity to provide input in the University’s current strategic planning process.

VII. Relations with the Association of Retirement Associations in Higher Education (AROHE).

RFA maintains membership in the Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education, an international network of retiree organizations at colleges and universities. Janette Brown (Executive Director of the USC Emeriti Center) serves as Executive Director of AROHE. Robert Coffey (RFA member) serves on the AROHE Board. The association’s international headquarters is located at the USC Emeriti Center.