The award is designed to recognize service that benefits faculty and the university that goes beyond the requirements of an honoree’s formal role.
For several years Swerling chaired the Non-Tenure-Track Faculty committee that monitors the working environment, conditions of employment, benefits eligibility, and opportunities for participation in governance and professional advancement for non-tenure-track faculty.
“USC’s recognition of non-tenure-track faculty is now considered one of the better approaches to making the university a more inclusive environment,” said President of the USC Academic Senate and Communication Professor Patricia Riley. “Jerry’s committee helped push along the changes that treat non-tenure-track faculty as important, significant members of the faculty at large.”
Riley said that before Swerling’s appointment as chair of the committee, very few units on campus had clear standards for promotion of non-tenure-track faculty. The committee focused on making non-tenure-track faculty’s rights and responsibilities more coherent across campus. As a result of the committee’s efforts, non-tenure-track faculty can now apply for sabbaticals and more serve on various governance committees across the university than ever before.
Swerling was nominated by his peers and chosen out of a pool of applicants for the award. Individuals with the most nominations for the Distinguished Faculty Service Award undergo interviews and are selected by a nominating committee appointed by the Academic Senate.
The Academic Senate is the representative body of the entire faculty at USC and works to address a wide range of academic and administrative issues throughout campus.