USC Price School of Public Policy

Shaping the World

A Message from USC Price Dean Jack H. Knott


Summer is underway, and another class has graduated to shape the world in its own ways. Here at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, we remain as busy as ever, continuing our wide-ranging research and preparing to welcome our next class of leaders and innovators.

I am pleased to announce USC Price’s landmark partnership with the University of Hong Kong to create a pioneering Master of Global Public Policy program. The degree, which launches in 2017, will unite experts from across the public and private sectors, and throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim, to address the region’s most pressing social and sustainability issues.

It was my honor to present Assistant Professor Emma Aguila with the inaugural USC Price High Impact Research Award for her work that led to significant reforms in Mexico’s social security system, strengthening the financial security of millions of people. Congratulations as well to all faculty members whose projects were nominated, as each one is making a tangible difference.

In an example of our high impact closer to campus, the Price Center for Social Innovation will contribute as an academic partner to the new South L.A. federal Promise Zone effort. The center will evaluate data to measure the impact of the resulting federal grants in reducing poverty over the next decade.

The inaugural graduates of our Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management program already are making their mark on the world, as shown by the work of Noddy Nweke and her unique nonprofit Jazz Hands For Autism, which enables young people on the autism spectrum to explore their passion and talent for music.

This issue also highlights a range of real-world projects conducted by our students. In the Policy Analysis Practicum, students collaborated with the L.A. Mayor’s Office and the United Nations, as well as nonprofits here and in Mexico, on issues from education to the environment. Meanwhile, our planning students added to their expertise by helping City Hall and other clients address vexing challenges in sustainable redevelopment and affordable housing. And this year’s public administration graduates fulfilled their degrees with capstone projects that include exploring how augmented reality technologies can aid in managing emergencies, the potential impact of changing utility delivery to Maui, and how the City of Davis could best regulate short-term rental enterprises.

These projects exemplify the public service that will be supported by the generous pledge of $2.5 million recently made by USC Trustee David C. Bohnett ’78. The David C. Bohnett Leadership Fund will provide master’s-level public policy students with invaluable experience through a two-year fellowship with the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.

Knowledge in Action

This issue’s Knowledge in Action features extensive coverage of “Drawing on Detroit: Bold Leadership and the Future of American Cities.” This three-day forum brought together leaders from the public and private sectors to consider how the lessons of that city’s revival can be applied urban policies throughout the nation.

We congratulate our three Ph.D. candidates – Sarah Axeen, Brettany Shannon and Jovanna Rosen – on their award-winning dissertations, examining prescription opioid abuse, digital media and urban inequality.

Greetings from East LA, our new partnership with the East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy, enables high schoolers interested in urban planning to ponder local landmarks and think of ways to improve their neighborhoods. USC Price students were proud to mentor their younger counterparts in this asset-mapping venture.

California Central, a USC Villaraigosa Initiative, helped convene a panel to address rebuilding California’s middle class, featuring former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who opened the discussion at the California Endowment.

Global Reach

In a recent example of USC Price’s Global Reach, our Safe Communities Institute welcomed 15 journalists from 14 nations to confer about Youth and Countering Violent Extremism. The meeting was facilitated by the U.S. State Department Bureau of Public Affairs’ Foreign Press Center.

Student Achievements

All of us at the USC Price School take great pride in our Student Achievements. We invite you to read about 2016 valedictorian Hallie Roth, whose undergraduate career here intersected planning with public health and included research in Spain.

Please join us in applauding the Associated Students of Planning and Development for winning an award of merit for its outreach project, Planning for College, from the American Planning Association’s Los Angeles chapter. The project brought 42 local high school students to campus to learn about college and urban planning careers.

At a recent symposium, graduate students in the Media for Policy Change course had the opportunity to present findings about how journalism and media can drive social change to help solve the challenges of homelessness, child welfare and immigration.

Alumni Spotlight

Our Alumni Spotlight congratulates former Latino Alumni Association Executive Director Domenika Lynch ’97 on her appointment as president and CEO of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

Among the highlights in our latest Alumni Updates, ABC News reports on the heroism of Chase Millsap MPP ’16, who addressed Congress to seek asylum for an Iraqi soldier who saved his life during military service in Iraq. Millsap also founded the U.S. veteran-run Ronin Refugee Project, which provides emergency support to displaced Iraqi and Afghan soldiers who fought alongside American service members. In addition, the Desert Sun provides this engaging profile of Coachella Mayor Steve Hernandez, who earned his Master of Public Administration in May.

In case you were unable to attend — or if you want to relive the memories — we hope you enjoy the 2016 USC Price commencement video.

Research News

In Research News, Professor Dowell Myers followed the urban migration patterns of millennials nationwide for a study published in Housing Policy Debate. Assistant Professor Alice Chen co-authored a state-by-state study suggesting how the number of infant deaths in the U.S. — the highest in the advanced world — may be reduced through policy changes. The USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics and the Brookings Institution brought together more than 140 policymakers, Capitol Hill staffers and reporters to address needed Medicare reforms.

More news about the insightful and impactful research conducted by our faculty can be found in our Faculty Research Update.

Our Awards & Notes include a hearty congratulations to both Paul Ginsburg, Schaeffer Center director of public policy, on his appointment to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, and Vice Dean Neeraj Sood on his election to the board of the American Society of Health Economists.

Also on the right column, I invite you to read the message to the Price Community addressing the recent shootings in the U.S., and our school’s efforts to contribute to the advancement of inclusiveness and social justice in civil society.

As always, we hope you enjoy reading these examples of the academic innovations and impactful research happening at USC Price — along with the success stories of our students, alumni and faculty in shaping our world for the better. Thank you for your continued support.


Jack H. Knott, Dean
C. Erwin and Ione L. Piper Chair and Professor
USC Sol Price School of Public Policy