Dean’s Message

Shaping the World

A Message from SPPD Dean Jack H. Knott

Dean Jack Knott

On behalf of the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, I want to wish all of you a happy new year and welcome you to the first SPPD e-newsletter of 2010.

As the new semester begins and Lewis Hall is enlivened once again with an abundance of activity, I am reminded of the passion for excellence exhibited by SPPD faculty and students alike.

It is this very passion, I believe, that has allowed our school to grow despite the current economic challenges affecting us all. This academic year, SPPD admitted the largest class in the history of the school, while maintaining its high academic standards. We experienced growth in several master’s degree programs as well as the undergraduate program. In addition, our externally funded research grant dollars continued on its upward trajectory and now exceeds $25 million — the highest mark in our school’s history.

Certainly, these are notable accomplishments which I am proud to share with all of you. But you will also find more stories about other SPPD achievements in this e-Newsletter:

SPPD recently convened the inaugural USC Critical Issues Forum, a new series cosponsored by SPPD and the USC Office of Government and Community Relations. The Forum addressed California’s fiscal crisis. We also hosted an engaging lecture on leadership and storytelling by entertainment industry icon Peter Guber, as part of the Dennis and Brooks Holt Visiting Professorship in Communication and Public Policy.

This e-newsletter also covers my participation in the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, sponsored by the U.S. Secretary of Defense, which took me to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and to Central and South America.

I also invite you to read about Professor Peter Robertson’s research during a recent Fulbright Scholarship, and Professor Dan Mazmanian leading the Task Force on California’s Adaptation to Climate Change, a new statewide advisory panel created by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. This newsletter also includes a story on Professor Dowell Myers’ presentation in Sacramento on the future implications of Prop. 13.

In addition, this newsletter highlights SPPD graduate students wining the prized Silver Shovel in the annual USC-UCLA Real Estate Challenge; the appointment of SPPD Senior Fellow William Fulton as the mayor of Ventura; and recently published reports on L.A. philanthropic foundations by our Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy, and a new study examining life spans in the U.S., written by a team of health policy experts, including Professor Dana Goldman.

We are pleased to feature SPPD alumna Jennifer Breckheimer , MPP ’08, in our Spotlight this month. And, as in every month, I draw your attention to the formidable citations in the SPPD faculty Making the News section, that underscores the impact SPPD faculty have in shaping our world for the better.

Finally, SPPD is proud to be home to a distinguished group of students and alumni who come, not only from throughout the United States, but from all over world — some of whom with ties to Haiti. In the wake of the devastating earthquake there, we send our deepest sympathies and support for all of the victims and their families, and to everyone who has endured trauma and loss at the hands of this tragic disaster.


Jack H. Knott
C. Erwin and Ione L. Piper Dean and Professor
USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development