Dean’s Message

Shaping the World

A Message from SPPD Dean Jack H. Knott

Dean Knott with Professors Chet Newland and Rich Sundeen Dean Jack Knott with SPPD professors Rich Sundeen, left, and Chet Newland
Photo by Tom Queally

On behalf of the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, I welcome you to the first SPPD News issue of 2011. This past year was an exciting one for both SPPD and the university, and we are looking forward to what we know will be an even more exciting 2011 for our school and USC.

It is my pleasure to share with you some of the latest news about SPPD faculty, students, and alumni, as well as invite you to attend a historic event examining the leadership and legacy of former President and California Governor Ronald Reagan, who would turn 100 on February 6.

On February 1 and 2, SPPD and the Reagan Presidential Foundation have partnered to present a Reagan Centennial Academic Symposium at USC that will add scholarly substance to the many centennial events happening around the world. More than 25 distinguished scholars, pundits and former Reagan staffers will come together here on campus for a series of in-depth panel discussions examining his leadership, communication, and legislative legacies. USC University Professor and historian Kevin Starr, author of America and the California Dream, will deliver the keynote address the evening of February 1. The symposium concludes with a special panel at the Reagan Library moderated by former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw on February 2. I encourage all of you to attend as many sessions as possible. For a detailed schedule and to RSVP, please click here. And I invite you to read the full article about the symposium in this newsletter.

We are also extremely proud to announce in this issue that SPPD will be joined by two renowned faculty members: Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel McFadden; and poet and essayist Dana Gioia, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Their appointments reflect USC’s – and SPPD’s – commitment to advancing its expertise in the social sciences and strengthening its position as an academic leader.

In addition, our Knowledge-in-Action section includes a recent report released by the California advisory panel on climate change adaptation, led by SPPD professor Daniel Mazmanian; research professor and USC CREATE director Stephen Hora’s appointment to a National Council on Radiation Protection & Measurements scientific committee; and a new study co-authored by SPPD faculty — the first to calculate the financial and social costs of limiting access to clinical trial data for conventional drugs.

Our Global Reach section highlights a keynote address given by SPPD’s Erroll Southers at the Global Security Leadership Conference in India, and SPPD Senior Associate Dean Genevieve Giuliano leading a panel discussion on public transportation at the Australia-U.S. Dialogue on Sustainable Cities conference.

Also in this issue, you will find Research News covering a new survey by our Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy which shows signs of increased optimism among L.A. philanthropic foundations, but uncertainty about the future remains; and researchers at the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine which raises critical questions about the role of amenities in hospital care and their effect on the patient experience.

This month’s Alumni Spotlight features Tomson Ong, MPA, ’84, DPA, ’92, a California Superior Court judge, who is an active member of the SPPD community, dedicating his time and sharing his knowledge as an adjunct faculty member for more than 20 years.

SPPD Making the News shows just a few examples of our faculty being cited as experts in major media outlets across the nation. And, I invite you to watch the featured video on professor Dowell Myers’ research presentation on “Immigrants and the New Maturity of Los Angeles.”

Last but certainly not least, the photo above was taken at a retirement celebration honoring two distinguished members of our faculty and dear friends, professors Chet Newland and Rich Sundeen. As you know, Dr. Newland and Dr. Sundeen are foremost experts in their respective fields, and they are both individuals of great integrity, remarkable work ethic, and have brought a real passion to their classrooms. The celebration was an opportunity to thank them for their many years of exceptional service and applaud their contributions to our great school, the university, and beyond. They exemplify the many great faculty at SPPD whose scholarship, professionalism, and commitment to public service continue to enrich the life of our school, the lives of our students and alumni, and without question, shape our world for the better.

I want to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year!


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