Dean’s Message

Shaping the World

A Message from SPPD Dean Jack H. Knott

SPPD Commencement 2010 Photo by Tom Queally

On behalf of the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, I welcome you to the Summer 2010 issue of SPPD News and invite you to join me in celebrating once again the extraordinary accomplishments and dedication of all the SPPD graduates in the class of 2010.

Every year, it is with great pride – and optimism – that I preside over SPPD’s commencement ceremonies. At a time when our world faces critical social, economic, and development challenges, our students’ passion and commitment to apply their knowledge, critical thinking, and analytical skills to making our world a better place provides me with tangible hope for our collective future.

I wish that the space of this newsletter could contain the multitude of successes already achieved by our many graduates and students working to improve the quality of life for people and their communities. As just a few examples, we highlight in this issue: the collaboration of SPPD master’s students to launch a multidisciplinary, student-run academic journal; three graduates selected to enter the prestigious Presidential Management Fellowship program in Washington, D.C.; another graduate headed to the William J. Clinton Foundation to advance economic and financial literacy for women around the world; and four students facing complex urban planning challenges in China this summer.

SPPD Dean Jack Knott at Commencement Photo by Tom Queally

The Global Reach section chronicles the experiences of SPPD students volunteering their time to assist a school in Cusco, Peru, and also features our recent Beijing reception for admitted students.

In addition, I invite you to read in our Knowledge-in-Action series about the professional-level work our students conducted across the country as part of our Policy Analysis Practicum; the work of one of our students in East Los Angeles which earned her an “Unsung Heroine” award from Congresswoman Napolitano; the exemplary projects of our students who received Academic Capstone awards this year; and the student-led effort that gave voice to minority health issues in Los Angeles.

Our Alumni Spotlight features a recent SPPD graduate now teaching elementary school children English in South Korea under a Fulbright Scholarship.

As always, the SPPD Making the News items cited in this newsletter cannot capture the full impact our faculty achieve in the news. The link at the end of the section provides a more complete account of our school’s expertise highlighted in the media.

I also draw your attention to the new faculty research and recent presentations, as well as an article about the SPPD students who attended this year’s California Democratic Party convention.

Finally, we’ve included video recordings of our 2010 graduation ceremonies. I’d like to thank once more our distinguished commencement speakers this year, the Honorable Henry Cisneros and former Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton.

As I look forward to a new Fall semester – with nearly 1,500 SPPD students actively engaged in their endeavors, with vibrant energy and passion – my optimism is again renewed in anticipation of all they will do to shape our world for the better.


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