Dean’s Message

Shaping the World

Dean Jack Knott Dean Jack Knott addresses SPPD’s graduating class of 2011
Photo by Tom Queally

A Message from SPPD Dean Jack H. Knott

On behalf of the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, I welcome you to the Summer 2011 issue of SPPD News, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of SPPD’s recent graduates. Every year, our students find new, effective and compelling ways to shape our world for the better — a testament to the innovation, passion and commitment inherent throughout our school.

I am extremely proud – and deeply impressed – by our graduates’ contributions to our school, the community and to their respective fields. Our students published the second issue of SPPD’s student-run academic journal, generated real-world research through our acclaimed practicum course, and our Ph.D. students authored numerous journal articles. Tremendous work was done by all of our students, especially those honored in our Capstone Awards this year.

Commencement 2011 To view more photos of 2011 commencement ceremonies, visit SPPD’s Flickr site at

In addition, I invite you to read in this issue about our graduates who accepted positions in the prestigious Presidential Management Fellowship Program in Washington, D.C. They will be applying their expertise at the National Institute of Health (NIH), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Other recent SPPD grads are heading to the William J. Clinton Foundation with fellowships to address issues childhood obesity, and economic opportunity and development. Another story features recent master of health administration graduates employing their SPPD MHA curriculum experience to jobs with the Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Sutter Health. And, I also draw your attention to the truly inspiring story of SPPD employee, Carmen Gomez, and her son, Allen Gomez, who received their undergraduate diplomas together at commencement.

The Student Achievements section features the 14 Policy Analysis Practicum projects executed by our master of public policy students for clients including HUD, GAO, L.A. Ethics Commission, RAND Corp., Deloitte, and the Grameen Foundation, among many others. We also highlight the projects of our 2011 Academic Capstone award winners – from across all SPPD degree programs – that, for example, examined aspects of the Floods in Pakistan, Childhood Obesity in Mississippi, Planning for Gandhi’s Ashram in India, and Cultural Competency in Hospitals, just to name a few.

I also want to draw your attention to two special events covered in our Knowledge in Action section: our Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy Distinguished Speaker Series, which featured education reformer Michelle Rhee, former D.C. Schools Chancellor; and the public pension panel convened by our Bedrosian Center on Governance and the Public Enterprise.

Student research analyzing and comparing global sustainable urban indicators in China is featured in our Global Reach section. The analysis was recently presented to the Office of International and Philanthropic Innovation at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

In this issue, we also feature five recent journal articles authored by our Ph.D. students in the SPPD Publications section. And I’d like to draw your attention to a few of our faculty publications highlighted under the Research News section, in addition to our school’s many other Awards & Notes.

Please take a moment to read about Lauren Gregor, MPA ’08, our featured Alumni Spotlight this month. Lauren works to better the lives of more than 4,500 students in the Los Angeles area through her role at the Inner City Education Foundation.

As always, SPPD Making the News items cited in this newsletter do not fully capture the meaningful contribution our faculty make in the news. The link at the end of the section provides a comprehensive listing of our school’s presence in the media.

Finally, we have included a video recording of SPPD’s recent undergraduate ceremony.

As our faculty, students and alumni continue to tackle many challenges facing the world today, I am reminded of the commitment to public service that stands the heart of SPPD’s mission, and want to thank all of you again for helping 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