Dean’s Message

Shaping the World

Trojan League of Los Angeles Honors SPPD,
USC Names New University President

A Message from SPPD Dean Jack H. Knott

USC Provost Max Nikias USC Provost C.L. Max Nikias has been named 11th president of USC

On behalf of the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, please join me in congratulating C.L. Max Nikias on his appointment as the 11th president of the University of Southern California, effective August 2010. Dr. Nikias currently serves as the Executive Vice President and Provost at USC.

Throughout my time as Dean, Dr. Nikias has actively supported SPPD through helping us invest in diversity, key research areas such as health policy and economics, information technology, distance education, our new Ph.D. programs, development efforts and in many other ways.

I look forward to his presidency and working with him – and all of you – in continuing to build an outstanding school in this new era for USC. I invite you to read more about Dr. Nikias’ appointment.

At SPPD, we recently received a very special honor from the Trojan League of Los Angeles (TLLA). Each year, TLLA selects a distinguished department, school or individual at USC to highlight and this year, SPPD was the focus of their annual benefit.

Dean Jack Knott with Trojan League Speakers Dean Knott with Lisa Broderick and TLLA guest speakers Mark Kroeker, far left, and Curtis Conway

SPPD alumna and vice president of TLLA’s Ways and Means Committee, Lisa Broderick, wrapped up the day’s events by commenting, “I know of no nobler mission than to improve the quality of life for people and their communities… I am grateful that SPPD got this exposure today.” I would like to extend again a hearty thank you to the TLLA for this honor. Click here to read more about the Trojan League event at SPPD.

This March 2010 newsletter also highlights many accomplishments and myriad ways in which SPPD students, faculty, staff and alumni are making a vital, positive impact locally and globally.

You will read about SPPD grad Chris Van Gorder, who led a medical team to Haiti; and U.S. Congressman Gary Miller, who discussed many complex issues facing our nation at an event sponsored by SPPD’s Athenian Society. You will see that the White House Director of Social Innovation, Sonal Shah, encouraged collaboration between government and other sectors at a conference spearheaded by SPPD’s Center for Philanthropy and Public Policy (CPPP).

I also invite you to read about Associate Dean Richard Callahan’s recent efforts in Turkey, Professor Dowell Myers’ testimony in Sacramento and Research Professor Adam Rose’s groundbreaking work in determining that Michigan’s Climate Action Plan will boost its economy.

Other stories cover two new research centers at SPPD: The USC Center for Sustainable Cities and the Roybal Center for Health Policy Simulation, which will be housed in the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics; and SPPD Assistant Professor Vivian Wu’s recently published study on health care pricing.

We are especially proud of SPPD Ph.D. student Yiming Wang for winning the Springer Award for the outstanding paper in the field of regional science; and SPPD Executive Master of Leadership student, California Assemblyman Isadore Hall, III, for receiving the 2010 Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, presented to him for outstanding contributions to human and civil rights.

We are pleased to feature Michael Vanderbeek, MPL ’05, in our alumni spotlight. And, as in every month, I draw your attention to the numerous ways in which SPPD is Making the News.

Amid the exciting changes and developments taking place across this university, I am still struck on a daily basis by the magnificent and meaningful work being done throughout SPPD – its research, its teaching, and through all the people – to shape our world for the better. It is my honor to serve as Dean of this great school.


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

Photos by Tom Queally