Dean’s Message

Shaping the World

A Message from SPPD Dean Jack H. Knott

Dean Jack Knott, Governor Pete Wilson, Tom Brokaw, USC President Max Nikias (From left) SPPD Dean Jack Knott, former California Gov. Pete Wilson, NBC’s Tom Brokaw, USC President C. L. Max Nikias at the Reagan Presidential Library
Photo by Tom Queally

On behalf of the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, I welcome you to the March 2011 edition of SPPD News. I often speak about the ways in which SPPD tackles some of the world’s most pressing issues, and I am especially proud of the stories in this newsletter that capture a few examples of SPPD students, in particular, shaping our world for the better.

This issue’s Knowledge-In-Action section highlights the work of one of our doctoral students reaching across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to address the foreclosure crisis — a project that has also turned into a PBS documentary. SPPD undergraduate students are featured in a story about our Nonprofit Sector and Public Interest class where they “Learn by Giving”; and the unique and successful efforts of graduate students from our Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Policy program are highlighted in another knowledge-in-action story. We are also proud of the efforts among SPPD student associations who collaborated to bring several area city managers to the USC campus to discuss diversity in that profession.

Our top feature story covers a history-in-the-making academic event that SPPD co-sponsored with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation to examine the leadership and legacy of America’s 40th president. The symposium was part of the Reagan Centennial Celebration. In addition, SPPD’s newest faculty member and Nobel laureate, professor Daniel McFadden, recently spoke to a standing-room-only crowd about the current state of health care in our country. We were also pleased to further participate in efforts to advance federal internships and job opportunities for all public administration and public policy students across the country, by contributing to a local discussion led by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management on the Pathways program. Finally, we’re pleased to announce a new era in undergraduate education here at SPPD with a revised curriculum and tracks designed to meet new challenges facing our communities.

Our Global Reach section includes a story on a new MOU with the State of Gujarat, India, bringing to 10 the total number of international partnerships in which SPPD engages. SPPD also hosted a presentation about the ground-breaking work spearheaded by an SPPD alumnus and the Korea Transportation Institute in transforming downtown Seoul, South Korea; and we’re pleased that SPPD research professor, Dr. Stephan Hora, spoke about terrorism in New Delhi, India, as part of an historic USC delegation visit to that country.

In this issue, you will also find a section on recent SPPD faculty, alumni, and student publications along with additional research news. SPPD professor Gary Painter found that a longer kindergarten day offers few educational benefits for most students learning English as a second language; research professor Adam Rose’s study concluded that a California superstorm would be the costliest U.S. disaster; and a new report co-authored by Schaeffer Center researchers John Romley and Dana Goldman discovered that high-spending hospitals may save more lives when treating a major acute medical condition.

I would like to draw your attention to the Awards & Notes section that highlights recent achievements among SPPD faculty, students, and staff; and to this month’s Alumni Spotlight on John Carlin, BS ’98, who plays a significant role in helping our communities as founder and CEO of Global Business Solutions, Inc.

As usual, the SPPD Making the News section highlights only a few examples of the far-reaching impact SPPD faculty have in the news media. And, I would like to invite you to watch the videos featuring Tom Brokaw, SPPD associate professor Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, and a recent Urban Growth Seminar on “Bridging the Green Divide.”

Lastly, with the location of our school in the capital of the Pacific Rim, many of our students and alumni are from Asia, including Japan. In the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Sendai, I – along with the entire SPPD family – offer our deepest condolences for the victims of this tragedy, especially to our own students who lost friends and loved ones because of this disaster. Indeed, we extend our most heartfelt concern for the well-being of everyone there.


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