Dean’s Message

Shaping the World

A Message from SPPD Dean Jack H. Knott

Dean Jack Knott

On behalf of the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the second SPPD News in electronic format. Our recent shift to an e-newsletter will enable us to engage with all of you more directly, and with greater frequency.

As we near the commencement ceremonies for the 2008-09 academic year, I find myself reflecting on the courage, dedication and resolve of all SPPD students, alumni and faculty to tackle the multifaceted and often intractable problems that we currently face. Now more than ever, exceptional levels of leadership and collaboration are required. I am honored to head a school that prepares its students to lead, to build bridges across disciplines and to engage all sectors of society in search of lasting solutions.

At the core of SPPD is our distinguished faculty. Their strong intellectual leadership and dedication to improving communities worldwide provide the cornerstone of what we impart to our students, past and present. This newsletter contains just a few examples of the many contributions our faculty make in the world: SPPD Professor Raphael Bostic is on temporary leave as director of our Master of Real Estate Development program to join the Obama Administration, SPPD Senior Scholar Richard Little was a featured panelist at an Infrastructure Summit in Asia, and a study by SPPD Professor Dowell Myers redefined the nature of California’s population.

Indeed, the “SPPD Making the News” items highlighted in this newsletter cannot capture the impact that our faculty achieve through the news media. Since January, 21 SPPD faculty members were featured in both print and broadcast venues that reached nearly 80 million people. In the last five months alone, the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Public Radio, and the NBC Nightly News – to name just a few – cited the research and expertise of our distinguished professors.

Finally, we’ve included a link in this newsletter to a video recording of a recent “State of the School” speech I delivered to SPPD’s Athenian Society, to give you an opportunity to hear more about the future directions of SPPD.

I again invite you to explore SPPD’s new Web site,, if you have not already done so, to learn more about the myriad ways in which SPPD shapes our world.


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

Photo by Star Rosencrans