Dean’s Message

Shaping the World

A Message from SPPD Dean Jack H. Knott

Dean Jack Knott Dean Jack Knott at Santa Monica Place during a recent event hosted by the Athenian Society
Photo by Tom Queally

On behalf of the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, I welcome you to the May 2011 issue of SPPD News.

As this remarkable school year comes to an end, I feel deeply privileged to preside over our graduation ceremonies. Our students come to us with a passion to change the world. During their time here, they gain unique experiences connecting classroom theory to practice through internships and laboratory work. They are supported by extraordinary faculty and staff. And, they leave with the knowledge and skills to be innovative leaders — fully prepared to tackle today’s complex societal problems and shape our world for the better.

Graduation is a time for me to honor each and every one of our outstanding students and to acknowledge the contributions they have made – to the school and to their respective fields – through their energy and ideas. Indeed, it is my sincere belief that our students provide the single greatest hope for our collective future.

And in this edition of the newsletter, you have the opportunity to learn more about the exceptional achievements of our students, in addition to recent events, novel research and other milestones at SPPD.

You can read about the work of 79 students who engaged in formal externships with government agencies, nonprofits or consulting firms nationwide over Spring break; our revised Master of Health Administration degree that keeps pace with future health system priorities; and an exemplary public-private development partnership in Santa Monica.

Our Global Reach section highlights the recent work of SPPD urban planning students in India and Argentina, and the timely international terrorism presentation by noted expert Marc Sageman at our CREATE Homeland Security Center.

Professor Martin Krieger’s new book, Urban Tomographies, is featured in our Knowledge-in-Action section, along with a Fell Undergraduate Student Conversation on current health care challenges.

MPP alum Kit Bauer, with his various experiences in public service, is the focus of this month’s Alumni Spotlight.

As always, the SPPD Making-the-News section can only capture a few examples of SPPD faculty in the news. This month, topics include education reform as part of our Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy forum; assistant professor Currid-Halkett’s featured participation in the L.A. Times Festival of Books; an interview with SPPD’s own counter-terrorism expert, Erroll Southers, on KTLA-TV; and professor James Moore’s Los Angeles Times op-ed on high-speed rail.

I also draw your attention to our Research News and Awards & Notes sections, which underscore the tremendous quality of scholarship found at SPPD.

We’ve also included a link to a video recording of a recent Consortium on Collaborative Governance presentation hosted by the USC Bedrosian Center. You may view our full collection of videos online at:

Finally, we at SPPD take great pride in the diversity of our student population. They come from over 30 countries around the world and from nearly every state in the U.S. Several students have family, friends and loved ones in the Southern part of the U.S., which has been very hard hit by recent natural disasters. All of us at SPPD extend our thoughts and support for everyone affected by the severe tornadoes and floods, in particular those victims who have endured trauma and loss at the hands of these tragedies.


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