Dean’s Message

Shaping the World

A Message from SPPD Dean Jack H. Knott

Dean Knott and President Nikias Dean Jack Knott, right, with USC President C.L. Max Nikias at the 2010 SPPD Alumni Guardian Awards gala in October
Photo by Tom Queally

On behalf of the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, I welcome you to the November 2010 issue of SPPD News. It has been an especially eventful and exciting fall semester at SPPD and across USC, and I am pleased to share with you some of the highlights from recent weeks.

Former USC Provost C.L. Max Nikias was formally installed as the University of Southern California’s 11th president on Oct. 15. He laid out a bold vision for the university, with unyielding resolve, to advance USC toward achieving “undisputed status as one of the great universities of the world.”

President Nikias has supported SPPD throughout his tenure as provost, and I look forward to working with him as president. I invite you to read more about President Nikias’ inspiring inauguration speech and watch the video of this historic day at USC by clicking here.

President Barack Obama visited the USC University Park campus in October, prompted by an invitation from the USC Political Student Assembly. More than 37,000 attended the rally in front of Doheny Memorial Library. It was a special day for many USC students, alumni, and staff. You can read more by clicking here.

I am very pleased to draw your attention to stories in this newsletter covering a visit by U.S. Labor Secretary and MPA alumna Hilda Solis to receive SPPD’s first Biller Award for Public Service; SPPD’s Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics’ national conference that marked its one-year anniversary at USC; and SPPD Associate Professor Elizabeth Currid-Halkett’s new book, Starstruck, which examines the business of celebrity.

Our Global Reach section highlights a presentation delivered by former TIME magazine correspondent David Aikman about the spread of Christianity in China, and a recent presentation by former Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff as part of our Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) Distinguished Speaker Series that included a real-time video link to Israel’s International Institute for Counter-Terrorism.

Our Knowledge-in-Action section features an SPPD panel examining lessons from the recent City of Bell scandal that was co-sponsored by our Bedrosian Center on Governance and the Public Enterprise, an article featuring an EML graduate recently elected to the California State Assembly, and SPPD faculty member Richard Green’s contributions to a White House conference on housing policy.

In addition, Research News highlights a presentation by the president and CEO of the Skoll Foundation at a recent Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy event; a new $15.3 million federal grant for our CREATE research center; new data on immigration trends by SPPD professor Dowell Myers; and recently published studies by Asst. Professor David Suarez, and Research Assoc. Professor Chris Weare and SPPD Ph.D. grad Kyu-Nahm Jun. I also bring your attention to the impressive mentions in Awards and Notes, as well as the Student Event story covering a panel on the educational achievement gap hosted by two SPPD student associations.

This month’s Alumni Spotlight features Sean Tracy, who will tell you about the service he provides, not the work he must do as assistant deputy director for the California Department of Mental Health’s community services division.

The SPPD Making the News section captures only a few examples of the many SPPD faculty contributions to current issues and public debates in the media, and we’ve included a link to the full media listing.

Last but not least, I invite you to check out our video on a recent SPPD Urban Growth Seminar.

As another outstanding semester at SPPD begins to wind down, I want to take a moment to remind each of you how much your support means to all of us here at SPPD. You are our friends, colleagues, and members of our Trojan Family – in short – you are part of our ever-expanding SPPD community. You share our vision for a better future and support our commitment to improve the quality of life for people and their communities worldwide. You contribute to the strong spirit of SPPD — a spirit that grows with each new class of students, with each new research endeavor, with each new community project, and with each and every new SPPD graduate who becomes a member of the Trojan Family. I want to personally extend my appreciation for all that you do for SPPD and for all that you do to shape our world for the better.

Thanks to all of you!


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