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College Dean Appoints New Leaders

October 17, 2005

College Dean Appoints New Leaders

Following an extensive search by the Deans Committee, the scholars are selected for their leadership, energy, creativity and commitment.


USC College Dean Joseph Aoun has appointed his new administration, and in an innovative move, expanded the dean of academic programs into two posts – one dean for undergraduate programs and another for graduate programs.

A new dean of faculty and dean of research also were selected. The four new deans began five-year terms in July.

The appointments were made after a long internal search by members of the College Deans Search Committee. After broad consultation, there was a clear consensus that the undergraduate and graduate components might be better served if split apart and overseen by separate deans, Aoun said.

“In order to stay competitive for the best and brightest students, we needed to rethink many of our earlier paradigms,” he said.

Under this new structure, graduate and undergraduate programs now will benefit from the clear and undivided attention of a single dean’s focus.

“The portfolio of the dean of academic programs has been growing over the years, and that office has been doing a stellar job on many fronts,” Aoun said. “We have added a variety of innovative approaches to our undergraduate program, and at the same time, we have dramatically increased our investment in graduate programs. Many of our programs have been updated, and we have bolstered university wide programs in neuroscience, economics and history.”

Peter Starr, professor of French and comparative literature, is the new dean of undergraduate academic programs, while Jennifer Wolch, professor of geography and director of the Center for Sustainable Cities, is dean of the graduate programs.

Starr and Wolch are inspired by their new roles.

“Undergraduate education is, in many ways, the heart and soul of what we do in USC College,” Starr said. “The College offers exciting interdisciplinary majors and minors, significant research and mentoring opportunities, time-tested honors programs, experiential learning – with much more to come.”

Wolch vowed to pursue excellence in College graduate education programs. “I’m excited about the opportunity to work collaboratively with my colleagues to recruit top-flight graduate students,” she said. “I want to help make their experience here intellectually rich and productive, and help them forge rewarding scholarly and professional career paths.”

In addition, two new deans were appointed to oversee the critical areas of faculty recruitment and retention, and the expansion of the College research enterprise. Wayne Raskind, professor of mathematics, was appointed dean of faculty, while Michael Quick, professor of biological sciences, was selected dean of research.

Of his new post, Raskind said: “Following the fine work of my two predecessors as deans of faculty [Beth Meyerowitz and Dean Aoun], I will continue to build and maintain the world-class College faculty, while making it better reflect the diversity of the students and the community it serves.”

Quick wants to help both junior and senior faculty members improve their research programs. “I look forward to partnering with all my faculty colleagues and with the other deans, to continue the College’s momentum and upward trajectory,” he said. “My office is committed to doing whatever it takes to assist our junior faculty in establishing their research programs and our senior faculty in maintaining and expanding their scholarship in new and creative ways.

“Although the College is number one on the University Park campus in the amount of external grant funding received, we have only scratched the surface of our research potential in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities,” Quick said.

In August and September, Aoun announced the appointment of three additional new members of his leadership team.

David Roman, professor of English and American studies and ethnicity, was named director of faculty development for the College, a new position created this year. Working with Raskind, Roman will focus on strengthening junior faculty mentoring, minority faculty recruitment and the development of a lively intellectual community that will benefit the careers of all scholars.

“This appointment reflects our serious commitment to boost mentoring and to improving ethnic and gender diversity in the College,” Aoun said.

Diane MacGillivray, who was responsible for planning the public phase of the Tradition & Innovation fund-raising initiative, was promoted to senior associate dean of advancement, where she will lead all College fund-raising efforts. She has been a director of development in the advancement office since 1998 and has helped secure a number of major gifts to the College, including donations that led to the establishment of two new institutes.

David Houser assumed the post of senior associate dean of business and finance and will lead the College business office. Houser previously served as executive director of administration and senior business officer at USC’s Information Services Division.