Gillman, who has been serving as USC’s associate vice provost for research advancement, was selected after a search that included more than 500 candidates. He succeeds Peter Starr, who had been serving as interim dean for the past year.
“Dr. Gillman exemplifies the traits of an ideal USC dean: He has attained the highest levels of distinction in teaching, research, leadership within his academic discipline and his university, and in service to his community,” Nikias said.
In accepting the appointment, Gillman said: “USC College has nurtured me as a scholar and a teacher for 17 years. During that time we have accomplished great things, and there is no question that we are now one of the most exciting and innovative places in the country for students to learn and for faculty to produce important and influential research and scholarship.
“I’m very grateful for the confidence in me shown by President Sample and Provost Nikias and for the support of my friends and colleagues,” Gillman said. “I want to thank Peter Starr for the terrific work he has done this past year as interim dean. We all owe him a debt of gratitude. And now, I’m looking forward to working with our great faculty, amazing students and the extended Trojan Family to ensure that the USC College continues to achieve new levels of academic excellence.”
Gillman built a scholarly profile as one of the nation’s leading experts on constitutionalism and judicial politics. His first book, The Constitution Besieged: The Rise and Demise of Lochner Era Police Powers Jurisprudence (Duke University Press, 1993), received one of the highest awards in his discipline — the C. Herman Pritchett Award from the American Political Science Association.
His most recent book, The Votes That Counted: How the Court Decided the 2000 Presidential Election (University of Chicago Press, 2001), earned acclaim from The New York Times and numerous other publications as the definitive scholarly analysis of the resolution of the 2000 presidential election dispute. He was also co-editor and contributor to two other books on the Supreme Court.
As associate vice provost, Gillman helped create and launch the USC U.S.-China Institute, a unique interdisciplinary institute dedicated to policy-relevant social science research focused on the contemporary U.S.-China relationship. In addition, he oversaw a series of reforms in the university’s Human Subjects Protection Program, including an administrative restructuring of the Institutional Review Board on the University Park campus, and he has overseen a number of university-wide research initiatives, including the USC Health Collaborative and the Immigration and Integration Initiative.
In making the announcement, Nikias noted the strong contributions Starr made as interim dean of USC College. Nikias said Starr addressed a number of challenges in undergraduate and graduate programs while working diligently on admissions, fundraising and cultivation of prospective donors.
Gillman earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science from UCLA. As a professor of political science and history, Gillman has served on USC College’s faculty for 17 years. He also holds an appointment at the USC Gould School of Law.
During his time at USC, he has made many contributions to the academic enterprise, among them having served as a member of the Academic Senate and the University Committee on Appointments, Tenure and Promotion. He also has been a member of the Faculty Council and chair of its Research Caucus, a member of the College’s Strategic Planning Task Force and General Education Committee, a member of the Faculty Governing Board for College Advisement and chair of the College Academic Services Advisory Board.
Gillman is among the most decorated teachers within USC College. He has been tapped as a faculty member of the month by the Mortar Board Senior Honor Society and is a Distinguished Faculty Fellow at the Center for Excellence in Teaching.
In 2001, he received the USC College’s General Education Teaching Award as well as the USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching.
In addition to his aforementioned books, Gillman has to his credit more than 30 other publications — including articles in leading disciplinary and interdisciplinary journals such as The American Political Science Review, Political Research Quarterly and Studies in American Political Development as well as more than 40 conference papers and meeting presentations.
He also has been highly sought as an invited lecturer and has been asked to present his research at leading universities across the country.
He has been a prominent expert for top national media outlets, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor and National Public Radio. Earlier this year, his on-air commentary for PBS’ four-hour documentary series on the Supreme Court garnered praise from The Boston Globe.
Gillman has been active as a civic leader — evaluating curriculum at local schools, training public school teachers on constitutional studies, lecturing at community centers and coaching sports teams.
He is especially involved within the local Jewish community, participating in a number of adult education programs, interfaith dialogues and social justice campaigns. He has served on the board of trustees of Temple Isaiah in West Los Angeles, and he chaired his congregation’s Synagogue 2000 committee.