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USC Dornsife 2020

USC Dornsife 2020, established by Dean Howard Gillman, encourages USC Dornsife faculty to work across existing departments and programs to identify a set of themes that will be of great societal relevance and importance in years to come.

The thematic research clusters that form USC Dornsife 2020 serve as the basis for investments in new research initiatives and related academic programs for undergraduates and Ph.D. students. These clusters also build upon the groundbreaking research already taking place across USC Dornsife's numerous departments, research centers and institutes.

The USC Dornsife 2020 thematic research clusters selected by a faculty review committee that began in Fall 2010 included Science, Technology & Society; Climate Change in Southern California; and Genocide Resistance.

In Fall 2011, three additional research clusters were selected: Adapting to Downturn, Rising with Recovery: Multi-Method Training for Social, Behavioral and Brain Scientists; Taking the Next Step: Enhancing Graduate Education and Scholarship on Immigrant Integration at USC; and Seeing 20/20: The USC Visual Studies Research Institute.

  • The Science, Technology & Society research cluster (led by Andrew Lakoff, associate professor of anthropology, sociology and communication) seeks to foster individual and collaborative inquiry into the production of scientific knowledge and the societal impact of technological innovation.
  • The Climate Change in Southern California Bight research cluster (led by Douglas Capone, William and Julie Wrigley Chair in Environmental Studies and professor of biological sciences, and David Hutchins, professor of biological sciences) will create an opportunity for USC Dornsife's many internationally recognized experts in marine, environmental and social sciences to build a new vision by synthesizing the scientific aspects of rapid coastal climate change with the equally dynamic changes in human cultural and political institutions.
  • The Genocide Resistance research cluster (led by Wolf Gruner, Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and professor of history) will systematically investigate why certain individuals, groups or societies do or do not follow the path of mass violence and genocide.
  • The Adapting to Downturn, Rising with Recovery: Multi-Method Training for Social, Behavioral and Brain Scientists cluster (led by Wendy Wood, Provost Professor of Psychology and Business) will address the dynamics of human coping and wellbeing through cycles of downturn, recovery and resurgence in interconnected ways across social, mind and brain processes.
  • The Taking the Next Step: Enhancing Graduate Education and Scholarship on Immigrant Integration at USC cluster (led by Ange-Marie Hancock, associate professor of political science and gender studies, and Manuel Pastor, professor of American studies and ethnicity) seeks to elevate USC as the premier education institution for the interdisciplinary study of these issues. The faculty in this cluster will work toward establishing a certificate program at the masters’ and Ph.D. levels as well as Maymester courses for undergraduate student researchers. This program will include a dissertation development workshop and funding for research assistantships under the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration.
  • The Seeing 20/20: The USC Visual Studies Research Institute cluster (led by Kate Flint, Provost Professor of English and Art History) will focus on the nature, analysis and evaluation of visual evidence. Building on the success of the Visual Studies Graduate Certificate Program, this research cluster will address the relationship between seeing and believing to explore the nature of visual evidence across disciplines and in society as a whole.

These research clusters will receive nearly $2 million in funding over four years. In addition to research support, funding will lead to the creation of new general education courses, undergraduate majors and minors, graduate certificates; interdisciplinary seminars; and post-doctoral, pre-doctoral, and undergraduate fellowships.