Amber D. Miller is the 22nd dean of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. She holds the Anna H. Bing Dean’s Chair and a faculty appointment in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
As the leader of the largest, oldest, and most academically diverse school at USC, Miller is responsible for an institution composed of roughly 1,700 faculty and staff and more than 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students. She oversees an annual budget of more than $500 million, which supports operations across 814,000 square feet of research space in 56 buildings, a research enterprise that generates almost $100 million in annual expenditures, and a technology infrastructure that supports more than 10,000 users.
When Miller arrived at USC Dornsife in July 2016, she announced an ambitious vision to significantly expand USC Dornsife’s scholarly footprint, develop an unmatched educational experience for students, build a robust pipeline for diversity, and transform the way that universities engage with the public. She steered faculty, students, and staff through a comprehensive strategic planning process designed to vastly enhance the research mission and global impact of USC Dornsife and bring the university to a new level of elite recognition.
Miller’s signature initiative is The Academy in the Public Square, which changes the way academic expertise is made available to civic and business leaders. The centerpiece of this initiative, Public Exchange, significantly increases the accessibility and efficiency of knowledge transfer between academia and these leaders.
Before arriving at USC Dornsife, Miller served as the first Dean of Science at Columbia University. In this role, she provided leadership across Columbia’s nine natural science departments and their associated centers, including oversight of academic and faculty affairs, facilities, and fundraising. Miller produced the first strategic plan for the future of science in recent history, which became the strategic planning template for the divisions of humanities and social sciences. She also played a key role in developing leadership and management plans for a number of interdisciplinary initiatives across the university. As professor of physics, Miller led the Experimental Cosmology group.
Dean Miller’s research centers on the study of relic signatures from the Big Bang, with the goal of understanding the origin and evolution of the universe. She also has an active research program in atmospheric physics. She leads teams of experimentalists to design, build, deploy, and analyze data from novel telescopes that facilitate observations in these two distinct fields.
Miller is also engaged in issues at the interface of science and policy. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Pacific Council on International Policy, and she served as the chief science adviser to the New York Police Department Counterterrorism Bureau for two years. She is currently pursuing a number of initiatives at USC Dornsife designed to create policy solutions based on sound scientific information.
She has published more than 100 scientific papers and is a fellow of the American Physical Society. Her honors include a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, a Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award, and a Hubble Fellowship. She received her Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University and her B.A. in physics and astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley.
Streamlined Access to Academic Expertise
As the founder of Public Exchange, Dean Miller guided the development of a new model for bringing the full range of academic expertise that lives at research universities to bear on challenges faced by leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.