USC Hosts Prospective Dornsife Dean Candidates
As the search for the new dean of the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences reaches its last stages, USC will host the final candidates on campus.
Each candidate will visit USC for two days in March to meet with students, faculty and staff before President Nikias makes the final selection.
The search began after Dean Howard Gillman announced in September that he would step down from his position after the 2011-2012 school year. After his announcement an international search for Gillman's successor quickly followed.
A committee including Gillman, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Garrett and Dana and David Dornsife assessed 174 applicants. Out of those applicants four finalist were selected: Steve Kay, Peter Bearman, Dr. Melvin Oliver and Joseph Desimone .
Kay is currently the dean of the division of biological sciences at UC San Diego.He is also a distinguished professor of cell and developmental biology at UCSD. Dr. Kay received his bachelor's degree and Ph.D in biochemistry from the University of Bristol. He is seen to have pioneered the use of large scale genomic tools to investigate the composition and structure of circadian networks.
During his visit to USC, Kay expressed his desire to transform Dornsife into “the premier institution on the Pacific Rim for scholarship, the translation of ideas for the benefit of society and for training critical thinkers and leaders.”
Bearman, is a professor of social sciences at Columbia University, and is a leading sociologist who specializes on network analysis of adolescent sexuality. Since getting his Ph. D. in sociology from Harvard University in 1985, Bearman has gone on to contribute to over 30 scholarly articles and five books. He ranges on the different topics of teenage social and sexual relationships and disease prevention. He co-designed the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, and is the founding director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research Policy. Bearman is scheduled to visit USC from March 21- 22.
Dr. Oliver is currently the SAGE Sara Miller McCune Dean of Social Sciences as well as a professor of Sociology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Before teaching at UCSB, Dr. Oliver was the Vice President at the Asset Building and Community Development Program at the Ford Foundation. Dr. Oliver taught both undergraduate and graduate courses at UCLA from 1978 to 1996. He is the recipient of several awards including, "The California Professor of the Year" (1994). Dr. Oliver is an expert in racial poverty and inequality and has co-authored the book, Black Wealth/White Wealth:A New Perspective on Racial Inequality. He currently serves on several boards including the Urban Institute in Washington D.C.
Dr. DeSimone is the Chancellor's Eminent Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as well as the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University. He is the recipient of many awards including the 2012 Waltson Chubb Award for Innovation from Sigma Xi and the 2011 Mendal Medal from Villanova University. Dr. DeSimone's major research focuses are Oncology, Respiratory, Vaccines and Colloids. Some of the DeSimone group innovations include researching advances in cancer therapy.
Whichever candidate is ultimately selected has big shoes to fill. Under Gillman’s leadership Dornsife received a historic $200-million donation from Dana and David Dornsife, as well as $76-million in external funding annually for research purposes. Also, since Gillman took the position in 2007, he's increased the graduation rate from 85 to 90 percent.
The dean of Dornsife oversees 33 academic departments and 31 research institutions and centers. Garrett stated in a letter to USC students, staff and faculty, “The 21st Dean of the Dornsife College will find a robust foundation on which to build a prodigious future.”
Students and faculty are encouraged to participate in the selection process by emailing comments about the candidates to .