Jack H. Knott, professor of public policy and management at the University of Illinois, has been named dean of the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, effective Aug. 15.
Knott succeeds Daniel Mazmanian, who will step down at the end of June after serving a five-year term as dean.
Announcing Knott’s appointment on behalf of USC President Steven B. Sample, Provost C.L. Max Nikias said: “Jack is, I believe, the perfect choice to build on Dean Mazmanian’s accomplishments. We look forward to his leadership of this school, which, with its focus on societal issues, has great potential to contribute to the goals outlined in our Strategic Plan for the university.”
Knott has been on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Chicago since 1997. He directed the university’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs and held a joint appointment as professor of political science at Urbana-Champaign.
“The school has outstanding faculty and staff and a wonderful potential,” Knott said of SPPD. “I’m particularly excited about the fact that its programs reflect the actual governance in society.
“Governance is a mixture of private and public interests, as well as local and global. The school reflects all these aspects, and therefore I feel it will be a national and international leader.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to provide leadership for such a school.”
Knott also said he was excited about the school’s undergraduate and graduate programs, the variety of degree options, the quality and diversity of the student body and the number of international students. He pointed to possibilities for cross-disciplinary efforts.
“Policy and planning are really multidisciplinary and open up areas for collaboration with many other units on campus,” Knott said. The reputation of the university was another strong positive factor, he noted.
“I see USC as a major, first-rate research university that has made an important commitment to also care about community and society,” Knott said, adding that he was very impressed with the international and global links the university has formed, particularly around the Pacific Rim.
Before joining the University of Illinois, Knott taught at Michigan State University and held visiting professorships at the University of Arizona and the University of Warwick in the U.K. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from UC Berkeley, a master of arts in economics and comparative politics from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor of arts in history from Calvin College.
The USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development educates and trains leaders who can create multidisciplinary approaches to the challenging and complex issues of governing, managing and building contemporary urban communities.
SPPD offers six professional master’s degree programs, in Public Policy, Public Administration, Planning, Real Estate Development, Health Administration and International Public Policy and Management; two doctoral level programs; and an undergraduate major, the Bachelor of Science in Public Policy, Management, and Planning. Most of the school’s research is conducted through its centers, institutes and research groups, which include the country’s first Homeland Security Center of Excellence, awarded to SPPD and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, the nation’s premier Latino think tank.
Other SPPD research centers include the Institute for Civic Enterprise; the Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy; the Center for Health Financing, Policy and Management; the Civic Engagement Initiative; the Lusk Center for Real Estate, which contains the Keston Institute for Infrastructure and the Casden Forecast; METRANS, a two-university transportation research center; and, within the Urban Growth and Development Group, the Center for Economic Development and the Population Dynamics Research Group.