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Mazmanian named academic director of USC Schwarzenegger Institute

His expertise in energy and the environment makes him the ‘perfect choice,’ former governor says

by Matthew Kredell

The USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy has added USC Price School of Public Policy professor and environmental policy expert Dan Mazmanian as academic director, bolstering its efforts to advance research and student education on climate change.

“I am so pleased to have Dan Mazmanian join my institute as our academic director,” said Arnold Schwarzenegger, chair of the institute and Governor Downey Professor of State and Global Policy at USC. “He is a perfect choice for so many reasons, especially with his expertise in environment, energy and climate change, which is an important focus of our institute.”

Mazmanian boasts extensive administrative experience. He came to USC as dean of what is now the Price School in 2000, serving in the position for five years. He then was founding director of the USC Bedrosian Center on Governance and the Public Enterprise. For the past two years, he has served as director of new initiatives at USC Price’s Center for Sustainable Cities.

In 2013, Mazmanian spoke at a discussion sponsored by the Schwarzenegger Institute, which is housed at USC Price, on the National Climate Assessment draft report, and he discovered how the institute is able to spotlight faculty and their work.

“The Schwarzenegger Institute provides a unique forum for policy dialogue and mutual learning among our faculty, students, the public and policymakers,” Mazmanian said. “We are thrilled that Gov. Schwarzenegger is making this possible for us here at USC.”

Longtime ties

New academic director Dan Mazmanian

USC Price Professor Dan Mazmanian (Photo/courtesy of USC Price)

Mazmanian also has a history of collaborating with Schwarzenegger. As governor of California, Schwarzenegger stepped to the forefront in leading the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions when he signed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. To analyze California’s adaptation to climate change, Schwarzenegger later engaged a state advisory panel on climate change adaptation in 2010, with Mazmanian directing the task force.

“I worked with him and his team then,” Mazmanian said, “and now I will again as academic director of his institute.

“There are additional issues important to the institute, though my appointment underscores the centrality of climate change policy and sustainability,” he added. “We will be emphasizing the political, economic and cultural changes that are going to be required not just in California, but the nation and the rest of the world in both mitigating and adapting to climate change.”

Mazmanian’s expertise will come into play with his contribution to the “Global Climate Negotiations: Lessons From California” symposium, featuring Schwarzenegger and Gov. Jerry Brown. The event, co-sponsored by the Schwarzenegger Institute, will take place on Sept. 8 in Sacramento.

Developing a strategy for the future

Mazmanian, who compiled a list of relevant research to be included in the symposium program distributed to leaders in attendance, will moderate a discussion on the climate change challenge in California and estimates on the cost of inaction.

“I am looking forward to working with Dan, who I believe will enable us to have an even greater impact,” said Bonnie Reiss, who serves as global director of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute. “Arnold views USC as being a partner, so having an academic director who has been at USC so long and been dean of the Price School will be helpful in connecting us to all the other influential faculty and resources throughout the Price School and USC in general.”

Mazmanian said that one of his first courses of action would be to convene a planning group to help develop a multiyear strategy for the institute. He also intends to cultivate more faculty and students interested in studying the key thematic policy issues of the institute, with a goal of providing greater opportunities for scholarly research.

“Dr. Mazmanian’s impressive research and experience on sustainability and climate change strongly align with the direction of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute,” USC Price Dean Jack H. Knott said. “We look forward to his leadership in advancing the research and scholarly agenda of the institute and to provide research opportunities for both faculty and students.”

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