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Public Administration, Urban Planning Combine Forces

Professor of public administration Robert P. Biller will lead the new School of Policy, Planning, and Development as its interim dean.

photo: Irene Fertik

Usc trustees have voted to combine the schools of public administration and urban planning and development to form a new school – the School of Policy, Planning, and Development.

“It’s a wonderful outcome that opens many exciting opportunities for the faculty of the new school as well as the university,” said Provost Lloyd Armstrong Jr.

University officials hope that members of the newly combined faculty will be in a better position to capitalize on their Southern California location to address policy issues of international importance, such as public management, public policy, health care, immigration, transportation, real estate and economic development, and urban and regional planning.

The consolidation also is expected to bring additional prominence and resources to USC’s educational programs and research projects that involve the interrelation of the public, private and nonprofit sectors. College guides have consistently ranked the former schools of urban planning and development and public administration among the top 10 in the nation.

“This move will create a larger, more competitive enterprise capable of influencing the key public policy and management issues that are critical to our time,” said Robert Biller, professor of public administration and interim dean of the School of Policy, Planning, and Development.

“Separately, each school has had great strengths but limited impact,” said Tridib Banerjee, professor of planning and vice dean for the new school. “Together we now have the opportunity to become the national leader in inventing new methods for government, business and community to work together to enhance the common good.”

The new school begins the academic year with 45 tenure-track faculty members, 1,200 students, 11,000 alumni and a combined endowment of close to $44 million.

Temporarily, the faculty of the former urban planning and development and public administration schools will continue to be located mostly in the Von KleinSmid Center. Ultimately, the new school will be housed in Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall, a state-of-the-art facility under construction at what will be the new primary entrance for the University Park Campus on Exposition Boulevard. Lewis Hall, which was planned before the consolidation, is scheduled for completion next summer. School officials are contemplating an addition to the building.

Scott Bice, dean of the USC Law School, will chair the search committee for the new school’s permanent dean. School officials hope to fill the vacancy by the start of the 1999-2000 academic year.

Jane G. Pisano, former dean of the School of Public Administration, was promoted earlier this year to the position of senior vice president for external relations. Pisano will remain a professor of public administration in the new school.

Edward J. Blakely, former dean of the School of Urban Planning and Development, will also serve on the faculty of the new school as a professor of planning and development.

The consolidation, first discussed by the faculty in October 1997, is expected to strengthen the research and professional activities of USC faculty specializing in the intersection of the public, private and nonprofit sectors. The new school is in the process of founding a research institute that will examine public-private partnerships across a range of fields, including health care, government and business. Its tentative name: the Institute for Civic Enterprise.

The former Lusk Center for Real Estate Development in the School of Urban Planning and Develop-ment has been reorganized into a university-wide research unit that will be available for use by faculty and students from all schools at USC. The new Lusk Center for Real Estate will be jointly administered by the School of Policy, Planning, and Development and the USC Marshall School of Business.

The School of Policy, Planning, and Development also will assume administration of the Center for Health Policy and Management, a think tank for trends in health-care administration that was previously administered by the School of Public Administration.

The new school will continue the highly ranked master’s degree programs offered by both former schools, including master’s of public administration, health administration, public policy, international public policy and management, planning, real estate development, and planning and development studies.

Also preserved are undergraduate and doctoral programs offered by both former schools.

In the U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools guide for 1998, USC’s School of Public Administration tied with schools at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Michigan for eighth place among the nation’s top schools of public affairs. The college guide did not rank schools of urban planning; however, in the Gourman Report, another multipurpose college guide, USC’s School of Urban Planning ranked first in the nation among undergraduate programs in 1996 and third in the nation among graduate programs in 1997.

Ralph Lewis, a 1946 graduate of USC’s Marshall School of Business, and his wife, Goldy, are co-founders of Lewis Homes, one of the nation’s largest residential real estate development companies. Lewis Hall, originally designed for the School of Urban Planning and Development, will be a three-story, 34,000-square-foot brick and concrete building. It was designed by the Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership, a Portland-based architectural firm whose credits include the Katherine B. Loker Wing of the Loker Hydrocarbon Institute at USC. The firm is also handling the ongoing redesign of Exposition Park.

Public Administration, Urban Planning Combine Forces

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