As the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences evolves its image, academic content and administration, its leadership is reaching out to students and constituents more often, Executive Vice Provost Michael Quick said.
The school held a forum Tuesday to ask students what they wanted the search committee to look for in a new dean, as current Dean Howard Gillman will step down at the end of the year. Earlier in the semester, USC Dornsife College held forums on how the school should rebrand itself in light of the $200-million donation.
Quick said student forums are integral because many internal discussions spring from issues students bring up.
“The undergraduates had good suggestions about how to better position the university relative to the role in the community,” Quick said. “They had a lot of input on GE’s and how to think about general education as a part of preparing students for the 21st century. Our internal discussions have been based on that, thinking about those kinds of issues.”
Some students said they are skeptical about how much administration values their input. Hayley Sherman, a sophomore majoring in international relations said it is difficult for students to know what qualities the new dean should have.
“I don’t really know what a dean does,” Sherman said. “I don’t know if students have the time or interest to go to forums so maybe that’s not the best option.”
Despite student hesitations, Quick said administration is looking to understand the qualities and characteristics students’ value and want to see in the school’s leadership.
“Maybe an undergraduate doesn’t have the full idea of what a dean even is.” Quick said. “I don’t think you need to know the whole job description to have an opinion on what kind of person the dean should be.”
Some students said they are thankful that administration cares enough to ask.
“It is really interesting that my role within the college is not lost among the many students,” said Alexa Pace, a junior majoring in psychology. “This shows that they care about individual students.”