Roski dean to become dean at Iovine and Young

Photo courtesy of Steve Cohn

Erica Muhl, dean of the USC Roski School of Art and Design, will not renew her deanship when her term expires in 2018, and will transition into her role as the inaugural dean of the Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation.

Muhl is scheduled to transition after her Roski deanship concludes. Provost Quick has appointed a task force committee to begin a nationwide search for the next dean of the Roski School this fall.

As the founding executive director of the Iovine and Young Academy in May 2013, Muhl has contributed to the Academy’s growth since she was appointed in Fall 2014. Muhl also contributed to the launch of Design@USC, an online program which offers a Master of Science in integrated design, business and technology.

“The Academy will take a leap forward in scope in the next few months with the groundbreaking of its new building and the launch of its first graduate program,” said Quick in a letter addressed to faculty, staff and students at Roski. “In order to devote full time to the Academy as it takes its critical next steps, Dean Muhl has decided not to seek another term as dean of USC Roski as her current term expires.”

In May 2015, Muhl faced criticism when all seven of Roski Master’s of Fine Arts students withdrew from the school, protesting curriculum and funding changes, loss of faculty and Muhl’s appointment. The Roski School has also dropped in its national U.S. News and World Report rankings — from No. 36 in 2012 for its MFA program to No. 69 in 2016.

Since the controversy, Muhl has appointed internationally recognized artists and scholars to Roski’s faculty and increased the number of Roski’s tenured faculty by 18 percent. She has also raised both full- and part-time salaries since 2013.

This fall, Muhl, along with faculty committees, will be rolling out Roski’s recrafted curriculum. Renewed for bachelor’s degrees in both art and design, the curriculum maintains Roski’s strong studio model while allowing students to more easily craft cross-media and cross-disciplinary practices. The new program will also provide select students access to work closely with faculty members and learn in a mentorship program.

Over the last three years, there has been a 26 percent overall increase in Roski applications and a nearly 20 percent increase in enrolled students. New gifts to provide undergraduate scholarships have increased merit aid for students by 66 percent. Facilities have also been taken into consideration, with $750,000 in upgrades and renovations since 2012.

“I’m tremendously proud of all we have accomplished together,” Muhl said in a letter regarding her time at USC Roski. “Our students are already profiting from the deep investment in the growth and increasing diversity of the faculty body, new programs, student aid, facilities and pre- and post-graduation opportunities.”

Terry Nguyen contributed to this report.