Exciting Next Steps for the Iovine and Young Academy

In just a few short years the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation has become a key part of USC’s strategic efforts to accelerate invention and innovation. In recognition of its remarkable accomplishments to date and its promise for the future, I am pleased to announce that President Nikias has named Erica Muhl, currently dean of the Roski School of Art and Design and director of the Academy, the inaugural dean of the USC Iovine and Young Academy beginning July 1, 2018.

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. In order to devote full time to the Academy as it takes its next critical steps, Dean Muhl has decided not to seek another term as dean of USC Roski when her current term expires June 30, 2018. I will appoint a search committee this fall to begin a national search for the next dean of the Roski School.

With its focus on creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration, the Iovine and Young Academy has attracted broad support from industry and acclaim in the media. Academy students have received national academic awards and won top competitive internships and prizes from leading U.S. companies, including Microsoft, Facebook, and Intel. The student cohort is diverse, and the percentage of women is almost three times the national average for technology-related programs. Recently, rising seniors in the program launched the Academy’s first student start-up supported by extensive external investment — a project that has been recently heralded by technology and business writers for its remarkable early-stage successes.

Under Dean Muhl’s leadership, USC Roski has continued to grow its esteemed faculty by appointing some of the most eminent artists and scholars in the country, including Edgar Arceneaux, Nao Bustamante, Patty Chang, Amelia Jones, Suzanne Lacy, Keith Mayerson, Kori Newkirk and, as a USC Judge Widney Professor, Mary Kelly. These hires affirm the importance of the school’s traditional disciplinary core, while adding renown in new areas such as critical studies, public and social practice, and performance. The ranks of tenured faculty and the size of the full-time faculty as a whole have now reached historic peaks, and both the faculty and student bodies are more diverse.

The MFA and MA programs are attracting full cohorts of top artists and scholars to study at the school, and the school’s first new graduate program in many years, the MFA in Design, will begin recruiting this year. USC Roski’s generous merit aid program for graduate students has been further augmented by a number of new gifts under Dean Muhl’s leadership. Gifts to endow scholarships at the undergraduate level have increased merit aid in those programs by two-thirds, and newly endowed prizes and awards are facilitating student art and design projects through provision of materials and other resources, including funds for international travel.

Please join me in congratulating Dean Muhl on her many accomplishments and the well-earned distinction of becoming the inaugural dean of the USC Iovine and Young Academy.

Cc: C. L. Max Nikias
Academic Senate
Academic Deans
President’s Cabinet
Provost’s Cabinet