Transition at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

May 29, 2024

Dear USC Dornsife faculty, staff, and students, 

I write today to share the bittersweet news that Dr. Amber Miller will step down as the Anna H. Bing Dean of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences effective June 15, 2024, to become the president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Though I will miss her as a colleague, I am thrilled for Dean Miller as she moves into the next phase of her leadership career at the helm of a pathbreaking foundation dedicated to solving global problems. 

Dornsife is the largest, oldest, and most academically diverse school at USC with approximately 1,700 faculty and staff, as well as more than 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Throughout her eight-year tenure at USC Dornsife as the first female dean, Dean Miller has executed an ambitious vision for the College by expanding Dornsife’s research goals, enhancing the student focus of its programs, increasing philanthropy, and creating new and creative ways for USC to engage more deeply with the public and society. 

Together with her cabinet of divisional deans, college deans, and senior staff leaders, Dean Miller has amplified and enhanced the university’s overall academic mission and reputation through recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty in all fields; development of innovative new partnerships to grow research and educational facilities; and increased federal funding in a highly competitive time.

Dean Miller has done much to enhance Dornsife’s academic enterprise. To make university research expertise available to the public, she launched a number of pioneering initiatives to address societal grand challenges, including the Academy in the Public Square, which includes the creation of Public Exchange™, the Center for the Political Future (CPF), and the Dornsife-wide Sustainability: Human Factors initiative. To increase Ph.D. student competitiveness on the job market, Dean Miller created the first-of-its-kind Ph.D. Academy to provide training in leadership, management, communication, and cross-disciplinary collaboration. These are but a few of her many initiatives designed to build bridges not only across the academy but across industry and the public sector. Of special interest to her has been working with her colleagues to launch innovative programs to address the complex issue of climate change and sustainability. 

Prior to USC, Dean Miller served as the dean of science for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University from 2011 to 2016. She is a highly recognized astrophysicist and American Physical Society fellow with more than 100 scientific papers including seminal work on the origin of the universe. Her many honors include an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, a Hubble Fellowship, and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award. Dean Miller received her Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago.

I will soon announce an interim dean to aid a smooth transition for the College. I am grateful that Dean Miller has built a strong cabinet who will help us continue to lead the university’s largest academic unit into the next academic year and well into the future. I know I speak for so many of her colleagues in saying how much I have enjoyed working with Dean Miller. She has been an important part of the university, and given her background, collaborative spirit, rigor, and dedication to creative problem solving, we all know the Hewlett Foundation has identified the perfect new leader.

Please join me in thanking Dean Miller for her many years of leadership and dedication to Dornsife and to the university, and in wishing her continued success in her new role.

Andrew T. Guzman
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs