University of Southern California

Marshall's Ascent Critical to University's Success
Dean Ellis Meets with Faculty, Provost; Lauds Foundation of Excellence
April 11, 2007 • by News at Marshall

April 11, 2007

The USC Marshall School of Business has great opportunities for success, thanks to a strong foundation of top faculty, facilities and programs that draw top-notch students, said newly named Marshall Dean James G. Ellis in his first meeting with the school's assembled faculty.

Ellis said he will build on that foundation, making sure the world knows about the great work the school's talented teachers are doing in both research and in the classroom.

"We do two things around here: we collect knowledge and we disseminate knowledge," Ellis said to about 100 professors. "We have some of the absolute best scholars in the world in this room. Whatever we need to do to support them, I'm for it."

Marshall is "really good at what it's doing globally," Ellis said, pointing to programs such as PRIME and GLOBE, and the undergraduate LINC and GLP that sent about 40 percent of the freshman class to China this Spring Break.

"We're training those kids to be global leaders," Ellis said. "We need to continue that and to build on that."

The school is loaded with innovative and creative faculty and programs, Ellis said, and that approach, as exemplified by its strong entrepreneurial sensibility and programs, needs to be emphasized in developing the school's brand.

Ellis also promised an enhanced focus on the full-time MBA program, in part because its reputation and rankings in various publications help drive public perceptions of the entire school nationwide and even internationally.

"We spend a lot of life these days driven by these silly rankings," Ellis said. "I don't like it but it impacts us."

In introducing Ellis to the group, Provost C.L. Max Nikias reiterated the importance of Marshall's success to the continued rise in regard for the entire university, an opinion he said was shared by USC President Steven B. Sample.

"There's no way we keep going at USC without ensuring the ascent of Marshall," Nikias said. With a quarter of USC's undergraduates and 40 percent of its 200,000 alumni, the school is too big and too central to the entire university to be ignored or overlooked. And the selection of Ellis, most recently USC's vice provost for globalization, returns a leader to the school who can bridge its twin worlds of research and clinical practice.

"He combines the business and academic experience very well," Nikias said.

The provost made a point of thanking Interim Dean Thomas Gilligan for his service to the school over the past 14 months.

"We're all very grateful to Tom Gilligan," Nikias said. "At a moment of crisis, he stepped up to the plate."

Under Gilligan, USC Marshall dramatically increased fund-raising; improved and expanded alumni networks; renovated two of its four buildings to recruit and retain top research talent; hired a number of world-class faculty; reduced class sizes; started programs to send students to China and to provide free business consulting for neighborhood startups; raised the quality of its admitted students; raised job-placement rates and average salaries for its graduates; and reorganized and reinvigorated key support units.

Nikias also announced that the faculty committee that led the search for a new dean will continue to be involved in advising Ellis on crucial matters affecting the school.

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.