School of Communication Associate Director Imre Meszaros wins top dissertation award at USC Rossier School of Education

By Jackson DeMos

While balancing duties as a school administrator, husband, father and student in the Doctor of Education program at the Rossier School of Education, newly promoted Associate Director of the School of Communication Imre Meszaros found the time to earn a Dissertation of the Year award at Rossier.

Meszaros said the best part of winning the award for his research on The Political Economy of California School District Parcel Tax Elections was being able to finish his studies on a high note before graduation. He already earned a Master's in International Relations from USC in 1988 and wanted to finish strong on his Ed.D., which he said would be his final degree. He has worked at USC Annenberg for the past three years as the assistant director of USC Annenberg's School of Communication.

"My advice to any student is to work on projects that are interesting, not projects you think are going to be beneficial to yourself or others," he said. "The reason I started on this degree was not because of the credential, but I wanted to study something interesting and continue learning. Don’t be afraid to go back to school. If you’re interested in doing something new, just go for it and make it work out. Grab the opportunities and do what you want to do."

In his dissertation, he said that the school district parcel tax referendum has not  been widely used even though most such measures placed on the ballot have passed with the required two-thirds supermajority.

"This study describes the characteristics of districts that place parcel taxes on the ballot and that account for the election outcomes," he wrote. "It also provides information to school district officials interested in assessing the likelihood of a successful parcel tax measure in their district and to policymakers considering the likely effect of a reduction in the threshold for passage to 55 percent."

Meszaros' supervisor at USC Annenberg, School of Communication Director Larry Gross, had high praise for Meszaros and his latest achievement.

"Imre is a model academic administrator – thoughtful, careful, inventive, and sensitive to the importance of balancing the needs of students and those of the school so that everyone benefits," Gross said. "It is not surprising, therefore, that he has been enrolled in the Rossier School’s doctoral program in educational leadership, and it is also not surprising — though certainly gratifying — to learn that he has won the School’s Dissertation of the Year award."

The Political Economy of California School District Parcel Tax Elections