“It’s flattering to have been asked to join this very prestigious organization,” Dean Wilson said. “What excites me is that it is a reflection of the tremendous achievements of the students, faculty and staff here at USC Annenberg.”
There have been countless accomplishments during Dean Wilson’s almost five-year tenure at USC Annenberg. To name a few:
- An addition of 29 exceptional faculty members, including transformational professors such as Henry Jenkins
- An enhancement to both the curriculum and student experience, including the addition of a sports minor, a new sports and society focus in the M.A. in Specialized Journalism degree, and the start of a Media, Economics & Entrepreneurship program that prepares students to understand changes in their industries through courses, research and collaboration
- A focus on innovation, including the launch of the Annenberg Innovation Lab
- A strengthened commitment to international programs and partnerships, including new or expanded undergraduate and graduate study abroad/internship opportunities in countries such as Ireland, China, South Africa and England, and the addition of the USC U.S.-China Institute to USC Annenberg’s arsenal of centers and programs
- A host of national and international awards, including in just the last month: the second consecutive USC Annenberg student named student journalist of the year by the National Association of Black Journalists; University Professor and Wallis Annenberg Chair holder Manuel Castells winning the $775,000 Holberg International Memorial Prize; “Impact” winning the College Television Award – the equivalent of an Emmy; and the School of Journalism winning AEJMC’s national Equity & Diversity Award
- A $50 million gift from the Annenberg Foundation to support a new state-of-the-art building with groundbreaking set for Nov. 8
“To me, the exciting part is the growth and trajectory of the Annenberg School,” Dean Wilson said. “I’m delighted about the recognition for what the School is doing, and I hope it gives me a platform to speak about the ongoing dramatic innovations that we’re all pursuing here at USC Annenberg.”
Ideas for more growth and opportunities for incoming students are constantly being hatched and fine-tuned, but one area that Dean Wilson sees expanding across the School is the creation of new opportunities for shared experiences among students across USC.
“As the communication professions converge, it has become imperative that we provide all students with common experiences in the classroom, labs and programs,” he said. “Students tell us they value the perspectives they gain from interacting with students and faculty outside their degree program.”
USC Annenberg held its first “One School, One Book” program this year where USC Annenberg students and faculty joined professor Jenkins to discuss his book, “Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide,” which examines media convergence, participatory culture and collective intelligence. Dean Wilson called the book essential reading for any future or current communication, journalism or public relations professional.
Future common experiences will occur in places such as classrooms and laboratories designed to include students from across the university so they can work together to solve problems they might see in their future careers.
Dean Wilson said these opportunities are just a few examples of what he calls the “Annenberg advantage” in action.
“We really are among the best in the field and we can take risks others can’t take,” Dean Wilson said. “This nomination makes a statement about what we’re doing here in terms of our innovation and our forward-looking approach to these topics.”