Deb Lawler is Senior Associate Dean for Administration at USC Annenberg. In this role, she directs the day-to-day operations of the school and the Office of the Dean. She oversees all hiring and ensures compliance with university policies. In addition, she manages the financial operations of both the USC Annenberg School of Communication and the USC Annenberg School of Journalism and directs a broad range of special projects and initiatives on behalf of the dean.
Lawler came to USC in 2002, where she served under former Dean Geoffrey Cowan until 2008 through the end of his deanship. Lawler was then appointed Assistant Director of USC Annenberg’s new Center for Communication Leadership & Policy where she helped to launch the new Center, ensuring the smooth and efficient administrative and financial operations of the organization.
She returned to USC Annenberg Dean’s Office in 2010 as chief of staff and director of administration for then-Dean Ernest J. Wilson III, where she was responsible for the overall planning and management of the Dean’s Office and School administration. She left USC Annenberg in 2012 to serve President C. L. Max Nikias as deputy chief of staff in the USC Office of the President where she was responsible for the preparation of all presidential briefings, policy development and compliance and management of confidential projects and requests related to the president. She also served as principal staff advisor to the President’s Chief of Staff. She again returned to USC Annenberg to work with then-Director, Willow Bay, as her director of finance and administration from 2014 – 2017.
Before joining USC in 2002, Lawler spent eight years in the ‘Big Six’ accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand in both tax and audit departments, most recently as a senior associate. There, she supervised the financial accounting operations of their Process Management Group including management of the billing administration for all Resolution Trust Corporation contracts in the Western Region and was personally responsible for government billings and collections in excess of $10 million.
Lawler has a master’s in communication management and a BA in communication from USC Annenberg.