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Provost C.L. Max Nikias Announces the Establishment of the USC U.S. - China Institute

The original memo is available here (1.5 mb pdf).

To: Academic Deans, Faculty, and Staff
From: C.L. Max Nikias
Date: October 10, 2006 
Subject: USC U.S. - China Institute

On behalf of President Sample, I am delighted to announce the creation of the USC U.S.-China Institute.  This interdisciplinary research institute will produce rigorous, policy-relevant social science research that focuses on the U.S.-China relationship.  It will also work to attract top faculty, Ph.D. students, and post-doctoral students in various disciplines who are studying this relationship.  The institute will develop innovative courses and will create interdisciplinary degree and certificate programs, as well as new areas of study for Ph.D. students.  The institute will have a university-wide scope, bringing together scholars from all disciplines and schools, and will report directly to the Office of the Provost.

USC is in an exceptional position to become an international leader in the area of U.S.-China relations, and this institute is an outstanding step in this direction.  It will strive to position itself as the most authoritative resource for scholars, policy makers, government officials, and journalists seeking information on research, trends, and issues related to China and its relationship to the United States.

Among research centers and think tanks, this institute will be distinctive.  There are few—if any—university-based research institutes that focus on policy-relevant social science work relating to U.S.-China ties.  Some leading universities have China or Asia centers, but many focus on historical studies or the humanities, with less emphasis on the social sciences.  Meanwhile, think tanks studying this relationship cannot match USC’s interdisciplinary environment, let alone involve students in the research effort or take the results into a wide variety of classrooms.  Moreover, the institute’s publications, public events, and professional development efforts will foster greater popular understanding of the complex and evolving relationship.

The institute will host various categories of fellows each year, including (1) resident fellows drawn from USC; (2) visiting and affiliated fellows from across the United States, China, and the world; (3) media, business, and policy fellows drawn from those working in the region; (4) post-doctoral fellows; and (5) USC graduate fellows working in this area.

The USC U.S.-China Institute will have a physical location on our campuses, providing scholars and other fellows a place to interact and collaborate.  The institute will work with a range of schools and units, including the East Asian Studies Center, the Center for International Business Education and Research, and the Pacific Council on International Policy.  It will host conferences and events, and affiliate with appropriate entities and scholars in China and the United States.

An international search for the institute’s faculty director is underway.  Clayton Dube, recruited from UCLA, is providing leadership as associate director.  Dube is best known for his service as the UCLA Asia Institute’s assistant director.  During his tenure there, he headed the Asian studies teacher training program and oversaw a variety of instructional, research, and outreach initiatives.  Among the projects he directed were two student-driven web publications, AsiaMedia and Asia Pacific Arts, each of which now has more than one million readers annually.  Dube brings with him to USC more than $700,000 in grants to support the institute’s teacher training program.

Dube’s research has focused on how economic and political change in China since 1900 affected the lives of people in small towns.  He has taught Asian and world history at several colleges and has written teaching guides on Chinese history.  He served as associate editor for Modern China, an academic quarterly published by Sage Publications, from 1998 to 2002.  Dube first visited China in 1982, living and working there for three years.  He has since returned many times to carry out fieldwork and to lead study tours.

In his new role at the USC U.S.-China Institute, Dube will work with the institute’s steering committee and with leaders across the university to:

•     identify and recruit top-flight faculty, building on the university’s existing
     strengths in contemporary Chinese studies and addressing gaps in our coverage of issues integral to U.S.-China relations;
•     ensure that the interdisciplinary scholarship sponsored by the institute is rigorous, cutting-edge, and accessible to policy makers, the media, and others;
•     oversee the selection of the institute’s fellows;
•     pursue affiliations with leading universities in the United States, China, and abroad;
•     organize conferences and events;
•     facilitate the integration of the research with educational programs for undergraduate and graduate students, including internships, the production of publications, and study abroad initiatives; 
•     work with the provost and the university’s development staff on fundraising and grant proposals.

The institute will also draw on the expertise of its Board of Scholars.  This board consists of some of the most distinguished scholars working in this field.

I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge Vice President Elizabeth Garrett for her leadership role in the formation of the USC U.S.-China Institute.  She put together an interdisciplinary team and worked closely with me and other members of the USC academic community.  Her creative ideas and excellent energy proved instrumental in the establishment of this institute.  I also want to thank Howard Gillman, associate vice provost for research advancement, and Jim Ellis, senior executive director for global initiatives, for their tremendous contributions and outstanding work.

Upcoming Conference
On April 20-21, the USC U.S.-China Institute will host its inaugural conference, entitled “The Future of U.S.-China Relations.”  In addition to the keynote address by a prominent figure in U.S.-China diplomatic history, leading scholars will present original work focusing on state-to-state relations; energy and environment; economic change and prospects for businesses; growing inequality within China; popular culture; and political reform.  Among the confirmed participants are David Dollar (World Bank), Edward Friedman (Wisconsin), Andrew Nathan (Columbia), Geremie Barmé (Australia National University), Guo Liang (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), Elizabeth Economy (Council on Foreign Relations), and David Zweig (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology).  In addition to this conference, the institute is sponsoring a series of public lectures and plans to underwrite several research workshops.

Drawing on USC’s Strengths
In creating this institute, USC leverages several of its strengths, perhaps most notably its location in Los Angeles, the heart of the Pacific Rim.  USC already has significant ties to China.  More than 1,600 students from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong currently study at USC, and we have international offices in Taipei and Hong Kong. 

In May, the USC Board of Trustees visited China, making stops in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.  During that trip, President Sample announced the creation of this institute on May 23, along with trustees Herb Klein and Ronnie Chan, both of whom will serve as advisers to the institute.  Klein’s long-standing involvement in U.S.-China relations will surely prove invaluable.  In 1973, he and Dr. Henry Kissinger represented the United States in three days of personal discussions with Chou En-lai covering U.S.-China relations after the ceasefire in Vietnam.  He is also a graduate of the USC School of Journalism.

Meanwhile, several USC schools have executive and other training programs that have allowed the university to establish connections throughout China.  These programs include an MBA offered in Shanghai by the Marshall School of Business, advanced training programs for public health officials overseen by the Keck School of Medicine, and executive training programs for municipal public officials offered by the School of Policy, Planning, and Development.

Moreover, USC has numerous researchers making important contributions to our understanding of key issues facing China.  We have talented and dedicated faculty working in important fields, including public health, aging, migration and natural resources, popular culture, education, urban development, public diplomacy, and economic reform.  This institute will facilitate this work and add another dimension to it, exploring the implications of these developments on the U.S.-China relationship.  These efforts will provide a solid foundation for informed policy making, for programs and practices that improve lives and foster enhanced understanding of contemporary China.

USC is a founding member of the Association of the Pacific Rim Universities and home to the USC East Asian Studies Center, the USC Center for International Business Education and Research, and the Pacific Council on International Policy, an independent leadership forum.  Each of these assets will surely strengthen and shape the institute.

Our Strategic Plan
Establishing the U.S.-China Institute is a critical move for USC.  It clearly answers a number of objectives in our strategic plan, including: expanding our global presence, meeting societal needs, building networks and partnerships, and spanning disciplinary and school boundaries. 

The institute’s creation is a proactive response to China’s growing importance.  Every day, leading newspapers have at least one story focused on China—its ascent as an economic and military power, the strains of various internal conflicts, the uncertainty surrounding the status of Taiwan, its quest for natural resources, and its influence in Asia and Latin America.  In 2005, China’s economy grew by nearly 10 percent, making it the world’s fifth largest economy and presenting tremendous opportunities and challenges for American companies.  In this dynamic environment, the relationship between the United States and China will affect both countries profoundly and shape the course of world events.

USC must assume a leadership role in studying these changes and exploring the opportunities and challenges they present.  We stand at an important juncture in our country’s history, and the creation of the USC U.S.-China Institute reflects President Sample’s commitment to a mission that is socially relevant, creative, and forward-thinking.

USC U.S.-China Institute
Members of the Steering Committee

Carolyn Cartier
Associate Professor, Geography
College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Iris Chi
Golden Age Association Frances Wu Professor for Chinese Elderly
School of Social Work

Clayton Dube
Associate Director, U.S.-China Institute
Office of the Provost

Jim Ellis
Senior Executive Director for Global Initiatives
Office of the Provost

Elizabeth Garrett
Vice President for Academic Planning and Budget
Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, Political Science, and Policy, Planning, and Development
Gould School of Law and College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Howard Gillman
Associate Vice Provost for Research Advancement
Professor, Political Science, History, and Law
College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Chaibong Hahm
Director, Korea Studies Institute
Professor, International Relations
College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Eric Heikkila
Professor, Policy, Planning, and Development
Director of SPPD International Initiative
School of Policy, Planning, and Development

C. Anderson Johnson
Sidney Garfield Professor of Preventive Medicine
Director, Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research
Keck School of Medicine

Audrey Yen-hui Li
Chair, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Professor, Chinese Language and Culture
College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Daniel Lynch
Associate Professor, International Relations
College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Stanley Rosen
Director, East Asian Studies Center
Professor, Political Science
College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Jean Shih
University Professor and Boyd and Elsie Welin Professor, Molecular Pharmacology & Toxicology
School of Pharmacy

Guofu Tan
Professor, Economics
College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Anna Wu
Professor, Preventive Medicine
Keck School of Medicine

USC U.S.-China Institute
Board of Scholars

William Alford 
Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law
Vice Dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies
Director of East Asian Legal Studies
Harvard Law School

Richard Baum
Professor, Political Science
Director-Emeritus, Center for Chinese Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

June Teufel Dreyer
Professor, Political Science
University of Miami

Edward Friedman
Hawkins Chair Professor of Political Science
University of Wisconsin

Thomas Gold
Associate Dean of International and Area Studies
Associate Professor, Sociology
Executive Director of the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies
University of California, Berkeley

Merle Goldman
Professor Emerita, History
Boston University
Research Fellow at The Fairbank Center for East Asian Research 
Harvard University

Harry Harding
University Professor of International Affairs
The Elliot School of International Affairs
The George Washington University 
Director of Research and Analysis
The Eurasia Group

Alastair Iain Johnston
Governor James Albert Noe and Linda Noe Laine Professor of China in World Affairs, Government
Harvard University

David M. Lampton
George and Sadie Hyman Professor of China Studies 
Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
Director of Chinese Studies, The Nixon Center

Justin Yifu Lin
Professor, Peking University
Director, China Center for Economic Research, Peking University
Vice-Chairman, Committee for Economic Affairs of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference
Vice-Chairman, The All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce

Andrew J. Nathan
Class of 1919 Professor and Chair, Political Science
Columbia University

William H. Overholt
Asia Policy Chair
Director, Center for Asia Pacific Policy

Robert A. Scalapino
Robson Research Professor Emeritus, Government
Institute of East Asian Studies
University of California, Berkeley

Orville Schell
Professor, Journalism
Dean, Graduate School of Journalism University of California Berkeley

Susan Shirk
Professor, Political Science
Research Director, Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation
The Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies
University of California, San Diego

Ezra F. Vogel
Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences, Emeritus
Harvard University

Andrew G. Walder
Professor, Sociology
Director-Emeritus, Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center 
Stanford University

Dali L. Yang
Professor and Chair, Political Science
University of Chicago