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USC Academic Senate Executive Board Elections 2021

Each faculty member (full-time, part-time, and retired) will receive an email link to the electronic ballot on April 26, and will have until 5:00 pm on May 3 to cast your ballot electronically. You will find links to candidate information on that ballot as well as this website, which includes each candidate’s short bio, a two-minute self-presentation video, and an information sheet with more detail on the candidate’s background, roles, service, and goals.

A reminder: the continuing members of the Executive Board are:

  • Past-President: Paul Adler (Marshall Business School)
  • President: Tracy Tambascia (Rossier School)
  • Secretary General:  Devon Brooks (Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

The candidates standing for election are listed here, alphabetically:

Academic Vice-President (goes on to be President then Past-President; choose one)

Gary Painter (Sol Price School of Public Policy)

Video  | Info Sheet

Gary Painter is a Professor in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California.  He also serves as the Director of the Sol Price Center for Social Innovation and the Homelessness Policy Research Institute.  He recently published a co-authored book entitled, “Payment by Results and Social Impact Bonds: Outcome-based Payment Systems in the UK and US.” He has published numerous articles in top journals such as the Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Urban Economics, Urban Studies, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Real Estate Economics, Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, and Regional Science and Urban Economics.

Professor Painter is a leading figure in the field of social innovation.  In addition to his recent book, he works extensively with a variety of social innovation organizations and collective impact networks to address some of the grand challenges that society faces.  His current research focuses on how to activate the social innovation process. Professor Painter also has extensive expertise in housing, urban economics, and education policy, which shapes his research on how the social innovation process can identify new models of social change within these complex policy areas.

He has served as a consultant for the National Association of Realtors, Pacific Economics Group, Andrew Davidson Co., Fannie Mae, Grant Thorton LLP, Burr Consulting, and the Research Institute for Housing America.

Dan Pecchenino (Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences)

Video  |  Info Sheet

Dan Pecchenino is an Associate Professor (Teaching) in the Writing Program in Dornsife College, where he primarily teaches lower-division students and researches assessment practices. He has been a member of the Academic Senate for the past five years and has served on the Executive Board as the Administrative Vice President since July 2019. Prior to this, he was the Secretary, Vice President, and then President of the Dornsife Faculty Council.

Administrative Vice President (two-year term; choose one)

Lavonna Lewis (Price School of Public Policy)

Video  | Info Sheet

LaVonna Blair Lewis, Ph.D., MPH, is a Teaching Professor of Public Policy and the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.   Dr. Lewis joined the USC faculty in 1996 from Rice University where she received her PhD in Political Science.  Dr. Lewis’ areas of research and professional interests consistently focus on cultural competency and health equity, both targeting the health status and health care needs of underrepresented groups.

Alisa Sánchez (Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences)

Video | Info Sheet

Alisa Sánchez is an Assistant Professor (Teaching) in the Writing Program at Dornsife. She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Rhetoric with an emphasis in Gender and Women’s Studies. Dr. Sánchez’ courses focus on interdisciplinary explorations of the law and social issues. She also serves as Writing Instructor for USC MMUF and Gateway Scholars and has extensive experience in DEI issues in higher education. She is a recipient of Fulbright and Ford Foundation grants. 

At-Large (one-year term; choose up to four)

David Armstrong (Keck School of Medicine)

VideoInfo Sheet

Dr. Armstrong is Professor of Surgery at KSOM. He holds a MSc in Tissue Repair and Wound Healing from University of Wales College of Medicine and a PhD from University of Manchester College of Medicine. He is founder of the Southwestern Academic Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA).

Armstrong has produced more than 560 peer-reviewed research papers as well as over 100 books or book chapters. He has been active in leadership in shared governance at four different institutions.

Michael Bodie (School of Cinematic Arts)

Video  | Info Sheet

Bodie began his career working for Sundance Institute where he helped to develop independent artists and their work. After receiving his MFA from UCLA’s School of Film and Television, he returned to Sundance to make a documentary web series about their prestigious labs and has now executive produced and directed their festival video content for ten years. Bodie has written and directed short films and music videos that have been presented across a wide array of platforms and festivals, and his community work has been exhibited as part of the Los Angeles Public Library’s To Live and Dine in L.A. Bodie is also a key collaborator on two USC Arts in Action funded social and environmental justice programs: Warrior Bards and Sacrifice Zone: Los Angeles. For more info visit:

Ben Carrington (Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism)

Video | Info Sheet

Ben Carrington is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Journalism in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Prior to joining USC in 2017, Professor Carrington taught in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. Professor Carrington has written op-eds on culture, politics and race for publications such as The Guardian and The Huffington Post and has also written and presented a radio documentary on the Caribbean-born public intellectual Stuart Hall.

Rob Filback (Rossier School of Education)

Video | Info Sheet

Rob Filback, Ph.D. is Professor of Clinical Education and Chair of the MAT-TESOL program in the Rossier School of Education. He is currently completing a two-year term as Chair of Rossier’s Faculty Council. He also serves on the Senate’s Handbook Committee. His areas of focus include international education, online and technology enhanced learning, and creativity and innovation in education. He teaches courses at the masters and doctoral levels and regularly chairs dissertations.

Sofia Gruskin (Keck School of Medicine & Gould School of Law)

Video | Info Sheet

Sofia Gruskin directs the USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health (IIGH). She is Professor of Preventive Medicine and Chief of the Disease Prevention, Policy and Global Health Division at the Keck School of Medicine, Professor of Law and Preventive Medicine at the Gould School of Law, and affiliate faculty member with the Spatial Sciences Institute at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Within USC, she is highly engaged in university service.

Rena Heinrich (School of Dramatic Arts)

Video | Info Sheet

Rena M. Heinrich is an Assistant Professor of Theatre Practice in Critical Studies in the School of Dramatic Arts (SDA). She is a theater director and scholar, whose areas of expertise include race and gender in performance; Asian/American drama; postcolonial theater; and performance studies. Heinrich served on the Provost and Academic Senate Task Force on Course Information in 2020 and currently serves on the SDA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. She received her Ph.D. in Theater Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara.

James Moore (Viterbi School of Engineering & Price School of Public Policy)

Video | Info Sheet

Moore specializes in engineering for transportation and other infrastructure systems, working at the interface of engineering and applied social science. Research interests include 1) spatial economic impact analysis; 2) risk management of transportation networks subject to terrorist attack and to seismic, tsunamic, and other natural hazards; 3) network performance and control; 4) large scale computational models of metropolitan land use/transport systems, especially in California; 5) evaluation of new transportation technologies, and 6) infrastructure pricing policies.

Rob Parke (Viterbi School of Engineering)

Video | Info Sheet

Rob Parke is faculty in the Information Technology Program in Viterbi and previously held a joint appointment at the Iovine and Young Academy. He teaches course on introductory programming, mobile development, and smart devices. He has a strong interest in inclusive teaching practices and has been active in equity issues, including serving in leadership positions on Academic Senate- and university-level committees including co-chair of the Campus Climate Committee and Provost’s Community Advisory Board.

Elisa Warford (Viterbi School of Engineering/Writing)

Video | Info Sheet

Elisa Warford is Associate Professor of Technical Communication Practice at the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC, where she teaches courses in engineering and climate change communication and the ethics of science and technology. She currently serves as an at-large member of the Executive Board on the Senate. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Maryland.

Gabriel Zada (Keck School of Medicine)

Video | Info Sheet

Dr. Gabriel Zada is Professor of Neurosurgery at Keck School of Medicine and directs the USC Brain Tumor Center. He is Past President of the Keck Faculty Council, and has served the Faculty Council and USC Academic Senate for 5 years. Dr. Zada is committed to working with the Academic Senate towards making Keck/USC a positive and equitable academic environment, particularly pertaining to transparency, accountability, interconnectedness, and true shared governance during another major leadership transition