Howard Gillman
Howard Gillman, former dean at USC and nationally recognized expert on the Constitution, will be UC Irvine's new executive vice chancellor & provost. “I’m honored and excited to join this extraordinary academic community,” Gillman said. Steve Zylius / University Communications

Howard Gillman, former dean of the University of Southern California’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, has been appointed provost and executive vice chancellor of the University of California, Irvine, effective June 17. He will report to Chancellor Michael V. Drake.

In his new role, Gillman will be UC Irvine’s chief academic and operating officer, assuming primary responsibility for academic and organizational functions, as well as for advancing the university’s excellence in education, research and public service. He succeeds Susan V. Bryant, who has served as interim provost since July 2012.

“Howard is an outstanding choice,” Drake said. “As a dean, he oversaw USC’s largest and most diverse academic unit, comprising 33 academic departments, dozens of research centers and institutes, 7,000 undergraduates, 1,200 Ph.D. students, and nearly 800 faculty members with expertise across the humanities, social sciences, and physical, biological and natural sciences. He also worked closely with the deans of USC’s arts and professional schools. He has noteworthy experience in nearly every aspect of the academic mission at a prominent research university. We’re proud to welcome him to UC Irvine.”

Gillman’s appointment is the culmination of an extensive international search conducted in consultation with a 22-person selection committee composed of administrators, faculty, trustees and students. Albert F. Bennett, the Hana & Francisco J. Ayala Dean of the UC Irvine School of Biological Sciences, chaired the committee with Drake.

“Howard stood out among the candidates for multiple reasons,” Bennett said. “In addition to his outstanding record as a dean and scholar, he is credited with promoting innovation throughout the university and particularly in academic programs. As dean, he increased external funding for research, recruited more than 100 new faculty members, improved Ph.D. programs, and expanded undergraduate opportunities to conduct research, study overseas and engage in service learning. He also raised about $450 million, including the largest single gift in USC’s history.”

Prior to his 2007 appointment as dean, Gillman was USC’s associate vice provost for research advancement, developing universitywide initiatives in the humanities and social sciences. He also chaired USC’s Department of Political Science. A nationally recognized expert on constitutional studies and judicial politics, he has authored or co-authored six books and dozens of articles.

Gillman’s continued commitment to teaching and faculty support was noted by Mary Gilly, chair of UC Irvine’s Academic Senate and professor of marketing at UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business. “Howard is an award-winning scholar and also one of USC’s most lauded teachers,” she said. “He received numerous honors, including the university’s top award for excellence in teaching – presented to only two recipients each year. He also made diversity and inclusion a strategic priority, appointing the first vice dean for diversity and strategic initiatives, establishing unique programs to support and recruit underrepresented faculty and students, and expanding opportunities for women in science and engineering.”

“I’m honored and excited to join this extraordinary academic community,” Gillman said. “UC Irvine is one of the world’s premier universities, with a truly outstanding faculty, ambitious staff, inspiring students and dedicated volunteers. As this vibrant and diverse university approaches its half-century mark, there are tremendous opportunities to accelerate its leadership in many areas of undergraduate education, scholarly inquiry, professional and clinical practice, creative expression and public service. I’m eager to begin working with my new colleagues to build on UC Irvine’s tradition of excellence and establish those new priorities, programs and practices that will help the university further evolve into a globally preeminent research university.”

Gillman, 54, began his career as a tenure-track faculty member at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona before joining USC as an assistant professor of political science in 1990. A native of Southern California, Gillman grew up in North Hollywood and was a first-generation college student. He and his wife, Ellen, have extensive connections to the University of California. He earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in political science at UCLA, while his wife earned a bachelor’s degree at UC San Diego and a master’s and doctorate in psychology at UCLA. Their daughter will be starting a Ph.D. program in the fall, and their son recently completed his second year of college.