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Prof. Elizabeth Garrett

Elizabeth Garrett was appointed provost and senior vice president for academic affairs on October 28, 2010. As the university’s second-ranking officer, she oversees the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences as well as the Keck School of Medicine of USC and 16 other professional schools, in addition to the divisions of student affairs, libraries, information technology services, research, student religious life and enrollment services. She also sits on the governing board of the USC hospitals.

As Provost, Garrett has directed substantial new efforts to hire transformative faculty members, including initiatives to recruit faculty in neuroscience, the humanities, and the social sciences, with the goal of catalyzing targeted fields of scholarship and invigorating USC’s research environment. She has also accelerated the recruitment of Provost Professors and created recruitment of the Provost’s Post-Doctoral Scholars Program in the Humanities. From 2006 to 2011 she led USC’s successful reaccreditation through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Garrett has also been instrumental in the integration of the new Keck Hospitals of USC and the faculty practice plans into the university, which created an academic medical center on the Health Sciences Campus. Garrett is the Frances R. and John J. Duggan Professor in the USC Gould School of Law. In addition to this primary faculty appointment, she has joint appointments in USC Dornsife College and the School of Policy, Planning, and Development, as well as a courtesy appointment in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

She serves on the Board of Directors of the Initiative and Referendum Institute at USC and, in August 2009, was appointed one of five commissioners on the California Fair Political Practices Commission, the state’s independent political oversight agency. Then-president George W. Bush appointed her to serve on the nine-member bipartisan Tax Reform Panel in 2005. She previously served as director of the USC-Caltech Center for the Study of Law and Politics.

Garrett previously served as USC’s vice president for academic planning and budget, a position she had held since June 2006.

Garrett’s primary scholarly interests are legislative process, direct democracy, the federal budget process, democratic institutions, statutory interpretation, administrative law and tax policy. The author of more than 50 articles, book chapters and essays, she is co-author of the fourth edition of the leading casebook on legislation and statutory interpretation, Cases and Materials on Legislation: Statutes and the Creation of Public Policy, and co-editor of Statutory Interpretation Stories and Fiscal Challenges: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Budget Policy.

Before joining the faculty of USC, she was a professor of law at the University of Chicago, where she also served as deputy dean for academic affairs, and she has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, the University of Virginia Law School, Central European University in Budapest, and the Interdisciplinary Center Law School in Israel. Before entering academics, she clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall on the U.S. Supreme Court, and she served as legal counsel and legislative director for Senator David L. Boren (D-Okla.).  She received her B.A. in History with special distinction from the University of Oklahoma and her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Garrett is a fellow of the American Law Institute, a life fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and a member of the Pacific Council for International Policy.  In 2011 she was elected a Harold Lasswell Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.  She also serves on the editorial board of Election Law Journal, and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the United States 2011.


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Publications and Multimedia
Contemporary Themes in Direct Democracy - Event Audio/Video
Second Annual Western Conference
February 23, 2008