Faculty News

Distinguished USC Rossier professors shift gears

John Brooks Slaughter, Margo Pensavalle and Rudy Castruita announce retirement; Jerome Lucido to become scholar-in-residence

By Ellen Evaristo Published on

During the spring semester, USC Rossier professors John Brooks Slaughter, Margo Pensavalle and Rudy Castruita announced their retirement. Professors Slaughter and Pensavalle retired in June, and Professor Castruita will retire in the fall. In addition, Professor Jerome Lucido will shift from director of Center for Enrollment Research, Policy and Practice (CERPP) to scholar-in-residence on a part-time basis.

“It is a bitter sweet moment. We are excited for John, Margo and Rudy as they embark on their next life adventure, but somber because we are saying farewell to three dear colleagues,” said Pedro A. Noguera, the Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean of USC Rossier. “Congratulations to Jerry on his extraordinary work in founding CERPP, for his many contributions to the field of enrollment management and policy, and to advancing educational equity.”

  • John Brooks Slaughter, one of USC’s few University Professors, and the Dean’s Professor of Education and Engineering, joined USC Rossier in 2010. He also held a joint appointment at the Viterbi School of Engineering. His education research was in the areas of higher education leadership, diversity and inclusion in higher education, the underrepresentation of minorities in STEM, and issues related to access and affordability in higher education. With a storied career that spanned 66 years in the private sector, academia and federal government, he, in a historic moment, became the first African American to direct the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1980. 
  • Margo Pensavalle’s professional expertise included elementary education, special education and educational psychology. As professor of clinical education, her areas of interest also included interdisciplinary problem-based learning, teacher training and strategies for fostering collaboration among teachers. Before joining USC, Professor Pensavalle taught in both special needs and mainstream environments. While at USC Rossier, Pensavalle played a significant role in the development of key programs including the Master of Arts in Teaching Program for both on-campus and online programs. In 2019, Margo and former Dean Karen Symms Gallagher, established the first teacher residency through the Prepared to Teach program. She then led the effort to create a teacher residency program with the Los Angeles Unified School District which focused on recruiting Black male teachers into the profession. 
  • Rudy Castruita, professor of clinical education, specialized in school and district leadership. Formerly the USC Rossier Irving and Virginia Melbo Chair, he was instrumental in providing students in the education leadership program with leadership strategies drawn from his many years of experience in the field. Before coming to Rossier, Professor Castruita’s many accomplishments included serving as the San Diego County superintendent of schools for 12 years and, prior to that, superintendent of the Santa Ana Unified School District. Professor Castruita’s accomplishments in school leadership were recognized by professional associations throughout the nation. His impressive body of work garnered him numerous awards and accolades. He was named California’s Superintendent of the Year in 1992 and he received the Marcus Foster Memorial Award for Administrator Excellence in 1991, both from the Association of California School Administrators.
  • As professor of practice and founder of CERPP, Jerome A. Lucido’s areas of expertise includes college admissions, higher education access and enrollment management. He played a leading role at the national level in initiatives to improve access for low-income and underrepresented students and to design and execute effective and principled college admission and enrollment management practices. Lucido was the chair and a national presenter for the College Board’s Task Force on Admissions in the 21st Century, the vice chair of the Commission on Access, Admission and Success in Higher Education, and a member of the Low-Income Task Force. From August 2006 to July 2010, he served as USC’s vice provost for enrollment policy and management, responsible for undergraduate and graduate admission, financial aid, academic records and registration, graduation rates initiatives and enrollment policy. 

“Many of us have benefitted from John, Margo and Rudy’s wisdom, guidance and friendship, and hundreds of students have benefited from their teaching and mentorship during their many years with USC Rossier,” said Noguera. “Fortunately, Jerry will not be leaving the center he founded and led for many years. This change to scholar-in-residence will give him more well-earned time to spend with his family.”

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