Pedro Noguera shares leadership insight during ‘100 Days as Dean’ event

October 12, 2020

Noguera joined Dean Geoff Garrett from the USC Marshall School of Business in a virtual conversation about their new roles 

By Brian Soika

Pedro Noguera

USC Rossier Dean Pedro Noguera. (Photo/Trevor Traynor)

Two of USC’s newest deans offered viewers insight into their unique experiences in 100 Days as Dean, a virtual event held as part of Trojan Family Weekend.

USC Rossier Dean Pedro Noguera and Dean Geoff Garrett from USC Marshall discussed their roles during the first few months of leadership at USC during a pandemic. The event was moderated by Sharoni Little, EdD, Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at USC Marshall and also an Educational Leadership Program alumna at USC Rossier.

The conversation spanned a variety of topics, including educational equity, the need to support faculty and students during a time of social upheaval, and re-thinking financial aid—all while navigating the obstacles of a global health crisis. 

However, despite the challenges of stepping into a leadership role during the Covid-19 pandemic, Noguera noted that former USC Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher eased his transition.  “[Gallagher] left the school in very solid shape,” said Noguera. “We’re not faced with any major financial challenges [and] our enrollment is high.”

Garrett echoed the sentiment, citing the “gift of momentum” that originated before he arrived at USC Marshall. “I—and we—don’t have to invent anything from scratch. There’s palpable energy and momentum about everything at the Marshall school,” said Garrett. 

Both Deans expressed a desire to resume on-campus classes as soon as it’s safe. “Online learning is not a replacement for the campus experience,” said Noguera. The USC Rossier Dean also noted the toll that isolation takes on people’s mental health. “We’ve seen rising levels of anxiety, depression, and I think sadly, suicide. These are… major challenges that we will grapple with for years to come.”

While the pandemic does create certain challenges for the future, Noguera is also excited by the potential of USC Rossier’s students.

After speaking with students in the Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership online program, Noguera said, “I was so impressed with the array of leaders in the program who are in a variety of fields [across] the world. It gave me such a sense of pride… We don’t limit ourselves to a traditional approach to education [at USC Rossier].”

View the full video.

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