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Amber D. Miller


Amber Dawn Miller is the 22nd dean of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, where she holds the Anna H. Bing Dean’s Chair and a faculty appointment in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. As the leader of the largest non-medical business enterprise at the University with an annual budget of over $600M, Miller is the chief executive responsible for an organization comprised of roughly 1800 faculty and staff organized in over 100 academic and administrative units. Before joining USC Dornsife in August 2016, Miller served as the inaugural Dean of Science for Columbia University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and as a professor in the Columbia Department of Physics for 14 years.

Upon arriving at USC Dornsife in 2016, Miller launched the Academy in the Public Square initiative, which encourages faculty to expand their scholarly engagement with the local, national and global communities. The initiative’s centerpiece, Public Exchange™, offers a new way of making academic expertise available to the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Public Exchange™ connects a wide range of academic researchers to policy, industry and non-profit organizations that need academic expertise to address complex challenges. Public Exchange™ brings to the table the right combination of researchers, defines the scope and timeline of the project and provides project management and partner engagement throughout the work. As part of her vision for broader scholarly engagement, Miller founded The Center for the Political Future, headed by Robert Shrum, a Democrat, and Mike Murphy, a Republican. The center conducts programming that aims to address pressing societal issues in a way that transcends partisan politics. The center regularly hosts speakers across the political spectrum and engages them in robust and civil debate.

Miller is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Pacific Council on International Policy, and the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities. In 2019, she was appointed to the Los Angeles Sustainability Leadership Council. Miller also served as Chief Science Adviser to the New York City Police Department Counterterrorism Bureau for two years, helping the department calibrate, deploy and train officers in the use of sophisticated counterterrorism equipment. She is a member of the advisory board for the New York Academy of Sciences.

Miller’s honors and awards include a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, a Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award, and a Hubble Fellowship. At Princeton, she was a NASA Graduate Research Program Fellow and a President’s Fellow. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Miller’s primary scientific research focuses on experimental cosmology. Her Research group has built and deployed both ground-based and balloon-borne telescopes that gather data on the conditions in the universe when it was less than one second old. She and her colleagues examine relic light from the Big Bang with the goal of understanding the origin, evolution and fundamental nature of the universe. She also explores research questions in atmospheric science as well as issues at the interface of science and policy.