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Viterbi School and Olin College Extend Partnership

Memorandum of Understanding Strengthens the Engineering Programs of Both Schools
John Cohoon
April 16, 2009 —

Dean Yannis C. Yortsos of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and Richard Miller, President of the Olin College of Engineering, have formally initiated a special collaboration, the Viterbi Integrated Masters of Science Program (VIP), that will offer exceptional students at Olin a faster path to USC MS degrees.

MOU Signing:  Front row, left to right: Michael Moody, Dean of Faculty, Olin; Yannis Yortsos, USC Viterbi Dean; Back - Richard Miller, Olin President; Bradley Minch, Associate Professor, Olin; Stephen Schiffman, Associate Dean, Olin; Kelly Goulis, Associate Dean, USC Viterbi
The agreement extends and formalizes close ties between the Viterbi School and Olin College. Yortsos and Miller, along with Tom Katsouleas, the dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, took the lead in organizing the recent Engineering Grand Challenges Summit, an event that resonated with the nation’s engineering educators, with more than 50 engineering deans attending.

Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Yortsos and Michael Moody, the Olin Dean of Faculty, qualified Olin undergraduates will have the option of taking USC-equivalent courses at Olin that will subsequently allow them to complete Viterbi masters degrees with six fewer units. The reduction eliminates redundancy in undergraduate and graduate course requirements, without compromising educational goals.

"The object of the program from the point of view of the Viterbi School," said Yortsos, "is to enlarge our school applicant pool of quality domestic master’s students. We could not have found a better partner for this than Olin College."

"We see this as an opportunity for collaboration among the faculty of the two institutions," said Miller. "We will explore the possibility of expanding it further, perhaps to doctoral programs. This would offer an opportunity for us to work with the outstanding faculty and research facilities of USC, and strengthen our close ties."

The faculty at Olin will nominate outstanding juniors with 3.5+ averages to the program. These students must complete the regular graduate application program to the Viterbi School.

VIP students will have to complete the equivalent courses in their senior year. When they continue to USC, course requirements for Viterbi MS degrees will be reduced to 21 units.

The agreement also calls for the Viterbi School and Olin College faculty and staff to collaborate on program materials, recruitment visits and advisement sessions. Accepted Olin students will be able to do coursework either in person on the USC University Park campus, or using the Viterbi School's Distance Education Network.

Viterbi Associate Dean for Master's and Professional Programs Kelly Goulis, who attended the signing, emphasized the program’s importance to the Viterbi School. "This agreement, and a similar one we have reached with Cal Poly, gives us a direct path to recruit outstanding domestic students to our master’s programs,” she said.

Also attending the signing were Bradley Minch of the Olin faculty and Stephen Schiffman, an Olin associate dean.

The joint USC-Olin VIP program takes effect in Fall 2009.