Franklin Gilliam, Jr.

Dean Representative
UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. was appointed Dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs in September 2008. He is a longtime UCLA professor of public policy and political science. His research focuses on strategic communications, public policy, electoral politics, and racial and ethnic politics.

As Dean of the Luskin School, Gilliam raised a $50 million naming gift, and he now leads the school’s charge to redefine its critical advantage and transform its scholarly and practical influence with innovation and impact. Since launching UCLA Luskin’s strategic plan in October 2011 with such new initiatives as Global Public Affairs, Digital Cities, and the Leadership Initiative, Dean Gilliam has focused on identifying society’s most pressing problems and establishing the School as a leader in addressing them.

Through teaching, research and partnerships, Global Public Affairs at Luskin studies problems that have trans-border causes or effects, and gives UCLA Luskin students opportunities to learn the ways in which global affairs structure our world and explore solutions that require a global perspective.

The Leadership Initiative’s mission is to prepare graduates for leadership roles in public service through on the job training, seminars, workshops and academic programs. With the help of the Leadership Initiative, UCLA Luskin students gain knowledge about the challenges that face today’s policy leaders through firsthand interaction and opportunities to work directly with these leaders.

Since becoming dean, Gilliam has launched new campaigns to elevate the School of Public Affairs’ mission of public service, which comprises graduate programs in public policy, social welfare, and urban planning; an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in public affairs (one of UCLA’s most popular); and active research centers, including the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, the Institute for Transportation Studies, the Center for Policy Research on Aging, and the Luskin Center for Innovation.

Under his leadership, the school has begun major initiatives to spotlight and disseminate the research of faculty and students on pressing issues such as immigration, drug policy, prison reform, low-income families and youth, health care financing, transportation and the environment, national security, and economic development.

In August 2013, Dean Gilliam assumed a new role as Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Los Angeles. Over the next three years he will develop a strategic framework centered on UCLA’s involvement in the Los Angeles region.

Prior to his appointment as Dean, Gilliam served as the first-ever associate vice chancellor of community partnerships in the University of California system from 2002 to 2008. As vice chancellor, he championed UCLA’s civic engagement by supporting engaged scholarship and community collaborations to improve the quality of life in Los Angeles.

Gilliam’s research interests include strategic communications and its effects on shaping public policy; electoral politics; and racial and ethnic politics. He is the author of Farther to Go: Readings and Cases in African-American Politics (Harcourt Brace) and his work has been published in many leading academic journals. He is frequently interviewed or cited by national and international news outlets such as CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, HuffingtonPost and the BBC.

Gilliam is a senior fellow with the FrameWorks Institute, where he has served as project director for the “Framing Race in America” project and has contributed to programs on health care, early child development, youth and rural issues, and criminal justice. FrameWorks designs, commissions, manages and publishes communications research to prepare nonprofit organizations to expand their constituency base, build public will and further public understanding of specific social issues.

He serves as a board member for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Blue Shield of California, and Southern California Grantmakers.

Twice nominated for UCLA’s Luckman Distinguished Teaching Award, Gilliam has also taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Grinnell College and the University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and was a Visiting Scholar at Brandeis University. In addition, he taught at Columbia University, Fisk University, and Middle Tennessee State University, with former Vice President Al Gore. Dr. Gilliam received his B.A. from Drake University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Iowa.