Rick C. Mathews, Director
Lori Percle, Assistant Director
Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at the University at Albany is preparing students to meet the homeland security and emergency management challenges of the 21st century. In this increasingly complex world, there is a need for a new class of homeland security professionals to cope with a growing number of natural and man-made threats — from hurricanes and major infrastructure failures to suicide bombings and cyberattacks.
Rockefeller College's wide selection of traditional and online academic offerings developed in consultation with leaders in homeland security, law enforcement, public management, and public security management provides students with the comprehensive background they'll need to be successful in their chosen careers in government, business, and the nonprofit sector. Among the areas Rockefeller's coursework covers are intelligence gathering and analysis, preparedness, information technology, political violence, and global governance. In addition, students learn from and work side-by-side with recognized experts in a number of interdisciplinary and transnational research centers and institutes located at Rockefeller College and the University at Albany, including the National Center for Security & Preparedness, the Project on Violent Conflict, and the Center for Technology in Government.
Flexible study options, a curriculum led by a team of distinguished scholars and professionals, and the chance to gain real-world experience alongside today's leaders in the field, make Rockefeller an exceptional training ground for future homeland security and emergency management professionals unmatched in the field of public affairs.
Established in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks and in close collaboration with the New York State Office of Homeland Security — now the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (NYS DHSES) — Rockefeller's homeland security offerings continue to evolve to help prepare homeland security professionals to meet an ever-growing list of threats at the federal, state, and local levels. Rockefeller College offers both a homeland security concentration within its nationally ranked Master of Public Administration (MPA) program and a Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management with a Concentration in Homeland Security.
The College's highly successful graduate offerings in homeland security build on the extensive program of research on terrorism operated by the Project on Violent Conflict (PVC) within Rockefeller's Center for Policy Research (CPR). "Our program is very good at giving both theoretical and practical insights," said PVC Co-director Victor Asal, an associate professor of political science and the director of the homeland security concentration and certificate program. Asal is also a research associate at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence based at the University of Maryland, College Park.
This spring, Rockefeller College will offer an impressive selection of homeland security courses, many of which will be taught by distinguished and highly regarded public service professors, professionals with extensive experience in their field. Brian Nussbaum (MA '07; PhD '09), a senior analyst with the NYS DHSES Office of Counter Terrorism (OCT), will teach Homeland Security: Risk Analysis and Management (RPAD 546). The course provides homeland security practitioners and researchers with the tools to conduct risk analysis with an emphasis on infrastructure protection and resilience, cybersecurity, terrorism, and the mitigation of the effects of natural disasters.
F. David Sheppard, public service professor and former director of the New York State Office of Homeland Security, will teach Topics in Homeland Security and Terrorism (RPAD 553), which examines an array of issues related to homeland security, terrorism, responses to terrorism, and the role of terrorism in public policy problems. Also offered this spring are Political Violence, Insurgency and Terrorism (RPAD 554), taught by Ian Anderson (MPA '09 ), an analyst at NYS DHSES and former PVC research director, and Intelligence Analysis for Homeland Security (RPAD 557) and Intelligence and U.S. National Security Policymaking (RPAD 558), both taught by Public Service Professor James Steiner. Steiner was an intelligence advisor to the director of the New York State Office of Homeland Security and served for over 30 years in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
In addition, Bryan Haynes (MPA '09), an associate with Booz Allen Hamilton and an Air National Guard officer based in Washington, D.C., will teach Principles and Practices of Cyber Security (RPAD 545). This will be one of three Rockefeller College homeland security courses offered online this spring.
The course will be facilitated through the Blackboard Learning System with several real-time or "synchronous" meetings scheduled using Adobe Connect throughout the semester. Other online offerings include Homeland Security Intelligence (RPAD 556) also taught by Steiner and Homeland Security: Building Preparedness Capabilities (RPAD 559), taught by Public Service Professor Rick C. Mathews. Mathews is the director of Rockefeller's National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP) and a leading subject matter expert on issues related to terrorism, emergency response and homeland security training. Both of these courses will be offered in an entirely asynchronous format through the Blackboard Learning System. Asynchronous learning offers students the flexibility of participating when the time is most convenient for them.
"Our goal is to try to make the Homeland Security program more accessible to people who cannot come to the UAlbany campus in the evening," said David Rousseau, dean of Rockefeller College. "It is an opportunity for us to both expand programing and serve new student populations, such as veterans and emergency management professionals. It will also provide our students with other avenues for completing the MPA. For example, a student could have the opportunity to come to Albany for a year to do the MPA core curriculum and then take an internship or job in Washington while finishing their coursework online."
Through the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program initiated by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, Rockefeller College will expand its already strong homeland security offerings. The University is investing more than $1.3 million over the next five years to increase its teaching and research capabilities in homeland security, cyber security, and risk management. Known as HCR, this joint initiative with the College of Computing and Information (CCI) will enable the University at Albany to hire one tenure track faculty member in CCI and a tenure track faculty member and public service professor in Rockefeller College. Rockefeller College will also use these resources to launch a new Cyber Security Graduate Certificate program as well as an online Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security.
A premiere training organization for first responders, emergency managers, and other security and safety practitioners, Rockefeller College's National Center for Security & Preparedness has a strategic partnership with NYS DHSES and provides internships and graduate assistantships to Rockefeller College students as well as employment opportunities for recent Rockefeller graduates. "The strength of the Rockefeller homeland security program is that it provides students an opportunity to learn the theory and practice of homeland security in the context of public administration at the local, state and federal level," said Director Mathews. "Students can gain access to state and local officials here in Albany that provides a window into the practice of emergency preparedness and response not available elsewhere."
Karl Rethemeyer, associate dean and chair of Rockefeller College's Department of Public Administration and Policy, echoes Mathews' sentiments. "UAlbany's approach to homeland security and cybersecurity is comprehensive rather than tech-centric. It incorporates policy, management, technology, and analytics," said Rethemeyer, "and it fully prepares students to meet the homeland security and emergency management challenges of the 21st century."