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Governor Cuomo Applauds First Academic Year of CEHC

New UAlbany graduates with minors in Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, are, clockwise from upper left, Greg Bedik, Tyler Grodin, Dan Giannettino, Joeie Lum, Jhilene Walker, and Anthony Cone. Absent was Phil Waknin. (Photo by Carlo de Jesus)

Albany, NY (May 17, 2016) — Governor Andrew Cuomo is lauding Sunday’s graduation of the first seven University at Albany students to complete undergraduate minors from the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC).

The six-course minor was launched ahead of schedule in May 2015 and one year later had exceeded expectation with an enrollment of more than 275 students. This made it the seventh most popular of UAlbany’s 63 minors, surpassed only by business, psychology, sociology, criminal justice, communications, and English.

“The unique and vital curriculum taught at the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity plays a vital role in ensuring we are prepared for emergencies such as extreme weather and terrorist threats that are increasingly becoming the new normal,” said Cuomo. “I am proud to congratulate these students who represent the future of public safety and emergency preparedness in New York State.”

The graduating UAlbany students (read their profiles) are:

  • Greg Bedik – Mountaindale, NY – informatics major;
  • Anthony Cone – Clifton Park, NY – criminal justice major;
  • Daniel Giannettino – Chappaqua, NY – criminal justice major;
  • Tyler Grodin – Amawalk, NY – triple major in globalization, economics and Spanish;
  • Joeie Lum – New York, NY –sociology major;
  • Phillip Waknin – Queens, NY – double major in criminal justice and theater; and
  • Jhilene Walker – New Rochelle, NY – globalization major.

With longstanding and growing partnerships with the State of New York, CEHC is bringing together existing resources and developing new opportunities to support the growing needs of the state and beyond in the face of expanding risks and threats.

Major Moves toward Approval

A proposed 39-credit emergency preparedness, homeland security and cybersecurity major passed review with both UAlbany and SUNY Administration, and is currently awaiting approval from the State Education Department. The program would encompass a broad liberal arts core curriculum, including courses in ethics, critical inquiry, risk management and leadership; unique interdisciplinary concentrations in the topic areas of emergency preparedness, homeland security and cybersecurity; and extensive applied learning requirements, among them a research seminar, ab internship, a senior capstone project, and training.

A five-course CEHC Graduate Certificate in Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity has also been launched, with offerings being expanded. These include new courses with other UAlbany departments, Albany Law School, and SUNY New Paltz’s disaster mental health program.

“Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s vision, this first class of UAlbany students to graduate with a minor in emergency preparedness, homeland security and cybersecurity will be in the vanguard of this emerging field,” said University at Albany President Robert J. Jones. “The extraordinary interest in this minor is a testament to UAlbany’s expertise in these areas, as well as to the high demand for professionals prepared to address the new threats and challenges we face.”

“The response of our undergraduate students to the new minor has been amazing, and is likely related to their recognition that the topics being addressed are some of the most critical facing the world today — severe weather, cybersecurity, immigration, human trafficking, terrorism, and disasters,” said CEHC’s Interim Dean David Rousseau.

“We find that students want to understand the underlying causes of violent extremism, policies that can curb cybercrime and strategies to manage and respond to the spread of Ebola or Zika. The world is challenging them to think differently, and our program aims to expand their knowledge and skills so that they may be responsible and effective leaders in these fields of growing importance.”

A New Player in Keeping New York Safe

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner John P. Melville said, “This is one of the many successes of the Governor’s goal of making the safety and security of all New Yorkers a priority. I applaud the University of Albany for making the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity a leader in the field and for preparing these students to continue to keep New York safe and strong for years to come.”

In partnership with the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, CEHC held its first three-credit winter session blended learning course at the New York State Preparedness Training Center, in which students applied theoretical concepts and gained practical lessons through simulated responses to natural disasters and terrorist attacks. The simulation was designed and delivered by CEHC faculty and the College’s National Center for Security & Preparedness, with support from the SPTC as well as the New York State and Oneida County Offices of Emergency Management.

Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo announced that UAlbany will redevelop 12 acres in the southwest corner of the Harriman Campus to construct a new Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurship Complex. It will house CEHC as well as headquarters for the New York State Mesonet, a state-of-the-art weather observation system developed to support better planning for extreme and dangerous weather events.

In January 2014, during the unveiling of his Reimagining New York for a New Reality with Vice President Joe Biden, Governor Cuomo announced the creation of the nation’s first College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity to maintain New York’s position as a leader in state and national security. CEHC is the very first standalone college dedicated to the topics of emergency preparedness, homeland security and cybersecurity, and provides highly comprehensive academic programming for undergraduate and graduate students to prepare them to meet the challenges and risks that we face today.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.