Emergency Response and Management Expert Named Dean of Homeland Security College

Robert Griffin (pictured above) comes to UAlbany after a 25-year career in local and federal government management.

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 26, 2017) -- The University at Albany has appointed Robert Griffin, a distinguished senior leader in homeland security and emergency response, as its new dean for the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC).

Griffin, who will take his new post on July 1, has spent 25 years in local and federal government management, most recently as deputy under secretary for science and technology at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“As both an academic and practitioner, Dr. Griffin brings a wealth of applied, management and educational experience to the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity,” said Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Darrell Wheeler. “He is the perfect choice to lead CEHC as it continues to grow and train the next generation of planning and response experts.”

CEHC was created under the leadership of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in 2015, as the first of its kind in the nation. The college is dedicated to advancing educational and practical skills needed to prepare for, protect against, respond to, and recover from a growing array of natural and human-caused risks and threats in New York State and around the world.

Griffin became deputy under secretary for science and technology at DHS in May of 2014 after serving as director of the science and technology directorate’s First Responders Group. He is a member of the Federal Senior Executive Service and the recipient of the 2016 Presidential Rank Award, Distinguished.

He came to DHS after a 20-year career in local government as a senior leader and first responder. He was the director of environmental services for Arlington County, Va., where he managed a diverse portfolio of core governmental functions, including roads and engineering, transportation, facilities construction and maintenance, fleet management, capital planning and construction, and a nationally recognized energy and environmental sustainability program.

He served on the faculty of Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute where he taught graduate level courses in state and local governance. Griffin received his doctoral degree in public administration/public affairs from Virginia Tech, and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His dissertation examined the characteristics of coordination in the homeland security network.

As the first director of the Arlington County Office of Emergency Management, Griffin developed a cross-functional department consisting of emergency management, law enforcement, fire/rescue, public health and emergency communications personnel. He oversaw construction of a state-of-the-art emergency communications and data analysis center; an integrated public notification system, including outdoor warning systems and enhanced sheltering capabilities for people and pets; and a nationally recognized citizen outreach effort. While in Arlington, he organized and led relief efforts to Florida (2004), New Orleans (2005), and numerous regional and intra-state deployments.

Prior to his time in Arlington, Griffin was the assistant county administrator and chief of fire and rescue in Loudoun County, Virginia, where he directed the county’s fire, rescue, bomb squad and emergency communications and management functions. In 2001, he led the Loudoun County Emergency Operations Center’s response to the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon, as well as the anthrax attack on the Dulles Postal Facility.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve in senior leadership positions in both emergency management and homeland security,” Griffin said. “One of the most important and lasting accomplishments of my career will be working with the University at Albany family in realizing the potential of Gov. Cuomo's vision of a college dedicated to keeping our communities safe from natural, man-made and cyber threats. I am humbled by the support I have received from Interim President James Stellar, Provost Wheeler and the search committee and I can't wait to become a Great Dane."

Interim CEHC Dean David Rousseau was tasked with establishing the new college in February 2015. He will be returning to the faculty to pursue research and teaching with a joint appointment in CEHC and Rockefeller College's Political Science Department.

“I would like to thank David Rousseau for his leadership in forming this exciting new school,” Wheeler said. “During his tenure as interim dean, his team has created in-demand new programs, hired a diverse group of new faculty, and collaborated with UAlbany faculty across the disciplines. The popular major and minor have gained more students than anticipated and will surely continue to attract new students.”

UAlbany was selected to host CEHC for its emergency management and preparedness training initiatives, extensive educational and research programs, diverse homeland security and emergency management experts, and its statewide strategic alliances. A nationally recognized leader in homeland security training and cybersecurity research and education, UAlbany is an established partner in public health preparedness with the State's Department of Health and UAlbany's School of Public Health.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY 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, businesseducation, public health,health sciences, 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.