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Head of Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, Frank Thompson, Steps Down as Dean

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 21, 2005) -- Frank Thompson, dean of the University at Albany's Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, has announced he will leave the position in January 2006.

Thompson, who lead the College as dean of the graduate school and other positions since 1988 and dean since a reorganization created the post in 2000, will resume teaching and research as a full professor.

"Dean Thompson's exceptional efforts and dedication to students and the institution have brought the College of Public Affairs and Policy to the forefront of the nation's public policy schools," said University at Albany President Kermit L. Hall. "It has been my distinct pleasure to serve with Dean Thompson, and I extend my very best wishes to him."

In his 17 years as head of the College, Thompson raised the levels of teaching, research, service, and development, in turn advancing its visibility and national reputation. Under his leadership, Rockefeller College has been ranked in the top 10 of more than 250 public affairs graduate programs in the nation by U.S.News and World Report.

"Rockefeller College is one of the premier places in the country to study politics, governance, policy, and public administration," said Thompson. "Our strong academic programs draw strength from their location in one of the major centers of government in the United States. My work with faculty, students, alumni and other members of the University community has been enormously gratifying. I am optimistic that the College has a bright future."

Over the last five years, the college has generated $15-20 million annually in external grants and contracts, pursuing a broad variety of domestic and international projects ranging from state workforce training to institution-building in new democracies.

As dean, Thompson instituted partnerships with state and national political leaders and groups to advance programs such as internships in the New York State Legislature and the Washington, D.C. political arena, a graduate certificate in Public Security developed with the New York State Office of Homeland Security, and a specialty in financial market regulation.

Thompson has served as president of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Education (NASPAA), and has been a member of governance committees of the American Political Science Association, the Association for Public Analysis and Management, and the American Society for Public Administration. In recognition of his scholarship and his leadership, Thompson was elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a select group of 500 scholars and practitioners from across the United States. He served as executive director of the National Commission on State and Local Public Service, which presented its reports on enhancing state and local government performance to President Clinton at a special White House event.

On campus, Thompson co-chaired the Task Force on the University Mission, chaired the NCAA Certification Steering Committee, and has chaired eight search committees for provosts, vice presidents and deans. He published four books while dean, including Revitalizing State and Local Public Service (Jossey-Bass), and Medicaid and Devolution: A View from the States (Brookings.)

President Hall has designated School of Criminal Justice Dean Julie Horney as chair of the search committee that will seek a new dean. Associate Dean Helen Desfosses, an associate professor in the departments of public administration and Africana studies, will serve as interim dean during the search process.


The University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages more than 16,000 diverse students in nine degree-granting schools and colleges. For more information about this internationally ranked institution, visit For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit

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