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President Dooley accepts offer to work with Homeland Security

Published: Friday, March 30, 2012

Updated: Friday, March 30, 2012 03:03


Earlier this month, University of Rhode Island President David M. Dooley was asked to join the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Academic Advisory Council, where he, along with 18 other members, will address national security issues.

Six weeks ago, Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano contacted Dooley to see if he was interested in joining the council. After considering the offer carefully, Dooley accepted the offer, keeping URI’s best interest in mind.

“[This opportunity] seemed important to URI,” Dooley said. “It’s a good opportunity for URI to be represented.”

The offer caught Dooley by surprise, he said, because he wasn’t aware that new council members were being appointed. However, he said he was “very pleased” with the offer.

The council meets four times every year to discuss several security concerns, including academic research, campus preparedness in the event of natural disaster or attack and creating academic interest, and will advise Napolitano and senior leadership at Homeland Security on key security issues.

“The formation of this council represents an important milestone towards engaging the academic community in our homeland security efforts,” Napolitano said when announcing the members of the council earlier this month.

The council is comprised of presidents of universities across the nation, including John Sexton, president of New York University and Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University.

Dooley said he believes he was selected to join the council because of URI’s Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence, a program that focuses on protecting “the physical and economic harm, caused by the threat, real or perceived, of attack using explosive device,” the center’s website said. He also said the university’s expansion of international programs added to the decision to select him for the council.

“A culmination of all these things played a role in the decision to invite us,” he said.

The council met for the first time on March 20 in Washington, D.C. at a meeting open to the public, where the members were deciding what were important agenda items. They discussed several topics ranging from the recruitment of future graduates to pursue a career in Homeland Security to how to build a diverse workforce.

The meeting lasted from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Dooley said he enjoyed the experience.

“[The council] is a very interesting group,” Dooley said.

Dooley will remain on the council for the next two years with his next meeting set to be in July.

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