Amy K. Donahue
School of Public Policy
B.A., Princeton University, Geological and Geophysical Sciences, 1989
M.P.A., The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, 1996
Ph.D., The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, Public Administration, 2000
Teaching & Research Interests
Executive leadership and management
Public safety and disaster preparedness
Public budgeting and finance
Dr. Amy K. Donahue
Dr. Amy Donahue is Emeritus Professor of Public Policy at the University of Connecticut (UConn). As a social scientist, her research focuses on executive leadership, homeland security, and disaster preparedness. She was principal investigator on research funded by the Department of Homeland Security as part of the Center of Excellence for the Study of Natural Disasters, Coastal Infrastructure and Emergency Management. She currently teaches or has taught statistics, research methods, executive leadership, crisis management, organization theory and management, public policymaking, and intergovernmental relations to graduate and undergraduate students. She is engaged in policy work at the state level, helping design Connecticut’s new policy and curriculum for police use of force, and at the national level, serving on NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, which advises the NASA Administrator and Congress on safety and risk management.
From 2011-2018, Dr. Donahue served as UConn’s Vice Provost for Academic Operations and Chief of Staff to the Provost. She was responsible for operational decision-making, policy development, strategic workforce management, labor-management relations, financial resource oversight, crisis planning and response, capital planning, faculty and staff professional development, and compliance management for an academic enterprise of fourteen schools and colleges and five regional campuses. As part of a small team of executive leaders, she was a key partner in developing the $1.7 billion Next Generation Connecticut program, crafting the University’s academic vision, guiding program development to support excellence in teaching and learning, preparing the University for reaccreditation, and building a new regional campus.
Prior to her service in the Provost’s Office, Dr. Donahue headed UConn’s Department of Public Policy for five years, leading a department that included a nationally respected Master of Public Administration program, top-ranked in public finance. Previously she advised the Chancellor of Louisiana State University immediately following Hurricane Katrina, and was the founding director of LSU’s Stephenson Disaster Management Institute, a research institute focused on the challenges of managing large disaster responses.
From 2002-2004, on an Intergovernmental Personnel Act assignment, Dr. Donahue was Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Homeland Security at NASA. She was the agency’s liaison to the Department of Homeland Security and the Homeland Security Council, and was responsible for identifying opportunities for NASA to contribute to homeland security efforts across government. In 2003, she had a major leadership role in the field response to the crash of space shuttle Columbia. From 2004-2007, Dr. Donahue served on the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, a federal advisory committee that advises NASA on how to improve safety performance. She was recently reappointed to the panel for a six-year term.
Dr. Donahue has served on numerous task forces for organizations as varied as the Veterans Benefits Administration and the National Mining Association. She has served as a technical advisor to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on an array of projects helping to meet the technological needs of emergency responders. She’s currently an advisor to Advanced Technologies International, a major defense contractor that leads large research consortia of technology development organizations. She has also supported various National Science Foundation grant programs, including the Navigating the New Arctic program and the Critical Resilient Interdependent Infrastructures Systems and Processes program.
As the Distinguished Military Graduate of Princeton’s Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1989, she began her career serving in the U.S. Army on active duty in the 6th Infantry Division at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. Her military assignments included serving as Officer in Charge of a Forward Surgical Team, as the Training and Operations Officer (S3) for the 706th Main Support Battalion, and as Chief of Mobilization, Education, Training, and Security for Bassett Army Hospital. She moved on to manage a 911 communications center, and to volunteer and work part-time as a firefighter and medic in Fairbanks, Alaska and upstate New York.
Dr. Donahue holds her Ph.D. in Public Administration and her M.P.A. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Geological and Geophysical Sciences from Princeton University. She was elected a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration in 2011. She is certified as a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician.