By Sarah Achenbach
Sheldon “Shelly” Greenberg, PhD., professor of management in the Johns Hopkins School of Education, has come a long way from his days as a patrol officer with the Howard County Police Department.
For 28 years, Greenberg has been a stalwart fixture at Johns Hopkins and in the global field of public safety—something he wouldn’t have predicted, but something he doesn’t see changing with his retirement.
“I’m retiring from SOE but am still heavily involved in public safety and will continue to work with and support colleagues in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, School of Nursing, School of Medicine, and the Alliance for a Healthier World,” says Greenberg, who also intends to continue his affiliation with SOE’s new Center for Safe and Healthy Schools. Then there are the two books he’s writing—one on police and public health; another on police, community, and race relations—as well as his continued role as a board member of the Global Law Enforcement and Public Health Association.
The impact of Greenberg’s work is immense. Consider his 64 courses taught—70 percent of which he created—over 28 years and in 16 different subjects at SOE and the Bloomberg School of Public Health. He created and directed for 17 years the Division of Public Safety Leadership (PSL) for public safety professionals. PLS’s interdisciplinary approach with no criminal justice courses received international recognition and has been adopted by other universities. The program had one of the university’s largest cohorts; at one time, there were 17 concurrent cohorts. Today, PSL alumni include police and fire chiefs, sheriffs, and city managers in over 100 communities nationwide.
Greenberg’s university leadership roles include 15 years on the Dean’s Council, chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, and founder of the JHU Police Executive Leadership Program, an interdisciplinary graduate program for public safety professionals. During his almost two-year tenure as interim director of the Johns Hopkins Division of Business (now the Carey Business School), he led a team to establish the Hopkins MBA. He also spent 12 years as associate dean. As PSL director, he created the B.S. in Management, as well as master of science programs in management and intelligence analysis.
“Through all of the ups and downs of a career, I’ve never lost my passion for law enforcement and service to people,” Greenberg says. “The field of public safety is changing rapidly and globally. As one of the world’s leading universities, Johns Hopkins must continue its leadership in ensuring that the changes are positive, enduring, and focused on the needs of all people. I intend to be involved in supporting the change and advancements in public safety for a long time to come.”
SOE Dean Christopher C. Morphew echoes the importance of Greenberg’s ongoing leadership: “Shelly’s legendary talents, tenacity, vision, and unflagging commitment to keeping our communities safer will impact our institution, and others, for generations.”
Greenberg is a recognized authority on police patrol, neighborhood and community sustainability, executive education, violence in schools, police response to people who have disabilities, and police recruiting. Prior to joining Hopkins in 1994, he was associate director of the Police Executive Research Forum, one the nation’s largest law enforcement think tanks and centers for research. He has led or co-led over 25 research projects exceeding $30 million in funding, work that led to development of three JHU centers and university partnerships with several federal agencies including the U.S. Secret Service. He has authored 50-plus journal articles, over 100 manuscripts, and five books.
His retirement plans also include continuing to teach bonsai, learning the blues guitar, and completing his internship toward certification as a Maryland Master Naturalist through the University of Maryland.
“During my time at Hopkins, I met my wife, Robin, developed incredible friendships, and worked with some of the finest scholars and students anyone could hope to know,” Greenberg adds. “You can’t ask for more than that.”