Policy school hires experts in criminal justice and GIS

By John Batres |

The UCR School of Public Policy (SPP) welcomed two new faculty members over the summer: Robynn Cox, Ph.D. and Tony Grubesic, Ph.D..

Cox joins the School from the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Her work focuses on the intersection of the criminal legal system and inequality.

Grubesic also joins the School from The UT Austin School of Information where his research focuses on geographic information science and urban and environmental planning.


Robynn Cox
Robynn Cox, Ph.D.

Cox is an assistant professor in the School of Public Policy at UC Riverside and a faculty affiliate at the Presley Center of Crime & Justice Studies.  Her expertise is centered at the intersection of the criminal legal system (CLS) and inequality. In general, her research is concerned with understanding barriers faced by marginalized communities, with an emphasis on those disproportionately faced by the Black community, and the structural factors that have led to the exclusion of some groups from full social participation. Specifically, her scholarship focuses on understanding the role of institutions and federal policies (e.g., criminal justice policies) in social and racial inequality.  An interdisciplinary scholar, Cox’s research and publications include the topics of crime, housing, labor, aging, and health. Her work is centered on an aspect of the Black American experience (interaction with the criminal legal system) that is pervasive and has an impact on almost every facet of life for this community. Specifically, she has primarily focused on mass incarceration era policies and their impact on various outcomes of wellbeing and social exclusion using a life course approach. Her life course approach has three themes: 1) to understand systemic/institutional policies and barriers that have led to disproportionate contact with the CLS for marginalized groups, 2) to investigate the effect of exposure to the CLS on individuals, families, and communities, and 3) to understand the policies and interventions that promote social inclusion of individuals exposed to the CLS. Her research can be thought of as a continuum from CLS contact to reintegration into society.  It is a holistic approach that at its core seeks to understand how the criminal legal system buttresses the social racial hierarchy within the United States in order to create system change. 

“I am really excited to be a part of a community that values the role of public policy and interdisciplinary perspectives in achieving social justice and social change,” said Cox.  “I am also looking forward to getting to know my new colleagues and all of the dedicated students in SPP and around campus.”

Read the rest of Cox’s bio via her profile:


Tony Grubesic
Tony Grubesic, Ph.D.

Grubesic is a Professor in the School of Public Policy, where he also serves as director of the Center for Geospatial Sciences at the University of California, Riverside. His research and teaching interests include spatial data science, geocomputation, transportation, public health, regional development, and telecommunications policy. Author of over 180 research publications, his recent work focuses on using drones for urban spatial analysis, evaluating community vulnerability, and mitigating hazards.  Grubesic obtained a B.A. in Political Science from Willamette University, a B.S. in Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, an M.A. in Geography from the University of Akron, and a Ph.D. in Geographic Information Science from Ohio State University.

Read the rest of Grubesic’s bio via his profile: