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Aerospace Engineering

about the department


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The department culture we aspire to


A military academy, like all higher education institutes in a multicultural society, inherently serves many roles. Service academies are different from civilian institutions primarily in the obligation their students accept to faithfully serve their country while in harm’s way. The faculty and staff of the USNA Aerospace Engineering Department is a mixture of military officers and civilians from many backgrounds, who choose to share in the USNA mission as engineering educators, mentors, and role models. Our part in this mission is to help prepare our students for fulfilling their service commitments and leadership roles with honor while immersed in an environment of enabling technologies and complex systems.

Bias and exclusion are counterproductive to the USNA mission; moreover, they are unjust in any workplace. Accordingly, inclusion is a core value in our department. Students and colleagues must not be made to feel unwelcome, unfairly burdened, or excluded just because of who they are or where they started out in life. Our part in helping to develop future naval leaders calls for encouraging and celebrating our students and colleagues in our studies and our work as we all strive for excellence in service to our country.

Our nation and the world in general can rightfully expect U.S. naval officers to be upstanding professionals who equitably integrate and leverage our nation’s diversity in their thoughts, choices, and actions. We can promote this in our department by aspiring to a workplace culture in which we all:

  • Enjoy sharing our workday with a diverse group of students and colleagues who help us to see the world through their eyes, and want to see the world through ours.

  • See our students as future engineers, future leaders, and, most importantly, whole persons worthy of dignity, a sense of belonging, equitable access to opportunities, equitable feedback when they err, and our sincere portrayal of what constitutes ethical professionalism in an engineer and a military officer.

  • Support each other as individuals who share a vital, multifaceted mission during our working hours; but who come to that mission from different backgrounds and different paths. Each of us has our own knowledge, perspectives, life lessons to share, but each of us also has commitments and interests outside of work. Working toward shared professional goals ought not require coming from the same mold, and a shared professional mission need not be a shared 24/7 calling.

How we foster this culture


A supportive, productive department culture does not self-organize. Purposeful action is needed to grow and sustain it. By acting as outlined here, we will continue fostering the workplace social environment we want and the culture we need to fulfill our mission. Specifically, we will:

  • Recognize that we constantly create our department’s culture with our choices and actions as we move through each day.
  • Be intentional about offering our students and colleagues a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment for pursuing their personal and professional goals without unreasonable expectations or impositions.
  • Meet all students where they are when they enter the major or our core courses. No field of study is universally accessible to all backgrounds and abilities; nevertheless, each student with the will to learn aerospace engineering deserves our best efforts in helping them to flourish while under our care.
  • Encourage our students, our colleagues, and ourselves to be open to sincere feedback, and accountable for what we say and do.
  • Clearly communicate what we want students to learn and our criteria for evaluating their progress. A student should not have to determine our expectations due to vagueness nor should they be inequitably enforced.
  • Seek out opportunities and resources for discussing and understanding the challenges others face on their respective paths to growth and fulfillment.
  • Respect our colleagues’ personal boundaries, priorities, motivations, and obligations outside the workplace. 
  • Be gracious and fair in understanding that none of us can always be the ideal we aspire to. A misjudgment or a moment of frustration need not be prosecuted as an implicit bias or a deep-seated personality flaw to be rooted out.

DEI resources for our students, faculty, and staff are available through the USNA Center for Teaching and Learning
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