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  POSTED ON: Wednesday, April 5, 2023 4:39 PM by

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The U.S. Naval Academy announced today that Dr. Samara L. Firebaugh has been selected to succeed Dr. Andrew T. Phillips as the Naval Academy’s Academic Dean and Provost. Firebaugh, who is currently the Naval Academy’s Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, will assume the position in July.

 The Academic Dean and Provost is responsible for the entire academic program for the 4,400-member Brigade of Midshipmen, oversees nearly 600 faculty members, and serves as the primary source of information and advice for the superintendent regarding the education of midshipmen. Phillips has been serving as Academic Dean and Provost since 2009. Last year, he announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2023 academic year.  

The process to find a new academic dean and provost for the Naval Academy began last year in September with the superintendent forming a search committee. The committee included representation  from multiple academic disciplines at the Academy and was co-chaired by Navy Capt. Tracie Severson, an associate professor in the Weapons, Robotics, and Control Engineering Department, and Professor Kurtis Swope, Associate Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

After a nationwide search and rigorous interview and selection process overseen by the search committee, Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck selected Firebaugh.

 “I could not be more pleased to have Dr. Firebaugh at the helm of our academic program here at the Naval Academy,” said Buck. “For over two decades she has been a valued member of our faculty and our Naval Academy family. As a professor, department chair, and as an associate provost, she has been instrumental in our mission to develop midshipmen. Our midshipmen and our faculty will be in good hands under her leadership.”

In 1995, Firebaugh earned her Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Princeton University. She earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1997 and 2001, respectively.

Firebaugh joined the Naval Academy’s faculty in 2001 as an assistant professor in the Naval Academy’s Electrical Computer Engineering Department. Since 2001, she has served in a number of faculty and leadership positions. According to Firebaugh, serving as the vice president of the Faculty Senate, working as the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department Chair, and her current role as the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs have given her tools and experience to prepare for the challenges of her new position. 

“I am honored and humbled to be selected as the next Provost for the Naval Academy,” said Firebaugh. “Throughout my career in Annapolis I have been impressed by the quality of our faculty and staff, and their dedication to the mission to develop midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically to become leaders to serve our nation. I’m grateful to be part of such a terrific team.

Firebaugh received the Raouf Award for Excellence in Engineering Teaching in 2012. In 2014, she received the Navy’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award and the Class of 1951 Civilian Faculty Teaching Excellence Award in Honor of Professor Theodore J. Benac. She has been a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers since 2017 and was awarded the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award in 2022.

As the undergraduate college of our country's naval service for more than 175 years, the Naval Academy prepares young men and women to become professional officers of competence, character, and compassion in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.


Category: Press Releases, General Interest, Academics