The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, which has been rocked by a series of controversies in recent years, most recently evicting the school's alumni association from campus
, has a new advisory board.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood named seven persons to the board, which he said will "help the academy achieve its strategic plan
goals. Their experience and expertise will further its mission to
educate and graduate the best-qualified merchant mariners who will
be the future leaders in the global maritime industries."
The school is operated by DOT's Maritime Administration.
The new board members are:
- Sharon van Wyk, executive vice president and chief operations officer, American Public University System
- Kathy Humphrey, vice provost and dean of students, University of Pittsburgh
- Laurie Leshin, dean of the school of science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Marty Linsky, faculty, Harvard Kennedy School; co-founder, Cambridge Leadership Associates
- Lt. Manuel Maddox, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Class of 2006
- Bill Pennella, vice chairman of the board and executive vice president, Crowley Maritime Corporation
- Jean-Paul Rodrigue, professor, Department of Global Studies and Geography, Hofstra University
DOT said the board will be an
independent body whose purpose is to examine the course of instruction
and management at the academy and advise the USMMA Superintendent
and Maritime Administrator to ensure the best possible educational
atmosphere for all midshipmen.
It said the group will advise the academy’s superintendent on
academic, organizational and institutional best practices. Its
members, selected by the Secretary of Transportation, will also review
the implementation of the academy's strategic plan as well as the academy’s fiscal soundness, curriculum, morale and campus climate,
student life, diversity and facilities.
The Kings Point, N.Y., school has had a troubled few years. It was criticized in a 2009 Government Accountability Office report for "numerous instances of improper and questionable sources and uses of funds by the academy and its affiliated organizations." Officials told Congress this spring that 33 of 46 recommendations in that report had been closed and others were expected to be closed shortly.
The school has been addressing infrastructure deficiencies, and $14 million for repairs is included in President Obama's 2014 budget.
The school also has been led by three different superintendents — Allen Worley, Phillip Greene, and James Helis as well as interim leaders — during in the past five years, and some alumni have been critical that the school's training ship was replaced with a smaller vessel.
A continuing education program, the Global Maritime and Transportation School, was closed last year. - Chris Dupin