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USMMA Announces New Interim Academic Dean

By Benjamin Benson

KINGS POINT, N.Y., October 20, 2015 – Capt. David J. Palmer, USMS, Ph.D., was appointed Interim Academic Dean of the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point last week.

Superintendent, Rear Adm. James A. Helis, USMS, Ph.D., welcomed Palmer noting that he will serve as Interim Dean until the process of recruiting, selecting, and on-boarding the next full-time Academic Dean is completed.

Palmer is a Full Professor of Engineering in the Department of Marine Engineering.  He previously served as Head of the Engineering Department, as Assistant Academic Dean, and as Associate Professor of Engineering. 

Helis thanked Assistant Dean Professor Dianne Taha for immediately stepping up as Acting Dean while the Academy prepared a succession plan for Dr. Shashi’s Kumar’s departure from the Academy to become the National Director of Maritime Education and Training at the Maritime Administration. 

Academic Dean (Interim):  David Joseph Palmer, Ph.D. & EDO

CAPT David J. Palmer, USMS is a Full Professor of Engineering and formerly the Head of the Department of Engineering at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, one of the five federal academies.  Prior to this, he was the Assistant Academic Dean and an Associate Professor of Engineering at the Academy.   He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering Systems from the United States Merchant Marine Academy; a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Brooklyn Polytechnic University and a Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York University, concentrating in Thermodynamics, Fluid Dynamics, Heat Transfer and Engineering Management.  His dissertation entitled A Combined Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactor and Fuel Cell Cycle dealt with a combined cycle marine engineering propulsion system, which allowed him to further specialize in marine engineering, gas cooled nuclear reactors and solid oxide fuel cells.

Dr. Palmer is also a graduate of the United States Navy’s Nuclear Power Program, where he was certified as an Engineering Officer of the Watch, Nuclear Plant Engineer and Engineering Duty Officer. CAPT Palmer used these certifications during his employment with General Electric’s Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, where he had the responsibility of training and certifying Navy personnel in the operation of Nuclear Power for our nation’s nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers. His position as Nuclear Engineering Officer of the Watch, Engineering Duty Officer and Nuclear Plant Engineer permitted him not only to be a member on the watch team operating a nuclear reactor and an entire marine propulsion steam plant, but also to lead as the chief member of the team with responsibility of overseeing the nuclear reactor and marine propulsion steam plant.  

At the Academy, Professor Palmer, in addition to teaching, held many responsibilities within the Academic Division in areas such as the budget, strategic planning, Middle States, STCW, Academic Review Boards, Chairmanship of the Faculty Personnel Committee, the Professional Review Board and a number of other committees including selection committees.  He participated and assisted in several key Middle States, STCW and ABET audits.  Further, he led an ongoing budget plan to refurbish and upgrade the Academy's many laboratories, simulators and classrooms to meet the needs and standards of the 21st century.  During CAPT Palmer’s tenure as Chief of the USMMA’s Engineering Department, the Engineering Department successfully accomplished many critical items, some of which include the reengineering of the academic curriculum to incorporate new international regulations,  a highly successful STCW and ABET audit, and a strong connection with Industry by hosting Engineering Industry Roundtables while ensuring critical outcomes assessment was completed to maintain a high standard of education and training.

Dr. Palmer is a Commander in the United States Navy Reserve, where he held several positions in the Selective Reserve with the Naval Control and Guidance of Shipping.  He is currently a Commander in the Merchant Marine Individual Ready Reserve, a Captain in the United States Maritime Service, holds a current STCW-95 United States Coast Guard Engineer's license and is an Engineering Duty Officer.  He was also a part of a United States Delegation to China in 2010 and to Russia in 2006.  Further, he is the recipient of the MARAD Star for Extraordinary Contribution, the Federal Executive Board Employee of the Year Award, a MARAD Bronze Award in 2013, the Secretary of Transportation Award for Transportation Safety in 2014 and a number of distinguished evaluations including a U.S. Navy Commendation.  Dr. Palmer, his wife and children reside on Long Island.

Updated: Wednesday, October 21, 2015
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