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Strategic Plan

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Strategic Plan for 2018-2023: Navigating Towards the Future Together


To educate and graduate leaders of exemplary character who are inspired to serve the national security, marine transportation, and economic needs of the United States as licensed Merchant Marine Officers and commissioned officers in the Armed Forces.


To be a diverse and welcoming community of leaders, professionals, and scholars who are dedicated to collaboration inside and outside of Vickery Gate.  To live and work in a place where everyone is inspired to give his or her best every day. To be known as a center of excellence for Midshipman development and maritime innovation.



Promote an environment where inclusion, multiculturalism, and diversity are encouraged and valued. Communicate effectively and engage in healthy relationships. Maintain the highest level of professionalism as it relates to behavior and interpersonal skills.


Be honest and trustworthy, and maintain the highest level of integrity. Take responsibility and accountability for your actions and for those you lead. Demonstrate courage and stand up for the honor of others.


Generate the highest levels of trust, unity and pride in all Academy undertakings. Consider the needs of others before your own self-interest. Engage in leadership opportunities that contribute to our Nation’s maritime and military interests, and our community.



Leaders of exemplary character are mentally strong, physically tough, and morally sound, especially under pressure. Graduates must be capable decision makers, communicators, and critical thinkers who reflect on and embrace the challenges of leadership and service.

Professional Expertise.

Professionals are inspired to continuously develop and advance to increased levels of responsibility.  Graduates must possess the knowledge and skills to perform junior officer duties in the Merchant Marine and Armed Forces. 

Lifelong Learning.

Leadership and professional development are lifelong undertakings. Graduates must be able to acquire and apply new knowledge and skills through self-directed learning, so they can be lifelong leaders for the Nation.

Global Understanding.

Officers in the Merchant Marine and the Armed Forces operate in a global environment. Graduates must possess the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to analyze and understand a global, multicultural society.


Administer an integrated, enriching, and relevant Educational Program for Midshipmen that focuses on excellence in curriculum and delivery through seamless collaboration across academic, regimental, co-curricular, and extra-curricular Academy functions.

Goal 1:

A Midshipman Educational Program that fulfills the mission of the Academy and provides the foundation for life-long professional growth for graduates

Create a rigorous, coherent, and flexible Educational Program that provides balance for Midshipmen and focuses on development of the whole person and a well-rounded educational experience.

Center the Midshipman development process on the Institutional Learning Outcomes and emphasize leadership and character development throughout.

Integrate the academic and regimental curricula, other training programs, and extracurricular opportunities to create synergy in the learning that occurs inside and outside of the classroom.

Demonstrate excellence in teaching and incorporate best practices in higher education.

Ensure on-going relevance of the Educational Program through sustained engagement with the maritime industry and the military (Strategic Priority #5).

Goal 2:

A culture of continuous assessment and improvement in educational effectiveness and Midshipman development

Assess student learning to demonstrate that Midshipmen have achieved the Institutional Learning Outcomes across the Educational Program and communicate the results of this assessment to stakeholders.

Integrate assessment results and input from Midshipmen, graduates, industry, and the military for continuous improvement of the Educational Program.

Ensure optimal infrastructure (facilities and technology) to support educational effectiveness and Midshipman development (Strategic Priority #3).

Demonstrate planning and resource allocation aligned to support educational effectiveness (Strategic Priority #4).


Academic performance (GPAs, academic honors, deficiency rates, summer school attendance)

Success rate for Midshipmen on academic alerts; retention and graduation rates (overall, by gender, ethnicity, and major)

Assessment of Institutional and Program Learning Outcomes

USCG license pass rates

Survey results (Graduate, Alumni, National Survey of Student Engagement, Student Ratings of Instruction)


Cultivate an institutional culture in which every Academy community member is respected, valued, and can fulfill her or his maximum potential as a leader of exemplary character.

Goal 1:

An Academy community that embodies the institution’s Core Values as the guiding principles that define who we are

Infuse core values into all aspects of Academy life.

Instill a sense of personal responsibility and build shared ownership across the Academy for contributing to the desired institutional culture.

Institutionalize a positive campus culture through social campaigns led by Midshipmen, faculty, and staff.

Goal 2:

A supportive campus community that is welcoming and rich with diversity

Foster a climate of respect amongst students, faculty, staff, and administration from a range of diverse backgrounds, ideas, and perspectives.

Recruit and retain highly qualified faculty, staff, and Midshipmen from a variety of backgrounds whose values align with those of the institution (Strategic Priority #4).

Develop a comprehensive Enrollment Management Plan with aligned admission criteria.

Demonstrate commitment to student retention and success by providing an effective support system that contributes to the educational experience of all Midshipmen.

Ensure a supportive environment for all community members, especially those from underrepresented groups.

Goal 3:

A culture of trust and respect where new and creative ideas are cultivated

Build and align the Academy’s leadership and management team across all levels of the institution (Strategic Priority #4).

Ensure honest and transparent communication through regular engagement with internal and external stakeholders (Strategic Priority #5).

Engage in continuous interdepartmental communication and collaboration (Strategic Priority #5).

Provide opportunities for engagement among all members of the Academy community that will enhance inclusion, integration, and interpersonal communication and understanding.

Goal 4:

An Academy community that demonstrates cultural competence grounded in the understanding that diversity adds value to the campus environment and the Midshipmen’s educational experience

Integrate elements of diversity, equality, and inclusion into the Educational Program for Midshipmen (Strategic Priority #1).

Provide professional development programs for faculty, staff, and administration that enhance inter-cultural awareness and appreciation for diversity (Strategic Priority #4).


Survey results (National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Graduate, Alumni, Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS), Service Academy Gender Relations (SAGR))

Number of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints and number substantiated

Midshipman participation in extra-curricular activities

Percentage of minorities and women among Midshipmen

Percentage of minorities and women among faculty, staff, and administrators

Retention and graduation rates (overall, minorities, and women)

Learning outcomes assessment on the Leadership and Global Understanding Institutional Learning Outcomes

Availability/participation in professional development opportunities for faculty and staff

Availability/participation in diversity-related educational opportunities for Midshipmen

Availability/participation in SASH-related educational opportunities for Midshipmen, faculty, and staff


Engage in effective planning, management and utilization of Academy infrastructure that will enable Midshipman success, provide a safe, productive, and efficient work environment for Midshipmen and employees, and facilitate stewardship and sustainability of Academy resources.

Goal 1:

Campus buildings, grounds, utilities, vessels, and equipment that are safe, in a good state of repair, and in full compliance with applicable standards and regulations

Create a Campus Master Plan that incorporates modern technology, addresses emerging priorities, and enables institutional goals.

Develop and implement a comprehensive service delivery mechanism to accomplish deferred, preventative, and corrective maintenance in a cost effective, timely manner with high quality workmanship.

Implement a service delivery program to accomplish Capital Improvement Program projects in a timely and efficient manner in collaboration with the internal community and external stakeholders.

Ensure safety of Midshipmen, employees, and visitors, and security of buildings, grounds, and resources through a comprehensive security plan.

Goal 2:

A comprehensive, unified plan to ensure the availability of modern technology infrastructure to support the Academy’s mission and goals

Develop an Academy-wide Technology Plan that incorporates instructional and administrative hardware and software, information management systems, and infrastructure necessary to support effective and reliable availability of technology.

Instructional technology: classrooms, labs, simulators

Management information systems under Academy control

Infrastructure to ensure connectivity, campus security, and morale, welfare and recreation needs of Midshipmen (i.e. Wi-Fi, cellular connectivity, etc.)

Maintain well-defined processes for managing integration and administration of existing technology, selecting and implementing new technology, and providing support to users across the Academy.

Ensure integration and interoperability of systems.

Establish centralized management of systems.

Ensure appropriate approvals and controls are in place to ensure information security and compliance with federal information technology requirements.

Ensure Midshipmen and employees have the technology and information systems expertise required to perform their duties in a highly effective manner.


Time to deliver Capital Improvement Program projects

Progress to reduce the deferred maintenance backlog

Compliance with federal and other regulatory standards (facilities and IT)

Time to act on service tickets (facilities and IT)

First-time ticket resolution (facilities and IT)

Reliability of access to information systems and technology

Customer satisfaction surveys


Govern and lead the Academy in a manner that allows it to achieve its mission and goals in a way that benefits the institution, its Midshipmen, and the other constituencies it serves.  Administer the Academy with appropriate autonomy as an institution of higher education and Federal Service Academy having education as its primary purpose.

Goal 1:

Transparent alignment of Academy resources – money, people, and development opportunities – to the mission

Create and promulgate a Human Capital Plan aligned to the mission and goals of the Academy and ensures continuity of appropriately qualified personnel.

Ensure transparent and timely availability of information to stakeholders:

Fiscal expenditures by division and high-level justifications for resource allocation decisions (at appropriate budget cycle intervals)

Hiring priorities and status of filling positions (monthly)

Status of infrastructure projects (CIP and FMRE) and prioritization of unfunded needs (monthly) (Strategic Priority #3)

Clearly articulated process for collecting stakeholder input and incorporating that input into the decision-making process.

Goal 2:

Shared organizational decision-making processes and structures

Create an effective structure for shared governance that is clearly articulated and transparent and that outlines roles, responsibilities and accountability for decision-making, including a matrix of Academy committees.

Ensure consistent implementation of a communication plan for regular, honest, and transparent engagement with the internal community with an emphasis on conveying reasons for organizational decisions whenever possible (Strategic Priority #5).

Goal 3:

Active engagement with external entities and constituencies and successful integration of resulting input into decision-making

Ensure consistent implementation of a communication plan for regular, honest and transparent engagement with external constituents (Strategic Priority #5).

Ensure collection and integration of constituent input into decision-making processes.

Goal 4:

Effective leadership at all levels, creating an environment of mutual respect, trust, and confidence among all stakeholders

Ensure an administration with relevant experience demonstrating credentials and professional experience consistent with the mission of the Academy and their functional roles.

Implement a process for Academy leaders to receive inter-departmental feedback on their performance from colleagues, employees in their chain of command, and Midshipmen.

Ensure availability of time and resources for appropriate professional development opportunities for all Academy employees to ensure they have the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to perform their duties at a highly effective level.

Promote and reinforce Academy-wide focus on issues of diversity, equality, and inclusion through integration into human resources practices and professional development programs (Strategic Priority #2).


Compliance with federal regulations and requirements, accreditation requirements (MSCHE and ABET), and licensing requirements (STCW), and commissioning requirements.

Survey results (Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS), National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Alumni, Graduate, Service Academy Gender Relations (SAGR), Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) Climate Survey, etc.)

Timely dissemination of administrative information that shows the link between strategic priorities and resource allocation (budgets, hiring priorities, status of infrastructure projects, accreditation reports, assessment data)

Availability of and participation in professional development opportunities for faculty, staff, and administration

Leadership engagements with the internal community and external stakeholders


Establish and maintain a comprehensive communication program designed to enhance the Academy’s public image, facilitate stakeholder engagement, recruit and retain the best-qualified faculty, staff, and Midshipmen, and ensure timely and transparent messaging that builds trust and instills confidence in the institution.

Goal 1:

Increased public awareness and recognition of the Academy through proactive and positive public relations, branding, and outreach

Increase awareness of the mission of the Academy as the nation’s premier maritime institution and one of the five Federal Service Academies.

Increase organizational capacity and capability to tell the Academy’s story.

Update and refine the Academy’s brand and establish a marketing plan to facilitate recruitment and retention of diverse, highly qualified faculty, staff, and Midshipmen (Strategic Priority #2).

Goal 2:

A comprehensive communication plan to strengthen relationships, build trust, and instill confidence among all stakeholders

Establish a plan for regular communication with all target audiences that addresses the need for timely and transparent information (Strategic Priority #4).

Modernize the Academy’s communications technology and establish a comprehensive social media presence (Strategic Priority #3).

Facilitate continuous engagement with the campus community and external stakeholders necessary to achieve the Academy’s mission and goals.


Positive news items, media postings, announcements, updates, and other publications

Website visits and prospective student and employee inquiries

Posts/likes/followers on social media

Engagements with external stakeholders

Leadership visibility at events outside the Academy

Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS)

Midshipman surveys (Graduate, Alumni, National Survey of Student Engagement, etc.)


Emphasize the role and value of athletics in Midshipman development and recruiting and retaining the best and brightest Midshipmen for the Academy.

Goal 1:

Physical education and athletic programs that are environments of inclusivity and community, a laboratory for leadership development, and a means of instilling the importance of lifelong health and wellness

Create an environment where 100 percent of Midshipmen are athletes through participation in NCAA varsity sports, intramural teams, club sports, and/or organized recreation programs.

Provide education and outreach to Midshipmen and prospective Midshipmen that instills the importance of lifelong physical fitness, health, and wellness.

Develop leadership capacity and mental resilience in Midshipmen through physical education and athletic programs.

Leverage athletic programs to foster an environment of inclusivity and community based on the Academy’s core values.

Provide state of the art physical education and athletics facilities to support recruitment and development of Midshipmen.

Goal 2:

Competitive athletic programs with winning teams and student-athletes who demonstrate exemplary leadership and achieve success both on and off the field

Implement a recruitment plan that supports the enrollment and retention of the best and brightest student-athletes and supports the Academy’s Enrollment Management Plan.

Recruit, hire, and retain coaches and staff committed to the Academy mission and the proper role of physical education and athletics and who are leadership role models for student-athletes.

Develop physical education and athletics infrastructure comparable to the other Federal Service Academies to recruit and retain talented student-athletes.

Goal 3:

Increased awareness of the value of physical education and athletics to achieving the mission and goals of the institution and commensurate resource allocation for athletic programs

Create a communication plan to reinforce the importance of physical education and athletics in Midshipmen development to the Academy community and external stakeholders.

Provide adequate funding for facilities and coaches to ensure quality and safety of all physical education and athletics programs.

Develop and utilize appropriate financial structures and processes in order to optimize the use of appropriated and non-appropriated funds consistent with procedures used at other Federal Service Academies.


Percentage of Midshipmen involved in NCAA, varsity, club, and intramural sports

Percentage of Midshipmen who meet the Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) standards

Percentage of Midshipmen with physical restrictions due to injury

Percentage of student-athletes from underrepresented groups

Academic performance of student-athletes (GPAs, academic honors, deficiency rates, summer school attendance)

Retention and graduation rates of student-athletes

Number of conference championships and participation in post-season tournaments

Chronology of Events

January 2017                     Methodology Research and Selection

March 2017                       Statement of Work Developed

April 2017                         Solicitation for Appreciative Inquiry Consultants

May 2017                          Contractor Selected - Innovation Partners International of the Southwest, LLC (IPI)

June 2017                          Contract Signed – Appreciative Inquiry Framework

August 2017                      Introductory Sessions on Appreciative Inquiry

Aug/Sep 2017                   Strategic Planning Team (Core Planning Team) Training

September 2017                Interviewer Training

October 2017                    Data Collection Started – Interviews/Focus Groups

November 2017                Strategic Collaboration Capacity Building Sessions

January 2018                     Strategic Collaboration Capacity Building Sessions

                                           External Online Interviews Launched

February 2018                   Data Collection Ended; Data Analysis Began

March 2018                       Two-Day Strategic Planning Summit – Off Site

April 2018                         All Hands In-Progress Review – Intro New Mission, Vision, Institutional Learning Outcomes, and Strategic Priorities

May 2018                          Strategic Priority Teams Created

June 2018                          Strategic Priority Team Sessions

July 2018                           Strategic Plan Finalized and Launched

Now Accepting Applications for the Class of 2029