Since its inception in the 1940's, the United States Merchant Marine Academy has fostered a tradition of balancing a theoretical education in the classroom with practical, hands-on training in labs and at sea. In the 1950's and 1960's, classroom instruction was delivered through books and blackboards, supplemented by practical scientific and mechanical laboratory sessions. Midshipmen got their hands dirty cutting threads on a lathe, breaking down a pump, or splicing lines (ropes, for the land-lubbers).
However, as the merchant marine and transportation industry became more technologically complex, so too has the Academy adapted to the changing needs of teaching and learning. Much of the traditional hand-on lab work still takes place. But, today's midshipmen are also spending time training on state-of-the-art full-mission and part-task computerized simulators. Faculty deliver technology-rich lectures in modern electronic classrooms. Wireless technologies, web-based instruction, and distance learning will soon be commonplace throughout campus.
The Academic Division devotes significant resources both to facilitate effective teaching by the faculty as well as effective learning by midshipmen. These specialized facilities are dedicated to academic excellence, and help ensure that USMMA graduates will remain well prepared and highly competitive into the 21st century.