The Naval Postgraduate School’s (NPS) senior leadership hosted a virtual discussion with students and faculty on the topic of inclusion and diversity within the institution, Aug. 28. The forum provided updates and transparency on how the command addresses and handles these scenarios.
“Today is about conversation and about listening,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Ed “Tick” McCabe, NPS Aviation Chair. “It’s about having those uncomfortable conversations that are essential to forging a more inclusive force. Our mission is to create a culture where every person feels free to bring their unique perspective to bare on our most critical challenges and where that welcoming environment inspires innovation and the achievement of each individual’s full potential.”
The discussion started with NPS President retired Vice Adm. Ann Rondeau giving an overview of the first inclusion and diversity discussion held weeks prior and setting the stage for the current, noting her own involvement in the Navy-wide inclusion initiative, Task Force One Navy (TFON).
“I have the privilege of being put on to Rear Adm. Holsey’s group, Task Force One Navy, which is a Chief of Naval Personnel-led program to understand our inclusion and diversity issues,” commented Rondeau.
Group leaders took turns briefing the command about various subjects, like the annual command climate survey, NPS’ Inclusion and Diversity Council, human resources and community outreach to local schools. Several leaders from the Monterey chapter of the National Naval Officers Association (NNOA) also spoke about their organization and its dedication to the recruitment, retention and professional development of a diverse officer corps for the sea services.
“Due to NPS’ unique student body and in the spirit of inclusion, the NNOA Monterey chapter is looking to include all military branches, as well as junior enlisted personnel stationed at NPS,” said NNOA Monterey chapter President U.S. Navy Lt. Brandon Carter. “Group cohesion is going to be a key factor.”
The Monterey NNOA is also partnering with the Naval Junior Office Council, a junior officer run forum working with TFON as a one-stop shop that any command can reach out to and receive assistance for diversity, equity, and inclusion points of contact for research and marketing. Also, NPS’ Center for Executive Education is developing an inclusive leadership seminar series that looks to create empathetic leaders by providing them with the necessary tools to sharpen their ability to effectively communicate, understand, and lead the diverse members of their future commands.
“The leadership piece has really been the centerpiece for our inclusion efforts,” noted McCabe. “We understand that education is the key towards changing culture and changing people.”
The meeting also provided a platform for Rondeau to introduce NPS’ newest military faculty member U.S. Army Col. Joyce Stewart, who briefly spoke about what she has learned about inclusion and diversity during her 30-year military career.
“Sometimes it’s not just the education, but the awareness and just understanding of what you need to do to position yourself to be ready for any opportunities that might be out there,” said Stewart.
Following all prepared updates and remarks, Rondeau opened the floor for questions from any and all faculty and students in attendance. She addressed questions about the newly-formed TFON, current events in the realm of inclusion and diversity, and what an inclusive and diverse workplace would look like.
“One thing that NPS can do is be an exemplar of how we teach leadership and how we understand different points of view,” stated Rondeau. “Diversity of thought is what we seek. If you look across our schools, our faculty and our students, there is a great deal of diverse thinking here. We also have a long list of theses and studies done by our students and faculty on this issue.”