The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) recognized four of its top faculty by conferring the honored title of Distinguished Professor in recognition of their exceptional and sustained scholarly, teaching and service accomplishments.
Dr. John Arquilla, Department of Defense Analysis; Dr. Moshe Kress, Department of Operations Research; Dr. John McEachen, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Dr. Clifford Whitcomb, Department of Systems Engineering, have been officially designated with the honored title, and will be formally recognized during the upcoming Summer Quarter Graduation ceremony in King Auditorium, Sept. 21, for this exemplary achievement.
“This type of recognition and designation is very humbling for me,” said Arquilla. “It puts me in company with many of my finest colleagues on campus.”
“[The announcement] was a little overwhelming,” recalled McEachen. “I was incredibly flattered when I had learned of my nomination, and that would have been enough for me. When I was told about my selection, it was very exciting and humbling for me to be inducted into this group.”
Faculty members are nominated by their respective departments, and reviewed by a diverse board of their colleagues before selections are made. This year’s honorees join a community of 45 current and emeritus faculty who hold the title of Distinguished Professor.
With more than 77 combined years of experience at NPS between the latest four designees, they have left an indelible mark on countless students that have passed through their respective classrooms ... a critical factor for any educator.
“It really is all about the students,” said McEachen. “They are the long-term product that we are producing here. I think we do some really interesting research, but the students are usually the ones doing that research, and it’s the students’ understanding of that research that will persist long-term.”
Although each of the faculty has a unique background and approach to the classroom, they all share in the common goal of challenging NPS’ unique student body to think differently.
“One of the more challenging courses I teach encourages students to think about how dependent our armed forces have become on advanced information technologies, and how vulnerable they are to disruption,” noted Arquilla. “Another course I’ve enjoyed teaching has to do with how organized militaries have responded to technological change, and how they ought to respond.”
“I have a class that uses advanced mathematical modeling formulations to model combat situations, legacy situations, counter-insurgency, counter-terror, and now we are even getting into cyber security,” added Kress.
For Whitcomb, extending the NPS education to students off of campus has been a considerable point of satisfaction.
“I think being able to develop and support the ability to teach systems engineering to students who are not on campus is something I am very proud of,” said Whitcomb. “We were able to deliver the education to warfare centers, system commands, and other commands around the country and even around the world. They could get fully-accredited education programs without having to send people directly to Monterey, and it did not hinder their education.”
In addition to the challenging and rewarding work each of the faculty has performed with students, they also uniformly expressed significant pride in the mission of NPS, and how the education and research underway on campus serves a higher purpose in U.S. national security.
“It’s just such an honor and privilege to be able to work at NPS,” added Whitcomb. “It’s not just naval students, but students from across the Department of Defense. To be able to provide, on a consistent basis, their education across so many areas to all of those different students is really special and a reward in itself,” said Whitcomb.
“I’ve always considered it a privilege to serve here, and it has certainly been an honor to work with the faculty across the campus, as well as our students from all of the services, and so many countries around the world,” Arquilla said, echoing a sentiment shared by his fellow selectees.
“I truly could not imagine having a more rewarding experience anywhere else,” he added.