Three faculty members at U.S. Naval War College (NWC) were presented this month with the inaugural awards for excellence at the school’s convocation ceremony to kick-off the academic year.
The faculty members were: Andrew Erickson, professor of strategy, honored for Research Excellence; Terry Roehrig, professor of National Security Affairs, honored for Teaching Excellence; and David Polatty, professor of Maritime Operational Warfare, honored for Service Excellence.
The awards, presented by NWC President Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley, were developed to fill a need for recognizing the schools’ best.
“We realized we had a gap in recognizing all segments of our team,” said Jay Hickey, associate provost, who helped establish the new awards. “We routinely honor great military personal and great civilian personnel, as we should. We didn’t have a mechanism to recognize the great faculty here. So we established these awards to do that and we’ve gotten very positive feedback.”
Erickson is a researcher working primarily in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) where he is a world-renown expert on that country’s seagoing militia. His work has had a significant impact on the understanding of this dynamic challenge.
“Andrew’s work over the last decade here at the college has been the foundation on which much of the success of its China-related research has been built,” states CMSI Director Prof. Peter Dutton.
Sustained superb performance was the reason Roehrig was honored by the school with the Teaching Excellence Award. As teacher of an elective course, he received a perfect score from students providing course feedback. He achieved this while carrying a full load of classes, supervising a regional studies group, writing two peer-reviewed articles and completing a book.
“We have such a great faculty, any number of my colleagues could have won this award” said Roehrig. “I’ve learned a lot, and continue to learn from the outstanding educators we have here at the Naval War College. Education has been a fulfilling career and it’s rewarding and humbling when you learn someone believes you are doing it right.”
Polatty, who wasn’t able to attend the event due to travel, was awarded the Service Excellence Award. He was recognized for his contributions to coordinating joint civilian-military humanitarian response to conflict settings and natural disasters. Recently, he has coordinated lectures, workshops, and simulations with Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island; Stanford University, Palo Alto, California; and many others. He also helped create a formal education and research partnership agreement with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which is part of the U.N. Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies.
“It was incredibly humbling to be recognized with so many incredible faculty at NWC doing so many amazing things,” said Polatty of the honor. “My selection is truly a reflection of all the hard work of a cross-college team of faculty from each of NWC’s colleges and centers, who work closely together in our Humanitarian Response Program. Our team interfaces daily with some of the smartest people on the planet in academia, humanitarian organizations, and international militaries — focusing on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of civilian-military coordination in current and future crises. It’s difficult to express my gratitude for being able to work with so many amazing colleagues.”
The awards are to be presented each year at convocation ceremonies.