Newport, R.I. - The U.S. Naval War College (NWC) hosted their 14th annual faculty cloister for approximately 300 faculty members Aug. 2. The cloister recognized significant achievements of the NWC faculty and included a presentation of awards as well as new faculty introductions.
“This is a special event for us. This is a great opportunity and doing it before the academic year starts just sets us off in the right frame of mind and also sets us off on the right path of rebuilding relationships face-to-face that has been missing since the start of the global pandemic,” said Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield, president of the U.S. Naval War College.
Chatfield went on to discuss how the faculty adapted to the virtual environment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want to thank you for coming back today, and I also want to recognize and thank you for the extraordinary effort that you have made over the past 17 months as we became informed and learned about changes that we would have to make,” she said. “It was a dynamic environment, and we know that it’s still a changing, uncertain and dynamic environment. And for that and for the energy and versatility that you bring today, I want to tell you how grateful I am that you’re here, what you do and the fact it’s you doing it is so important to our national security, our Navy and our nation.”
The keynote speaker for the faculty cloister was Scott Jaschik, editor of Inside Higher Ed. Jascick discussed the top 10 issues facing higher education today including the challenges universities have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Air Force Lt. Col. Alexander Fafinski, former NWC professor in the National Security Affairs Department received the Vice Admiral T.R . Weschler Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award recognizes a military NWC professor who possesses a unique combination of superior professional competence, creative imagination and unbridled enthusiasm.
Professor Thomas Linn, NWC College of Distance Education, received the Distinguished Fleet Professor Award, which is given for superior professional performance as a teacher and mentor. Part of his award citation read: “His dedication to his craft and his students is second to none, as reflected by his top ranking by students and colleagues alike over the course of his 25-year career in the College of Distance Education.”
NWC faculty members develop and teach both core and elective courses for curricula at the college. They also support Navy and Department of Defense educational programs through research, publication, analysis and war gaming.
“Faculty cloister is an opportunity for all of the college faculty to come together in the same location at the outset of the academic year,” said Professor Thomas J. Gibbons, NWC associate provost. “The cloister makes the faculty feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves.”
The NWC faculty cloister began in 2008. It was created to bring faculty together, develop relationships, and acknowledge their achievements.