The U.S. Department of Transportation has appointed Wayne Gersie, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, as a representative member on the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA or Academy) Advisory Council. The appointment is effective from May 3, 2023 for a term of two years.
On the Council, Gersie will represent the viewpoints of Michigan Tech in the area of diversity, equity, inclusion, and sense of belonging (DEIS). In this role, he will provide valuable insights and perspectives to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to help further the USMMA’s mission.
“I am honored to be called to serve by the Secretary to provide insight on the positive educational and innovation impacts of diversity, equity, inclusion, and sense of belonging initiatives,” said Gersie. “This appointment is recognition of the DEIS work we’re doing here at Michigan Tech.”
About the USMMA Advisory Council
The Council’s objective is to provide information and recommendations on Academy operations matters. Areas of focus include:
- curriculum development and training programs;
- diversity, equity, and inclusion;
- sexual assault prevention and response;
- infrastructure maintenance and planning;
- midshipmen health and welfare;
- governance and administrative policies;
- and other matters.
Importantly, the establishment of the USMMA Advisory Council fulfills a key recommendation from the National Academy of Public Administration in their November 2021 report. The recommendation was codified in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.
This appointment is recognition of the DEIS work we’re doing here at Michigan Tech.
“For the past two years, we have been working to address urgent challenges at the USMMA, and to provide its cadets with the resources and support they need and deserve,” said Secretary Buttigieg. “We are grateful to members of the Advisory Council for stepping up at this consequential moment and helping guide our continuing efforts to strengthen the Academy and ensure the safety and success of its students.”
To this end, Gersie and the USMMA Advisory Council will provide advice regarding the prioritization of the National Academy of Public Administration’s recommendations, as well as recommend measures to ensure that the USMMA’s curriculum is keeping pace with the technological advances in the maritime industry.
“The members of the USMMA Advisory Council are lending their expertise to help us consider how to position the Academy for success for the next eight decades,” said Maritime Administrator Ann C. Phillips. “We look forward to working closely with them and to receiving the benefit of their insights and recommendations.”