United States Merchant Marine Academy Advisory Council
Next USMMA Advisory Council Public Meeting
Date: March 7, 2024
Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Meeting ID: 161 450 8457
Phone only: (646) 828-7666
The Council will provide independent advice and recommendations on improving the Academy, including the areas of curriculum development and training programs; diversity, equity, and inclusion; sexual assault prevention and response; infrastructure maintenance and redevelopment; midshipmen health and welfare; governance and administrative policies; and other matters. As part of this work, the Council will develop strategies and recommendations to address the issues identified in the 2021 National Academy of Public Administration’s Comprehensive Assessment of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy report.
The Council is established pursuant to 46 U.S.C. § 51323, and operates in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), the federal register notice for the August 7th meeting can be found here.
For additional information please contact USMMAAdvisoryCouncil@dot.gov.
The thirteen inaugural members of the USMMA Advisory Council, five of whom are USMMA graduates, including one member from the Class of 2022, are leading experts drawn from academia, the maritime industry and maritime labor, the senior ranks of the U.S. military, and federal entities —including the Coast Guard, Military Sealift Command, Naval War College, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command. This group also includes expertise in administering institutions of higher learning; sexual assault and sexual harassment prevention and response; infrastructure and facilities management; and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
USMMA Advisory Council
2023 – 2025
- Ally Cedeno Founder & President of Women Offshore Foundation*
- Jonathan “JC” Christian Capt. (USN, Retired), Fleet Port Captain, Crowley Government Services*
- Claudia Cimini Executive Vice President, Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association*
- Shannon Collins Director of Training and Technical Assistance Program, National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA)
- Dave Curfman P.E., Chief Engineer and Assistant Commander for Design and Construction, Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC)
- Wayne Gersie Ph.D., Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Research Assistant Professor, Michigan Technological University
- Roshenda Josephs Captain, Military Sealift Command*
- Margaret DeLuca Klein RADM (USN, Retired), Ed.D., Professor in the College of Leadership and Ethics, U.S. Naval War College
- David Lewis VADM (USN, Retired), Senior Vice President, Maritime Operations, Leidos Inc.
- Eric Page Ph.D., Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor of Science, U.S. Coast Guard Academy
- Benjamin D. Reese Jr. Psy.D. CEO of Ben Reese LLC, Professor, Duke School of Medicine
- Lynn Rosenthal Director of Sexual and gender-based Violence, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Madison Schmidt Ensign, U.S. Coast Guard*
Individuals noted with an asterisk are USMMA graduates.
Meeting Date Federal Register Notice Meeting Minutes
1.Committee’s Official Designation: The United States Merchant Marine Academy Advisory Council.
2. Authority: The United States Merchant Marine Academy Advisory Council (Council) is established pursuant to 46 U.S.C. § 51323. The Council operates in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended, 5 U.S.C., App. 2.
3. Objectives and Scope of Activities: The Council shall provide independent advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) on matters relating to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (Academy or USMMA).
4. Description of Duties: The Council will undertake tasks only as assigned by the Secretary to provide independent advice and recommendations on improving the Academy, including in the areas of curriculum development and training programs; diversity, equity, and inclusion; sexual assault and harassment prevention and response; infrastructure maintenance and redevelopment; midshipmen health and welfare; governance and administrative policies; and other matters. The Council will operate independently and, to the extent practical, not duplicate the efforts and focus of the USMMA Advisory Board (46 U.S.C. 51313) and the USMMA Board of Visitors (46 U.S.C. 51312). As part of this work, the Council will, among other things, develop strategies and recommendations to address the issues identified in the National Academy of Public Administration’s Comprehensive Assessment of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy1 report. Strategies and recommendations provided by the Council may, among other things, cover—
• The structure of the academic year, Sea Year, and length of the academic program;
• Structures for the provision of appropriate oversight and support of the Academy;
• Formulation of a long-term strategic vision, (including the appropriate level of capacity and capability to implement such vision);
• Management systems, organizational functions, and resources required to reach strategic objectives; and
• Review Academy goals and objectives to ensure they serve the strategic needs of the U.S. merchant marine and American sealift capabilities.
The Secretary, the Maritime Administrator, and the Superintendent of the Academy will provide the Council candid and complete disclosure, consistent with applicable laws concerning disclosure of information, with respect to institutional challenges and objectives.
The Council shall recommend appropriate action. In carrying out its responsibilities, the Council shall comply with the obligations of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to protect personally identifiable information.
The Council shall visit the Academy at least once annually, on a date selected by the Council and in consultation with the Secretary, Maritime Administrator, and Superintendent of the Academy. With the approval of the Administrator, the Council or its members may make other visits to the Academy in connection with the duties of the Council or to consult with the Superintendent of the Academy, midshipmen, faculty, and staff. Council members will have access to the Academy grounds and resources for the purposes of carrying out the duties of the Council.
The Council will prepare an annual report containing its views and recommendations pertaining to the Academy, based on its meetings since the last such report and any other considerations it deems relevant. Each report shall be submitted concurrently to the Secretary, through the Administrator. The Superintendent will receive a copy of the report.
5. Agency or Official to Whom the Committee Reports: The Council reports to the Secretary, through the Maritime Administrator.
6. Support: The Maritime Administrator and the Superintendent of the Academy, will provide the necessary support for the Council.
7. Estimated Annual Operating Costs and Staff Years: The estimated annual operating cost, to include travel, meetings, Federal staff payments and contract support, is approximately $120,000. The estimated annual personnel costs to the DOT is one full-time equivalents (FTE)
8. Designated Federal Officer: The Council’s Designated Federal Officer (DFO) will be a full-time or permanent part-time DOT employee and designated in accordance with DOT policies and procedures. The Council’s DFO is required to attend all Council and subcommittee meetings for the entire duration of each and every meeting. The DFO, will:
• Ensure compliance with FACA and any other applicable laws and regulations;
• To the extent practical, avoid duplication of effort between the Counsel and the USMMA Advisory Board (46 U.S.C. 51313) and the USMMA Board of Visitors (46 U.S.C. 51312).
• Approve or call all Council and subcommittee meetings;
• Prepare and approve all meeting agendas;
• Ensure detailed minutes of each Council meeting are taken and maintained;
• Maintain all Council records, files, and membership records;
• Adjourn any meeting when doing so would be in the public interest, required by governing regulations, or DOT policy and procedures; and
• Chair meetings when directed to do so by the Secretary.
9. Estimated Number and Frequency of Meetings: The Council will meet at the call of the Council’s DFO, in consultation with the Council’s Chair and the Maritime Administrator. The estimated number of Council meetings is at least four times per year to carry out its responsibilities.
10. Duration: Continuing.
11. Termination: This Charter will terminate 2 years after its effective date unless it is renewed in accordance with FACA.
12. Membership and Designation: The Council will comprise no fewer than 8 members, but not more than 14 members, with diverse backgrounds and expertise that will allow them to contribute to balanced points of view and ideas regarding improving the Academy.
The Council membership shall be designated by the Secretary and may include:
• Experts in Academia and higher education administration;
• Members of the Uniformed Services (active duty, reserve, or retired);
• Current or former representatives of the maritime shipping industry;
• Representatives of maritime labor unions;
• Experts in the field of prevention and response to sexual assault and sexual harassment;
• Experts in the field of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging;
• Experts in facilities and infrastructure, and/or capital improvement planning;
• Graduates of the Academy; and
• Other individuals the Secretary deems appropriate to fulfill the Council’s mission.
Council members shall serve for a term of two years, except that any member whose appointment term has expired may continue to serve until a successor is designated.
Council members may serve as Representative Members, Special Government Employees (SGE), or as Regular Government Employees (RGE). Individuals will be appointed as representatives if they represent a particular interest of employment, education, experience, or affiliation with a specific maritime-related organization. Members appointed solely for their expertise will serve as SGEs. Representative and SGE members will serve without charge, and without government compensation, except they may receive reimbursement for travel expenses and per diem. Federal employee members will serve as RGEs. The number of members of the Council who are Federal employees may not exceed the number of members of the Council who are not Federal employees.
13. Subcommittees: The Maritime Administrator may create subcommittees or work groups. All subcommittees and work groups must report their recommendations and advice to the full Council for deliberation, discussion, and adoption, and must not provide advice or work products directly to DOT.
14. Recordkeeping: The records of the Council will be managed in accordance with General Record Schedule 6.2 or other approved agency records disposition schedule, as well as the appropriate DOT policies and procedures. These records will be available for public inspection and copying, subject to the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. § 552). The Council’s records are also located on MARAD’s public website.
15. Filing Date: This charter is effective March 30, 2022 and will expire 2 years from this date unless renewed.
ARTICLE I: AUTHORITY AND PURPOSE The United States Merchant Marine Academy Advisory Council (Council) is governed by 46 U.S.C § 51323. It is an advisory committee established to provide advice on and inquire into the morale, discipline, social climate, curriculum, instruction, physical equipment, fiscal affairs, academic methods, infrastructure needs, and other matters relating to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (Academy) that the Council decides to consider. This Council cannot be directive in its advisory role, and it is charged with providing independent advice and recommendations on matters relating to the Academy. The Council shall be responsible for advising the Secretary of Transportation, through the Maritime Administrator, by making recommendations on significant matters relating to the Academy. The Council may request, without restriction, information, facts, and briefings in support of its role to advise on operations of the Academy. The Secretary of Transportation, Maritime Administrator, and Superintendent of the Academy shall provide the Council candid and complete disclosure, consistent with applicable laws concerning disclosure of information, with respect to institutional problems.
ARTICLE II: RULES OF CONSTRUCTION Nothing in these bylaws shall be construed to supersede the provisions of the public laws of the United States, the Council’s Charter, or any Maritime Administration (MARAD) or Department of Transportation (DOT) regulation, directive, or instruction. Nothing in these bylaws shall be construed to create liability in any Council member for any action taken by the Council or the Academy.
ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP
Section 1 - Council: The Council is constituted biannually and consists of not fewer than 8 members but not more than 14 members designated by the Secretary. At least 2 of these members may be a graduate of the Academy. Other members of the Council may be designated from: the field of academics; the Armed Forces (active duty, reserve or retired); the maritime shipping industry or maritime labor unions; experts in the field of prevention and response to sexual assault and sexual harassment; and experts in the field of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Upon announcement of a Council member's replacement, the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) will notify the Chair of the membership change. The Council Chair will make proper notification to the member that the replacement has been appointed.
Section 2 - Term of Service: The persons designated shall serve for not more than two years each except that any member whose term of office has expired shall continue to serve until his successor is designated. The Secretary shall designate persons each year to succeed the members whose terms expire that year. If a member of the Council dies or resigns or is terminated as a member of the Council, a successor shall be designated by the Maritime Administrator for the unexpired portion of the term.
Section 3 - Service Expectation: The Council is a working Council, and its members are expected to attend all meetings and to participate in the activities of the Council. Council members have the duty to make constructive recommendations to ensure the mission of the Academy is appropriately met. If a member of the Council fails to attend two successive Council meetings, except in a case in which an absence is approved, for good cause, by the Council Chair, such failure shall be grounds for termination from membership on the Council. A person designated for membership on the Council shall be provided notice of the provisions of this paragraph at the time of such appointment. When a member of the Council is subject to termination from membership on the Council, the Council Chair shall notify the Secretary through the Maritime Administrator.
Section 4 - Officers: The officers of the Council are the Chair and the Vice Chair, who shall be designated by the Administrator. The Chair and Vice Chair shall serve for a period of two years commencing with the first initial business meeting until their re-designation or the designation of their successors. The Vice Chair shall preside at the meeting in the absence of the Chair, or if the Chair resigns or is unable to perform the functions of the office because of illness or death.
Section 5 - Subcommittees: The Administrator may, when necessary and consistent with the Council's mission and MARAD/DOT policies and procedures, create subcommittees of the parent committee. In order to assist DOT, the Administrator may create, or the Council Chair may recommend the establishment of, subcommittees and prescribe their membership, size, focus, and duration to DOT through the DFO. Subcommittees may be used to conduct research or gather information for the use of the entire Council. As is consistent with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and applicable DOT policies, subcommittee meetings will not be open to the public, but each Subcommittee Chair may intermittently and when necessary, brief the Council during an open session to summarize the subcommittee's work. No individual Council member or subcommittee shall take official action for the Council unless authorized to do so. Subcommittees shall be responsible for reviewing and making recommendations to the full Council on subjects the Council shall designate.
Section 6 - Designated Federal Officer: The Executive Director of MARAD shall appoint the DFO for the Council and shall serve as DOT’s representative for all matters related to the Council’s activities. The Executive Director may also designate an alternate DFO to support the administrative and operational requirements of the Council. The designated person shall have the duties and responsibilities imposed by sections 10(e) and (f), FACA (5 U.S.C. Appendix, 10 (e) and (f)). As part of those duties, the DFO shall attend all meetings of the Council and may exercise the authority to adjourn any meeting of the Council, if determined to be in the public interest. The DFO is also responsible for approving any meeting of the Council, in consultation with the Administrator and Council Chair, to include preparation of agenda and materials. Additional alternate DFOs may be appointed, as required by DoT policy, to attend subcommittee meetings. In the absence of a designated DFO the Executive Director will appoint an Acting DFO.
In addition, the DFO is responsible for providing adequate staff support for the Council’s administrative functions, including:
a. Provide tasks or specific requests for recommendations, advice or analysis concerning the Academy;
b. Assist in developing plans for the activities of the Council and its subcommittees;
c. Serve as liaison between the Council and other relevant Department of Transportation offices and Federal entities;
d. Coordinate invitations for subject matter experts to comment and participate in meetings in accordance with DOT policy and FACA;
e. Call meetings of the Council after consultation with the Chair and determine the date, time and location where they will be held;
f. Formulate an agenda, in consultation with the Administrator and Chair, for each meeting;
g. Notify all Council; members of the date, time, place, and agenda for any meeting;
i. Maintain Council files and disseminating information in accordance with applicable statutes, resolutions, and instructions;
j. Adjourn any meeting when it is determined to be in the public interest; and,
k. Chair meetings when directed to do so by the Administrator.
ARTICLE IV: MEETINGS
Section 1 - Designated Council Meeting Dates: The Council should meet at least four times a year, with at least one of those meetings at the Academy. Other than those meetings required to convene at the Academy, meetings of the Council may be conducted in whole or in part through electronic means. The Council or its members may make other visits to the Academy in connection with the duties of the Council. Members shall have access to the Academy grounds and the cadets, faculty, staff, and other personnel of the Academy for the purposes of the duties of the Council.
Section 2 - Notice of Meetings of the Council: Notices of the scheduled or special meetings of the Council shall be published in the Federal Register. The notice shall be published at least 15 calendar days before the date of the meeting, except that a shorter period may be authorized in an emergency situation, with the prior approval of the Maritime Administrator. The notice shall state the time, place, and purpose of the meeting and set forth a draft summary of the agenda, which is subject to change. The notice shall also state whether the meeting will be open to the public. In those instances where the Chair recommends certain sessions (e.g., sessions involving personal information protected by the Privacy Act of 1974) of a scheduled meeting, or the entire meeting, should be closed to the public in accordance with provisions of Section 552b(c), Title 5, United States Code, the Chair will notify the DFO. The DFO will staff the request for a closed session through the Chief Counsel for approval by the Administrator.
Section 3 - Agenda: Prior to each meeting, the DFO shall prepare a draft meeting agenda after consultation with the Council Chair, the Administrator, the Superintendent of the Merchant Marine Academy, and others as deemed appropriate. The Maritime Administrator will have final approval of meeting agendas. Upon consultation with the DFO, any member of the Council may make special visits to the United States Merchant Marine Academy, in addition to those described herein, in connection with the duties of the Council or to consult with the Superintendent.
Section 4 - Quorum: No business may be transacted at a meeting of the Council unless a quorum is present of more than six council members. Participation in a Council meeting through electronic means suffices for attendance for the purpose of obtaining a quorum. In other words, regardless of the forum (a face-to-face meeting, an electronic-based meeting, or a combination of both), at least a quorum must participate for business to be transacted.
Section 5 - Parliamentary Procedure: Except as provided herein or through decisions of the Council, Robert's Rules of Order shall apply in all proceedings and discussions of the Council and its subcommittees. All questions shall be decided by a majority vote of the members present (in person or by electronic means), or by consensus at the discretion of the Chair. Each member shall have one vote. Voting may be done by mail ballot or by telephone call, electronic mail, or other means designated by the Council, the Chair, or subcommittee chairmen.
Section 6 - Participation of the Public: Members of the public attending open meetings and briefings of the Council may, upon approval by the Chair, be allowed to present comments from the floor or speak to an issue under discussion by the Council. Any member of the public shall also be permitted to file a written comment with the Council. The proposed statement will be submitted to the DFO. However, if a written comment is not received at least 10 days before the first day of the scheduled meeting then it may not be provided to, or considered by, the Council until its next open meeting. The DFO will review all timely submissions with the Council Chair and ensure they are provided to members of the Council before the meeting that is the subject of the proposed written comment. The DFO has the discretion to determine the time and place to share a proposed comment with the Council Chair, Council, and public. If, after review of timely submitted written comments, the Council Chair and DFO deem appropriate, they may choose to invite the submitter of the written comments to orally present their comment during an open portion of the Council meeting subject to the submitter's request. The DFO and Council Chair may, if desired, allot a specific amount of time for members of the public to present their issue for Council review and discussion. Direct questioning of Council members or meeting participants by the public is not permitted except with the approval of the DFO and Chair.
Section 8 - Proxy Voting: Proxy voting is not allowed. A letter from an absent member presenting a position on a particular matter under consideration by the Council shall not constitute a vote on the matter, but the letter may be read to the Council by the Chair and shall be appended to the Minutes of the Council.
Section 9 - Special Meetings: The Chair may propose a special Council meeting for good cause or upon written request of at least a majority of the Council members.
Section 10 - Minutes of the Council: Detailed minutes of any meeting held by the Council shall be kept by the DFO and shall contain a record of persons present, a complete and accurate description of matters discussed, and conclusions reached, if any, and copies of all reports received, issued, or approved by the Council. The statement of members will appear only in summation form, except any member may exercise the right to have views incorporated verbatim in the minutes. Minutes shall be compiled by the DFO and certified by the Chair of the Council. Subject to 5 U.S.C. Section 552, the records, reports, transcripts, minutes and other documents pertaining to the Council's activity will be available for public inspection.
Section 11 - Reports: The Council shall prepare an annual report containing its views and recommendations pertaining to the Academy, based on its meetings since the last such report and any other considerations it determines relevant. Each such report shall be submitted to the Secretary of Transportation, through the Maritime Administrator. The Superintendent will receive a copy of the approved reports.
ARTICLE V: GENERAL
Section 1 - United States Merchant Marine Academy: The United States Merchant Marine Academy, without restriction, will provide to the Council information, briefings, and facts in preparation for meetings in support of its role to oversee operations of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, and will provide Council members access to the Academy grounds and cadets, to include attending classes and meeting with cadets informally and privately. Also, the Superintendent of the Merchant Marine Academy will ensure Council members receive candid and complete disclosure of all institutional problems, to include cadet and faculty surveys, and any information related to the culture and climate of the Academy.
Section 2 – Department of Transportation: The Department of Transportation, as an executive branch department, is responsible for implementing policies, law, regulations, and statutes concerned with the Academy, as well as achieving the desired outcomes. This is done through the chain of command that proceeds from the Secretary of Transportation to the Maritime Administrator, and then to the Superintendent of the Merchant Marine Academy.
Section 3 - Amendments of Changes to the Bylaws of the Council: The bylaws will be reviewed annually or at the discretion of the Administrator. Amendments or changes to the bylaws of the Council may be suggested to the Council Chair, in writing, by any member as an agenda item at a scheduled Council meeting not less than 30 days prior to the meeting. The assent of at least two-thirds of the members of the Council is necessary to amend or change these bylaws.
Section 4 - Reimbursement: While performing duties as a member of the Council, each member of the Council and each adviser may be reimbursed under Government travel regulations for travel expenses, depending on the availability of funds.