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Naval Academy announces Samara L. Firebaugh as new dean and provost

Samara L. Firebaugh (U.S. Naval Academy/Released)
April 12, 2023

The U.S. Naval Academy announced Wednesday that Samara L. Firebaugh, the current associate provost for academic affairs at the academy, will succeed Andrew T. Phillips as the school’s academic dean and provost. She will assume the position in July.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected as the next Provost for the Naval Academy,” Firebaugh said in a news release. “Throughout my career in Annapolis, I have been impressed by the quality of our faculty and staff, and their dedication to the mission to develop midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically to become leaders to serve our nation. I’m grateful to be part of such a terrific team.”

Firebaugh joined the Naval Academy’s faculty in 2001 as an assistant professor in the Naval Academy’s Electrical Computer Engineering Department. Since 2001, she has served in a number of faculty and leadership positions including vice president of the Faculty Senate, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Chair, and her current role as the associate provost for academic affairs, a job she’s held since 2020.

Phillips became academic dean and provost in 2009 after having served as associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin.

For 15 years, he has overseen the entire academic program for the 4,400-member Brigade of Midshipmen, and nearly 600 faculty members, and serves as the primary source of information and advice for the superintendent regarding the education of midshipmen.

The process to find a new academic dean and provost for the Naval Academy began in September following Phillip’s announcement that he planned to retire at the end of the 2022-23 academic year last year. Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck formed a search committee that included representation from multiple academic disciplines at the academy and was co-chaired by Navy Capt. Tracie Severson, an associate professor in the Weapons, Robotics, and Control Engineering Department, and Professor Kurtis Swope, associate dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“I could not be more pleased to have Dr. Firebaugh at the helm of our academic program here at the Naval Academy,” Buck said in a statement. “For over two decades, she has been a valued member of our faculty and our Naval Academy family. As a professor, department chair and as an associate provost, she has been instrumental in our mission to develop midshipmen. Our midshipmen and our faculty will be in good hands under her leadership.”

In 1995, Firebaugh earned her bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Princeton University. She earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1997 and 2001, respectively.

Firebaugh received a multitude of awards during her tenure at the Naval Academy including the Raouf Award for Excellence in Engineering Teaching in 2012.

In 2014, she received the Navy’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award and the Class of 1951 Civilian Faculty Teaching Excellence Award in Honor of Professor Theodore J. Benac. She has also been a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers since 2017 and was awarded the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award in 2022.


(c) 2023 The Capital 

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