I still hold firm that VADM Fowler is/was a great professional and public servant. I just happen to believe that when he was brought to a fork in the road - athletics vs. academics; integrity vs. diversity - that for reasons best known to himself he took the easier (and in my opinion) wrong path. Good people can make wrong decisions. Good people can make mistakes. I could be wrong here - but if the United States Naval Academy truly wishes academically to be an elite institution and a meritocracy based on objective criteria, fairness, and leadership building - then it needs to act like it in word and deed.
As VADM Fowler leaves the campus, he also leaves evidence as to why so much remains to be done to make Annapolis the institution that it can be. Look at the transcript from his 12 MAY 2010 press conference and weep. Look at the priorities he left.
For now though, let's focus on the academics for a bit and look what he thinks the focus of an institution that desires to be "World Class" should be .... and weep. It's easy. Just a word count:
Times Supe mentioned "diversity or diverse": 4We should all give the new Superintendent, RADM Michael H. Miller, USN, a good solid chance to reflect and focus. We should hope that in the end - what was once such promise does not end in self-parody.
Times Supe mentioned "football": 3
Times Supe mentioned "classroom": 0
Times Supe mentioned "learning": 0
Times Supe mentioned "teaching": 0
I would offer, if I had five minutes, that he needs to focus on fundamentals. What do you need to best intellectually build tomorrow's leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps? Outside the classroom, what tools does a leader need? How do you refine character? How to you reinforce the importance of honor? Equally important - how do you rebuild the credibility of the uniformed leadership and the institution it serves?
All else is vanity.