MONTEREY, Calif. (NPS) – The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) has selected lauded scholar Dr. Scott Gartner to become its 16th Provost and Academic Dean, the university announced Nov. 16. Following his acceptance of the official offer from Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite, Gartner is set to join the NPS team on March 1st following several years at Penn State University where he is the Director of Penn State’s School of International Affairs and holds Affiliate Professorships in both the Department of Political Science and Penn State Law in University Park.
“I am thrilled and honored,” said Gartner. “I was a visiting professor at NPS in 2014, and the mission of the university is what initially attracted me to this opportunity.”
“It is, however, the people who have compelled me to return. The highly-respected and dedicated faculty, exceptional staff, and of course, the university’s remarkable students make NPS truly one-of-a-kind, and a national treasure!”
Gartner is a widely-published scholar and sought-after thought leader on empirical studies of war and conflict resolution. The influence of his scholarship ranges from national security and counter-terrorism policies to the intersection of foreign and domestic politics, U.S. national security, wartime assessment, and third-party mediation. Interdisciplinary studies have been a hallmark of Gartner’s career, with published articles in top journals in the fields of political science, sociology, international affairs, history, military intelligence, public policy, international negotiations and communication. He has published five books, including two with Cambridge University Press, on strategic assessment, historical statistics, war and politics, conflict management and Taiwan and China.
“On behalf of all faculty, staff, students I want to welcome Dr. Gartner to our NPS team and the Monterey community,” said NPS President retired Vice Adm. Ann E. Rondeau. “Scott’s impeccable credentials and interdisciplinary scholarly work define him as a leader with deep understanding of the security challenges facing our country. He has a clear vision to strongly connect NPS’ graduate education and applied research to solve complex naval and national security needs.”
After conducting a nation-wide search for candidates with both high-level academic qualifications and strong leadership experience, Dr. Gartner was selected from a very competitive group of finalists to help guide the university toward its full 21st Century potential.
The selection process conducted by the NPS Provost Search Committee was thorough, analytical and diligent, Rondeau said, led by Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor Claudia Luhrs.
“It was really a team-of-teams effort across the campus,” said Luhrs. “To the extent we could, our activities were open and collaborative to give everyone a voice in the process. Dr. Gartner stood out not only for his academic standing, but also for his strategic acumen, interdisciplinary work and leadership focus on student success.”
For more than 2,700 military mid-career officers and security professionals, being an NPS graduate student is the chance to apply their operational experience and technical curricula to research solutions to real-world problems. Gartner said he sees great promise ahead to position NPS even more fully as an applied research university that connects naval education with science and technology to meet strategy, policy and security needs.
“Research provides a hedge against uncertainty and education enables leaders to navigate that uncertainty,” said Gartner. “NPS provides both, which affords the university a powerful competitive advantage that we can wield in this current era of Great Power Competition. I want to be a part of that advantage, of this great university, where our efforts not only develop solutions for tomorrow’s warfighters, but also advance the critical thinking of today’s leaders.”
Gartner replaces Dr. Steve Lerman, who served as Provost from August 2016 to March 2020 and remains engaged with the NPS community as an active member of the Board of Trustees for the NPS Foundation.
Dr. Robert Dell has served “masterfully” as Acting Provost since March, Rondeau noted, and will continue to serve the university in a leadership capacity returning to his position as Dean of the Graduate School of Operational and Information Sciences.
“Dr. Dell has been a steady, trusted advisor through his time as Acting Provost, especially with the extraordinary challenges posed by COVID 19,” said Rondeau. “We have been so fortunate to have Drs. Dell and Lerman, extraordinary visionary scholars and thought leaders, serve as senior academic officers here at NPS. I know Dr. Gartner will continue to uphold the standard these leaders have established.”
For Gartner, he says he is ready for the challenge, and eager to get to work.
“I am humbled to be contributing to this university, and to be following the exceptional efforts of Drs. Dell and Lerman,” he said. “Joining NPS to lead this distinguished faculty team of highly regarded scholars, as well as our world-class students, is truly the hallmark of my career.”
Gartner’s honors include the Jefferson award for the best government resource, the RUSA Outstanding Reference Award, Booklist Editor's Choice Award and his doctoral dissertation was recognized by the American Political Science Association with its Best Policy Thesis award. Gartner’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Counterterrorism Center, the National Security Agency, the Folke Bernadotte Academy, and the Sloan foundation.
Gartner received his Bachelor’s and a Master’s degrees in History and International Relations respectively, from the University of Chicago, and a second Master’s and Doctorate in Political Science from the University of Michigan. Dr. Gartner is married to Dr. Diane Felmlee, a Professor of Sociology at Penn State.