Office of Engagement & Retention

Office of Engagement & Retention

The Office of Engagement and Retention was established in May 2014 to be the focal point for West Point Diversity and Inclusion outreach initiatives, projects, and plans; to enhance partnerships in collaboration with internal and external resources; and to develop and facilitate affinity groups as a forum for individuals to network, share knowledge, challenges, and ideas. 

Mission: The Office of Engagement & Retention synchronizes and leverages Academy Engagement and Retention efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in all policies and programs; and engages West Point organizations, DoD, and Army partners, and the external community in support of West Point’s mission to build, educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets to be commissioned leaders of character committed to the Army Values and ready for a lifetime of service to the Army and Nation.

Vision: The United States Military Academy is recognized by the Army and the nation as the preeminent leader development and academic institution committed to inclusive principles and practices.

Why Diversity Matters

The Armed Forces represent the nation it defends, including by reflecting our nation’s diversity. There is a growing divide between the demographics of the military and that of the American people. An Army not representative of the nation risks becoming illegitimate in the eyes of the people.  It is imperative that we leverage all aspects of the nation’s diversity to include gender, ethnicity, religion, education, thought, sexual orientation, and cultural background to create and sustain an inclusive organization that attracts the best the Nation has to offer.

We must create an environment that appeals to the aspirations of America’s younger generation.  Only then will we be successful in competing with the civilian sector for the highest quality recruits.  Increasing diversity in the Officer Corps and developing officers who engage and understand American society will foster a better civil-military relationship and assist in shrinking the gap between the military and civilian leaderships.

A diverse and inclusive organization that is representative of the society it serves will allow us to attract men and women, which inherently strengthens the force.

Programs and Conferences

West Point Center for Leadership and Diversity in STEM (CLD STEM) - CLD STEM is a series of mobile workshops promoting STEM among middle school students nationwide with a specific emphasis on populations and/or students from underserved communities. During these workshops, faculty and cadets work with students to design bridges, build robots, and build wind turbines. Students are taught subjects like Mobile Robotics, Bridge Design, Renewable Energy, Drones, Lego mind storm, Programmable Circuits, and Roller Coaster Engineering. Center for Leadership and Diversity in STEM.

West Point Leadership Ethics, and Diversity Conference (WPLEC) - WPLECs are designed for USMA Cadets to engage with students in high school and encourage them to self-assess and explore leadership and the very important role that ethics plays within character development.  

West Point Leadership, Ethics, And Diversity in STEM Workshop (LEADS) - The West Point LEADS Workshops are designed to engage students at the middle school and lower high school levels (ages 11-15). This commitment is in response to the national need to increase STEM competent leaders, as a shortage of talent threatens the country’s ability to drive innovation, compete internationally, and protect national security. This national need coincides with a need from within the United States Army for officers that represent the nation they serve and who can effectively lead in an increasingly complex multicultural operational environment. West Point LEADS Workshops encourage students to self-assess and explore leadership and the very important role that ethics plays within character development. West Point LEADS Workshops are full-day events designed to expose students to STEM activities and disciplines, as well as expose students to STEM careers opportunities in the military.  Additionally, Educator and Influencer Sessions are held during these workshops to provide more information about West Point and career opportunities in the military.

Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Conference - Each year the United States Military Academy (USMA) hosts a Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Conference. The desired outcomes are to determine best practices to foster more inclusive behavior, communicate effectively to solve problems, and increase interactions. The target audience is USMA faculty and staff, Cadets, West Point Alumni, members of the Army, service academies, other universities, and leading diversity and inclusion professionals. The conference includes workshops, panels, and prominent guest speakers.