John Deaton Named Dean of the College of Aeronautics at Florida Tech

Longtime Faculty Member Served as Interim Dean Since Late 2021

John Deaton, Ph.D., has been selected to serve as dean of the College of Aeronautics at Florida Tech, Provost Marco Carvalho announced on Monday. Dr. Deaton has served as interim dean of the college since December 2021 and has been a professor of aeronautics and human factors chair since he arrived at Florida Tech in 2001. 

A decorated officer of the U.S. Navy who retired in 1995 with the rank of commander, Dr. Deaton brought over 700 hours flight time on various Navy aircraft to what would become an illustrious and impactful academic career in psychology and human factors in aviation.

It started in 1979 when he was serving as a research psychologist at the Naval Health Research Center and also took his first teaching job, as an instructor at San Diego Community College.  

Dr. Deaton continued on these parallel tracks, working for the Navy as aerospace experimental psychologist; deputy project manager, manpower, personnel, and training; supervisory engineering psychologist; aerospace psychologist; and, in his final year of Naval duty, deputy program director for research. 

Concurrent with all of this was Dr. Deaton’s rising presence in academia. He taught at several colleges and universities, including Embry Riddle, Villanova, UCF and Rollins, before arriving at Florida Tech, his final academic destination, nearly 25 years ago.

Dr. Deaton teaches courses on human factors, human computer interaction, aviation safety analysis and human performance, in addition to serving as a thesis advisor for aeronautics master’s and doctoral students. 

He is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing research in the field of human factors, as well as several accolades from the U.S. Navy, including the Navy Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Navy Achievement Medal. 

Dr. Deaton is a space exploration enthusiast. In 1994, he was a semi-finalist for the NASA Astronaut Training Program. In 2011, he spent two weeks living in the Mars Desert Research Station in southern Utah—an experience that led to co-authorship of the paper, “Finding the team for Mars: a psychological and human factors analysis of a Mars Desert Research Station crew.”

Dr. Deaton earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in experimental social psychology from San Diego State University. His second master’s degree, in pastoral studies, is from Loyola University. Dr. Deaton holds a Ph.D. in applied/experimental psychology from the Catholic University of America.  

“My sincerest thanks to the faculty members who served on the search committee,” Carvalho said. “Their careful consideration and measured evaluation of each candidate ensured an outcome of which we may all be proud. 

“I hope you will all join me in offering Dr. Deaton our congratulations and support,” he said.

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