I also was very comfortable in a university environment. I've been in a Florida office of NG for several years and I've also telephone interviewed with NG Sacramento. I've worked or interviewed at other bid aerospace firms. I'd say NG is the most progressive of the lot. But even so, it's still a big contractor. That means compared to a commercial or small company, NG tends to have people a bit regimented and the policies can be applied a bit blindly.
NG generally hires engineers who are pretty competent, but the management is a mixed bag. Some are so good it would make you proud to be an American, others are complete jerks and would make you ashamed to be human.
Our site is pretty humanistic: As the defense budget has diminished, management has bent over backwards to prevent having too much of a layoff. The company will help you out if there's a natural disaster. They can be very flexible with you if you are really good at your job.
Because the HQ is in CA, the policies are pretty enlightened, but the culture varies from state to state. So for example, when a super-religious manager was distributing inappropriate emails, he was pretty severely reprimanded by HR. Many folks are religious here in FL so they ended up electing that guy "manager of the year" and the local HR office supported it. I would be amazed if that happened in CA though. I've talked with some folks in CA and they seemed bright. I was hoping to transfer there myself.
These big companies are a like cities. Some neighborhoods are wonderful, others depressing. It really matters if the person you work for is inspiring.