This page is dedicated to our Chapman Excellence in Teaching Award. We hope that you find it interesting and useful. We also hope that it inspires greater participation in the awards program, so that more of our excellent teachers can be recognized for their skills, dedication, and initiative. If there is more that we can provide to answer your questions, please feel free to contact us. Address your questions to the NEO or ANEOs, whose addresses appear in The ENSIGN.
The Charles F. Chapman Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes outstanding USPS instructors. Once a year, each squadron nominates one outstanding instructor to its district. The District Educational Officer forms a committee to select one nominee within their district for national judging. In the final judging, the Chapman Award Selection Group of the Instructor Development Committee recognizes the five winners who represent the organization's most effective volunteer instructors.
As each squadron puts together its Chapman Award nomination packet, it is asked to address certain questions about the nominee's background, subject knowledge, teaching skills and style, ability to relate the courses material to the experience of the students, courses taught, etc. Squadron members are then invited to write personal letters on commendation, focusing primarily on what makes this person such an outstanding instructor. Although these letters vary widely, there are a few common threads that almost jump out at you and lead you to an appreciation of what these instructors mean to their students, their fellow members, and their squadrons.
The following few quotes reflect the tone of the comments about these winners:
"He has a genuine desire to impart knowledge to those he is teaching."
"He makes the learning fun in a very relaxed atmosphere."
"His enthusiasm for boating shows through in his teaching style."
"Each time I sit in his class I learn something new."
"He teaches with the same enthusiasm whether there are two students or 100."
"His congenial style allows a free exchange of information and encourages participation from his class."
"He never expressed doubt about anyone's ability to grasp difficult concepts; his genuine belief in our sure success worked like a tonic."
"He makes effective use of teaching aids, smoothly integrating the aids into his presentation."
"He is always ready to spend extra time outside the classroom to help students having difficulty."
"Whenever a particularly difficult subject arose, he always seemed to have alternative ways to get his point across."
"He adjusts the schedule and pace of the class to match the scope of student ability."
"He has a special way of relating the course ;material to real life situations so that you remember the lesson long after the test is given."
"Many inspired students in his basic classes have joined USPS because of him."
"He kindled our desire to learn."
These are the attributes of an outstanding teacher. Each of these five instructors has all of these attributes and are a diverse and dedicated group of USPS members.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Charles F. Chapman Award for Excellence in Teaching.
LT/C GARY E. MAGNUSON, JN, Mid-Illini Sail & Power Squadron, D20
LT DAVID P. WHITING, SN, Wawenock Sail & Power Squadron, D19
LT RONALD J. DAVIDSON, SN, Poverty Bay Sail & Power Squadron, D16
CDR WILLIAM C. ELDRIDGE, SN, Palm Beach Sail & Power Squadron, D8
LT/C WILBUR G. HUGLI, SN, Fort Walton Sail and Power Squadron, D15
They were honored at the 2015 Annual Meeting in Jacksonville, FL. Each received a recognition plaque, a gold Chapman Award lapel pin, a four-year certified instructor wallet card and had his or her name inscribed in a permanent Log Book kept in the Chapman Memorial Library at USPS headquarters in Raleigh. Their squadrons each received a high quality sextant in a handsome wood presentation case, given in the winner's name.
These five USPS instructors have earned the respect of their peers for the dedication of their time, the transferring of knowledge and inspiring others to teach. They were selected from the 20 district nominees submitted, chosen by their DEOs from all their squadron nominees. Every year each squadron in USPS is eligible to nominate one of its instructors. Prior nominees who were not selected as one of the national winners may be re-nominated at any time as long as they are still teaching in USPS.
Congratulations to ALL the 2014 district nominees for this prestigious award.
All National Chapman Award winners are listed in this table.
LT/C GARY E. MAGNUSON, JN, of District 20's Mid-Illini Sail & Power Squadron has 37 merit
marks and has been a member
for 39 years.
Gary, a retired telecommunications
teaches America’s Boating
Course, Seamanship, Piloting and
His squadron’s nomination
cites his enthusiasm for teaching
multiple classes each year, his ability to engage students and
his unwavering commitment to having each student master
the material. A firm believer in hands-on instruction, Gary gives
students the opportunity to examine safety equipment, such as
life jackets, vessel placards, rescue aids, visual and sound signals,
anchors, and more.
Squadron Commander Gerry Christman tells people that the
squadron has the “best boating training available given by the
best instructor in the area. “After they complete the class with Gary, students agree,” he said.
Initially reluctant to take the class, student Debra Yeagle
passed Piloting and wants to take more classes with Gary. “He was never too busy to let us ask questions and showed us
various ways to find the answers,” Debra said. “His great sense
of humor and love of all things nautical was truly contagious
to me.” Randy Dempsy, who has taken four classes with Gary,
said, “He goes the extra mile to bring to the classroom easily
understandable props that illustrate clearly what he is trying to
get across to his students.”
Many students talked about Gary’s enthusiasm for teaching as well as his respect for and commitment to his students. “His knowledge was unquestionable, but he never made anyone feel less smart because they didn’t have the years of experience he had. He really wanted people to learn and know more so they could enjoy boating more and be safer on the water,” said student Richard Langlois.
USPS salutes one of its best—LT/C Gary E. Magnuson,JN—Chapman Award winner for the 2014 educational year.
LT DAVID P. WHITING, SN of District 19’s Wawenock Sail & Power Squadron has 30 merit marks and has been a member for 37 years. A retired naval architect, David teaches Piloting, Inland Navigator Boat Operator Certification, Seamanship, Practical On-the-Water Training and several seminars. His squadron nomination calls him the squadron’s go-to person for course resources and development. His knowledge and experience make him an “excellent instructor for both newcomers and seasoned hands.” According to his nomination, “he excels in a style of teaching for self-learning that engages the student’s interest in safe boating and boat handling, nautical tradition and practical application. The theoretical is not lost in his teaching; it is woven into the body of the material with hands-on mentoring and illustrations.” Squadron Commander William Wood described David’s contributions: “His ability to teach at all levels, his versatility in many topics and types of programs, have been some of his contributions to our squadron’s revitalization. His fascination with everything nautical keeps his teaching fresh and alive.” Peter Asquith, who took more than five courses with Dave and has taught with him as well, said, “Dave took time to understand the scope of each student’s experience and addressed concerns and areas of interest to class members. He presented examples of past situations that clearly demonstrated the need for the rules and principles taught. He shared personal experiences from his extensive background in offshore racing and boating.” Student George Apgar said Dave likes to show and tell. “For instance, in the Sail class, Dave brought in Laser sails to help us understand the ways sail shapes can be changed and the effects of those changes. “Dave gets right into the mechanics of the topic at hand” by bringing all the necessary tools and teaching aids, George said. “He will patiently explain a difficult point, coming at the topic in a variety of ways until the student gets it.”
USPS salutes one of its best—Lt David P Whiting, SN—Chapman Award winner for the 2014 educational year.
LT RONALD J. DAVIDSON, SN, of District 16’s Poverty Bay Sail & Power Squadron has 13 merit marks and has been a member for 14
years. After retiring from the U.S. Marine Corps, where he created the curriculum for an Instructor Training School, Ron taught college-level computer science for 20 years.
After teaching himself Junior Navigation, Ron volunteered to teach Navigation, simultaneously taking and teaching the class. Ron currently teaches Junior Navigation and Navigation, but
he has also taught America’s Boating Course, Weather, Marine Electronics, Piloting and Advanced Piloting. He serves on the national Offshore Navigation and Inland Coastal Navigation
committees and chairs the local board for advanced grades.
Using an informal teaching style to create a comfortable
learning atmosphere, Ron takes a practical approach to the
subject matter using real-world examples that meet the needs of
all his students. “He understands the subject material so well that he is able
to explain key concepts from different points of view, using
different examples, diagrams and teaching aids,” said Richard
Patricia Foley, who has taught with Ron for six years, said Ron “provided extra information beyond what was available in the
textbook and revisited topics with which students were having
difficulty. His extra effort resulted in all students successfully completing the course and receiving the grade of N or SN.” Fellow instructor Craig Brown said that Ron encourages students to expand their knowledge and improve their skills, adding that “his constant desire to better understand why, what and how himself rubs off on his students.”
USPS salutes one of its best—LT Ronald J. Davidson, SN—Chapman Award winner for the 2014 educational year.
CDR WILLIAM C. ELDRIDGE, SN,of District 8’s Palm Beach Sail & Power Squadron has 49 merit marks and has been a member for 53 years. A retired printing professional, Bill has taught America’s Boating Course for more than 10 years, graduating 91 ABC students in that time. He has also taught Piloting, Advanced Piloting and Cruise Planning. A life-long boater, Bill has held a USCG 50 ton license, taught boat handling for the Chapman School of Seamanship and captained the Diva Duck amphibious excursion vessel. “He made himself available to us at any time to answer questions about the course or anything boating related,” said Max Cohen, a former ABC student. “He encouraged me to join which I promptly did.” After joining, Max went on to take Seamanship, Piloting and Advanced Piloting, “all with Bill’s encouragement.” Another ABC student, Jeremy Michael Witaszek echoed these sentiments and added that Bill “used the national material [and] also local charts and navigational information, which helped us understand our waterways and feel more comfortable on them.” Tim Tiller, another student, said that Bill did a great job teaching all age groups in the ABC class. “His passion and love of boating were apparent from the first few minutes,” said Tim. “Simply put, he made the class fun for everyone.”
USPS salutes one of its best—CDR William C. Eldridge, SN—Chapman Award winner for the 2014 educational year.
LT/C WILBUR G. HUGLI, SN, of District 15’s Fort WaltonSail and Power Squadron, has 23 merit marks and has been a member
for 26 years. Hugli, a retired U.S. Air Force officer, teaches at the University of West Florida. Wil teaches America’s Boating Course, Weather and Seamanship. He has also taught
Sail, Junior Navigation and all seminars. According to his squadron nomination, Wil has expanded his teaching methods to include online and on-the-water instruction,
giving students hands-on experience in boating safely. He has also established many boating education partnerships in the area, including the continuation of Crestview High School’s
boating safety curriculum, which has benefited more than 1,300 students. When Fort Walton Yacht Club Education and Training Chair John Farris needed assistance developing a boating education
curriculum, he chose Wil Hugli. “He recommended that we focus on boating safety, then branch out from that foundation.” John added that his club holds an ABC class monthly and
that Wil helped him develop a training calendar and marketing materials. In addition to being a great instructor, Wil has become his mentor. “He was always available to answer questions and would get
back to us with an answer when he needed to do additional research,” said Richard Gercak, a student and fellow instructor, who added that Wil made learning fun and encouraged him to
become an instructor and become more involved in the squadron.
USPS salutes one of its best—Lt/C Wilbur C. Hugli, SN—Chapman Award winner for the 2014 educational year.