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 three winners who represent the organization's most effective volunteer instructors.
Instead of the usual sextant being given to your squadron in the award winner’s name, each squadron will be given the opportunity to select their award. You may select an award of your choosing that can be utilized for educational purposes in your squadron. Some items that could be selected include a projector (pocket or regular), a sound system, special educational/presentation software, WOW Training Aids (http://wowtrainingaids.com/ Check out their catalog for options), a sextant, or some other educational tool. The item selected MUST be capable of being utilized by your squadron’s educational department; cash awards, computers, and non-educational items may NOT be selected.
Headquarters will purchase the educational item that you select for the award and have it shipped directly to you. The USPS Educational Fund has agreed to sponsor The Charles F. Chapman Award for Excellence in Teaching for this educational year and is anticipated to continue its sponsorship for the following two years.
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 2015 Charles F. Chapman Award for Excellence in Teaching.
LT/C JOHN LOCKE, SN-IN, Kent Narrows Sail & Power Squadron, D5
P/D/C BRIAN M. LOGAN, SN, Akron Sail & Power Squadron, D7
P/R/C ALAN WENTWORTH, SN-CN, Door County Sail & Power Squadron, D10
Lt/C NATHAN L. HAZEN, SN, Portsmouth Sail & Power Squadron, D19
1st/Lt KENNETH SCHERZ, SN, Jacksonville Sail and Power Squadron, D23
They were honored at the 2016 Annual Meeting in Orlando, 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 15 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 2015 district nominees for this prestigious award.
All National Chapman Award winners are listed in this table.
Lt/C John Locke, SN, of Kent Narrows Sail & Power Squadron/5 has five merit marks and has been a member for six years. A retired U.S. Navy commander, he has more than 50 years’ experience on Navy ships and recreational vessels. Since 2005, he has logged more than 14,000 nautical miles cruising the East Coast, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico and the Bahamas.
Before joining USPS, John taught U.S. Navy small boat and sailing classes in the classroom and on the water.
For the past three years, he has taught America’s Boating Course, Seamanship, Piloting, Advanced Piloting, Cruise Planning, Sail and Electronic Navigation. He has also presented many seminars and has significantly expanded the squadron’s on-the-water training activities.
John makes extensive use of training aids, transitions smoothly between subject areas and is known for his expert technical knowledge. He easily adapts his teaching style to help students having difficulty grasping key concepts and makes himself available to help students outside of class.
Former student Howard Bernstein said John’s “vast experience allows him to supplement and amplify the text with real-life experience and provide answers to student questions that are not directly covered by the written materials.”
Former student and fellow instructor Richard Radlinski said students benefit from John’s experience. “They know that he knows what he is talking about, and they pay attention and learn.”
John also pays close attention to his students’ progress. “He moves right along if the students are getting the material but takes extra time when it is necessary,” Radlinski said.
Having initiated the squadron’s on-the-water training program, John incorporates hands-on boating wherever practical, Radlinski said. “He does an excellent job of giving inexperienced boaters the confidence and skills they need to operate a boat properly and safely.”
USPS salutes one of its best—Lt/C John Locke, SN—Chapman Award winner for the 2015 educational year.
P/D/C Brian M. Logan, SN, of Akron Sail & Power Squadron/7 has 25 merit marks and has been a member for 30 years. A retired engineer, Brian regularly teaches Sail and Advanced Piloting, and has taught Piloting, Weather, ABC and selected seminars.
An instructor who goes above and beyond for his students, he modifies his presentations to fit individual needs, sends weekly recap emails and makes extensive use of videos and other training aids.
Brian also maintains a personal website to which he posts material, including teaching aids and end-of-chapter questions, to help his students. Thomas E. Vielhaber used Brian’s website for Advanced Piloting, which he expected to be a difficult class. “The website showed the homework cruise charted out leg by leg and enabled me to correct the leg without moving on and compounding my errors.”
Several students said they’d follow Brian to whatever class he taught. “After I took the VHF Radio and Weather seminars with Brian, I knew I would sign up for any class he taught,” said Sandra Vielhaber, a power boater who took Advanced Piloting and Sail. “Before each Sail class he showed a short video that demonstrated pertinent information from earlier classes.
“Brian adds his own, sometimes humorous, anecdotes to illustrate concepts making the information more relevant and interesting,” Viehlhaber said, adding that, “a model of a sailboat and an actual sail with battens and telltales brought the two-dimensional examples to life.”
USPS salutes one of its best—P/D/C Brian M. Logan, SN—Chapman Award winner for the 2015 educational year.
P/R/C Alan F. Wentworth, SN, of Door County Power Squadron/10 has 38 merit marks and has been a member for 41 years. A retired neurosurgeon, Alan has been teaching USPS courses for three decades. His extensive teaching experience and Junior Navigation and Navigation exam grading experience make him an exceptionally knowledgeable upper-grades instructor. He currently teaches Navigation and Weather as well as Instructor Development and various USPS seminars.
Alan has been a leader in using distance education to reach students across Wisconsin. In 2013, he taught a Weather class for students at two Northeast Wisconsin Technical College campuses, Sturgeon Bay and Green Bay, using the school’s ITV technology. He alternated weeks at each campus to give all students face time. Because of cost constraints, the squadron now uses GoToMeeting for distance learning classes.
According to Commander Bob DeNoto, Alan uses GoToMeeting to instruct Navigation to five students, two of whom are in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin; one in DePere, Wisconsin; one in Bemidji, Minnesota; and the fifth in Indianapolis, Indiana.
John Reichmann, one of Alan’s distance Navigation students, said his dedication to his students goes beyond the classroom. “He and I were taking a 17-mile cruise across the waters of Green Bay in our boats to meet up with some other squadron members. He had probably made the crossing dozens of times, but this was my first crossing. I was expecting him to say ‘Follow me.’ Instead he had me set the course and take the lead.”
This commitment made an impact on Reichmann, who found himself taking mental notes on how to be an effective instructor. “I expect that after I complete the Instructor Development course, I can begin to contribute to USPS in perhaps a fraction of the way that he has,” Reichmann said.
Terrence Keating added, “What I have most enjoyed from my interactions with Alan is watching how he operates as a human being, showing me how I can become a better communicator and person. Having someone of Alan’s caliber interacting with me both personally and professionally has been the best experience of all.”
USPS salutes one of its best—P/R/C Alan F. Wentworth, SN—Chapman Award winner for the 2015 educational year.
Lt/C Nathan L. Hazen, SN, of Portsmouth Sail & Power Squadron/19 has 41 merit marks and has been a member for 51 years. Nate joined United States Power Squadrons in 1960 and has been teaching courses and motivating students ever since. For 28 years, Nate worked as an engineer with Harvard University assigned to NASA’s most cutting-edge research projects.
Known for his professionally produced teaching aids, Nate supplements the course material with his own animated PowerPoint presentations, stirs in some humor and captivates students’ attention so well that his two-hour lectures race by.
William F. Cass, a student and fellow instructor, considers Nate to be a great instructor, one who has an in-depth knowledge of the material and its real-life applications plus the credibility and life experience to captivate the class.
Andrew J. Glazier, who took Junior Navigation and Navigation with Nate, said, “No matter how much we struggled with celestial theory and the challenging course material, Nate was always able to find a way to clearly communicate the issue at hand to every student.”
Several former students praised Nate’s teaching prowess and his use of current technology to enhance his lessons. “While Nate has been an instructor for decades,” former student and squadron Commander Bradley Schintzius said, “his presentations are in step with the latest technology.”
Schintzius added, “Nate also volunteers to assist other instructors so their presentation material is current, understandable and engaging.”
Kathleen and Mark Lord, who skipped Advanced Piloting and went straight from Piloting to Junior Navigation, said they passed JN thanks to Nate’s dedication. “His ability to set the books aside and facilely illustrate complex concepts in a manner we could more easily grasp has always impressed us. If we struggled, he felt responsible to find a solution.”
USPS salutes one of its best—Lt/C Nathan L. Hazen, SN—Chapman Award winner for the 2015 educational year.
1st/Lt Kenneth W. Scherz, SN, of Jacksonville Sail & Power Squadron/23 has 20 merit marks and has been a member for 23 years. Ken served in the U.S. Army for 23 years and was an aviator for 13 of those years. He taught high school industrial arts for two years and worked for Gulfstream Aerospace from 1978 to 1993.
Ken currently teaches instructor Development, Advanced Piloting and Junior Navigation. He assists in teaching Piloting and ABC and helps train other instructors. He serves on the Inland and Coastal Navigation Committee; has won first, second and third place in the national Teaching Aid Awards; and has twice won the District 23 Teaching Award.
Student Gerry Sanchez enrolled in Junior Navigation expecting it to be a dry, serious course, but he said Ken’s low-key approach kept him engaged from the start. “He demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of the subject, showed us different ways to approach particular problems, was incredibly patient when the class was slow to grasp a particular concept, treated us with respect, and ensured that every student had a firm grasp of the course material.”
Darryl Currie, a student in Ken’s Navigation class, appreciated his dedicated to his students. “As long as any of us was willing to struggle to learn, he was willing to take the time and effort to see us past the rocks and shoals of ineptitude to learn the right way of celestial navigation.”
Students praise Ken’s use of practical examples and teaching aids. “He has created plotting tools for the whiteboard so that we could as a class collectively learn the proper use of the tools and techniques,” said Ronald Poland. “He has also developed and shared practical and very useful learning aids that simplify calculations and which will enable us as future navigators to be more efficient.”
USPS salutes one of its best—1st/Lt Kenneth W. Scherz, SN—Chapman Award winner for the 2015 educational year.