By Yvonne Hill with photos by Art DoddEach year, we recognize the top educators in United States Power Squadrons, America’s Boating Club, with the Charles F. Chapman Award for Excellence in Teaching. These volunteer instructors have devoted themselves to teaching boating and boater safety courses to prepare our members to become the best trained, most prepared boaters on the water.
Named after one of the founding fathers of United States Power Squadrons, the award recognizes educators who embrace their work with unparalleled dedication and a deep commitment to their students.
This year’s recipients, David Mangold, Don Duncan and Dave Greene, received the 2018 Charles F. Chapman Award for Excellence in Teaching at the 2019 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.
“Dave inspired me to go beyond classroom instruction and to engage students ‘in the field’ by encouraging their involvement in the boating lifestyle.”
He has taught America’s Boating Course, Piloting, Junior Navigation, Navigation, Instructor Development and several seminars. He has written several courses and has been a pioneer in USPS on-the-water training.
Acutely attuned to the needs of students with disabilities, he has taught Practical On-the-Water Training to an autistic student, fashioned a sextant support for a wheelchair-bound student and revised PowerPoint slides to aid a color-blind student.
Many students praised Dave’s ability to find creative teaching solutions to individual needs, including teaching Navigation using distance learning technology. “Without his thinking outside the box, I might never have had the opportunity to take (Navigation), which was a requirement for an offshore sailing class I just completed in Canada,” said one former student.
Another student recalled how Dave conveyed a sense of excitement about boating. “His classroom delivery makes it seem as though you are actually on the water, plotting your course, dealing with currents, compass deviation, and objects in the water.”
Another praised his self-effacing behavior: “Dave did not hesitate to share from his own experience mishaps that would have been embarrassing to others if it would help students recognize warning signs and avoid problems.”
“Mag taught us that learning can be fun and that it is important to understand and respect the history of the knowledge we are trying to master.”
He has taught every course in the squadron’s curriculum, taking his squadron from one that could barely put on a boating course to one of the top educational performers in the district and the nation.
“His knowledge, lively approach to teaching and colorful use of nautical terms make him a popular teacher—one who energetically encourages students always to learn more, both in and out of the class,” said a former student and past commander.
One student who has taken many courses from David, including Junior Navigation, said he goes the “extra nautical mile” for his students.
“Mag even went with my wife and I to pick up our newly purchased boat from the dealer and cruise it 50 miles on the Intracoastal Waterway to our local marina, giving us ‘real-time instruction’ on our maiden voyage,” he said.
Calling Capt. Mag a gift to the squadron, he went on to say that “his concern for his students and local boating community draws people to him, to his classes, and to the squadron, which has created a quality boating atmosphere for me, the community, and represents what the USPS Educational Officer is all about.”
“Don was the first person I met when I walked into my public boating course. I still remember the way he made me and my wife feel welcome and at ease the first night of class.”
Having taught Piloting 39 times over the past 25 years, he has had more than 400 students pass Piloting under his instruction. In addition, many of his students have gone on to become instructors and squadron leaders themselves.
“He has a complete understanding of the material and is able to answer any questions the students might have,” said one former student, adding that his fun sense of humor makes learning more interesting.
Another student said that Dr. Don has a way of living his teaching in such a way that makes students want to emulate his example by displaying proper seamanship.
“He brings passion, detailed knowledge of the material and practical application to all interactions with students,” said one student, who added that Dr. Don often spends extra time with those who need it.
He has been for many years his squadron’s leading vessel examiner. The squadron even named its VSC award after him, the Duncan Award.
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