Carmel Valley engineering professor honored with regional award for excellence in teaching


By Javier Chagoya

Dr. Don Muehlbach Jr., a Naval Postgraduate School professor in the Department of Systems Engineering, is one of a select few teachers on the Monterey Peninsula to receive the 2015 Allen S. Griffin Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The award recognizes Muehlbach’s above-average motivation to teach and his willingness to volunteer within the local community.

A retired Navy captain, Muehlbach has been teaching in the department for six years, and has garnered numerous other teaching awards, most recently the Rear Admiral John Jay Schieffelin Award for Excellence in Teaching.

“I’m inspired and motivated by our military end-users that serve in harm’s way,” said Muehlbach. “Our students apply the knowledge, skills and abilities we teach in our systems engineering curriculum to military systems that are used on the tip of the spear.”

The Allen Griffin Teaching Awards were established in 1982 by a bequest from Col. Allen Griffin, a founder and former president of the Community Foundation for Monterey County. By designating the Allen Griffin Fund within the foundation for teaching awards to outstanding teachers, Griffin intended to reward and stimulate superior teaching.

The best indicator of Muehlbach’s sustained teaching excellence is evidenced in his average score for the category “Overall, I would rate this instructor ...” on the end-of-course student opinion form. He has averaged a truly impressive 4.9 out of a possible 5.0 over the past six years, while garnering 12 Wayne E. Meyer Excellence in Systems Engineering Awards and a GSEAS Faculty Award for Extraordinary Merit in Teaching Excellence.

As a registered yoga teacher, Muehlbach also volunteers his time with the Connected Warriors Program. In this role, he teaches one free yoga class a week for veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder and their families.

Muehlbach said he is blessed to have the opportunity to teach the military men and women who come to his class every day. “Truly, all of us who work at NPS are serving their country,” he said.

Don and his wife, Jennifer, have lived in Carmel Valley since 1986. He is one of three NPS Professors embedded in San Diego.