Executive Board Minutes - March 2006Executive Board MinutesMarch 25-26, 2006AAPT National OfficeAmerican Center for PhysicsSession I, March 25Members Present:
Ken Heller, President; Dick Peterson, Past President; Harvey Leff, President Elect; Lila Adair, Vice President; Mary Beth Monroe, Secretary; Chuck Robertson, Treasurer; Randy Peterson, Chair of Section Representatives; Al Gibson, Vice Chair of Section Representatives; Ruth Chabay, At-Large Member; John Roeder, At-Large Member; Dwain Desbien, At-Large Member; Jan Tobochnik, Editor, American Journal of Physics
(AJP); Karl Mamola, Editor, The Physics Teacher
(TPT); Bernard V. Khoury, Executive OfficerGuests:
Charles Holbrow, John Layman, Karen Johnston, Fran Smith, Valerie Evans, Rob Headrick, Maria Elena Khoury, Marc Brodsky, Judy Franz, Roxanne Muller, Jim Stith1. Welcome and Call to Order:
K. Heller called the meeting of the AAPT Executive Board to order and welcomed members and guests. 2. Executive Session I.
Heller called the meeting into Executive Session I (with B. Khoury and Senior Staff Physicist, Charlie Holbrow) to consider status reports from (1) the Executive Officer Search Committee (K. Heller), (2) the Fund Raising Advisory Committee (John Layman and Dick Peterson), and (3) June Retreat Facilitator, Karen Johnston. (At the close of Executive Session I, Heller convened the meeting into Open Session.Heller welcomed new guests joining the Board.) 3. Approval of Agenda.
Heller informed the Board that he would call the meeting into Executive Sessions I and II on Sunday, March 26. Discussion regarding continuation of the position of Senior Staff Physicist would be added to the agenda for Executive Session I. Roeder moved that the Board approve the agenda. Robertson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.4. Marc Brodsky.
M. Brodsky, CEO of the American Institute of Physics, presented a status report concerning AIP activities. Highlights of his report follow.
5. 2006 Retreat.
- Publishing Services. In order to accommodate a reduced publications budget in 2004, a three-prong strategy (cut prices, cut production costs, get more business) was implemented. Some of the tactics employed involved taking two journals to new vendors, freezing staff salaries, reducing the staff size by 12%, increasing the number of hours in a workweek, and retraining about 100 employees to multitask. These efforts enabled the AIP to stay in the publishing business. The AIP had less than 1% attrition in journals during 2005, which is the smallest it has ever been, and it is now one year ahead of its production goals.
- Financial Health. The AIP had a good financial year, realizing an increase of $3 M in the yearly budget. Therefore the budget for Physics Resources Division will realize a modest increase for its programs.
- Industrial Outreach. The AIP is expanding its outreach to the industrial community. The search for an industrial outreach manager is ongoing. Changes have been made to the Corporate Associates Meeting in response to the low attendance in recent years. The meeting will now be embedded in meetings of the AIP societies. The November meeting will be held with the Vacuum Society and probably the Spring 2007 meeting will be held with the Optical Society. For the March APS meeting, forty industrial executives were invited to discuss major R&D efforts involving physics and then in a subsequent invited session, five of these made presentations. Brodsky described this as being very successful with good presentations and good attendance. Heller and Robertson conveyed AAPT’s interest in being involved in these AIP efforts.
- Intelligent Design. Brodsky explained that there is a massive effort underway to help science organizations respond to those advocating the teaching of non-scientific issues in the science classroom, such as intelligent design. Two firms have been retained to advise the science organizations concerning how they should respond to this issue. Brodsky advised Board members to read the report of the court ruling in Pennsylvania, which defeated the efforts by a local school district to include discussions of intelligent design in their classrooms. The report is available at the website of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) Brodsky reported that APS had convened a group of science societies to understand people’s perception of science and to hone a message arguing against the teaching of intelligent design.
Khoury added that AAPT is involved in this effort. Heller suggested that while there is an urgency to deal with the intelligent design issue, some thought should be given to how the science community should deal with other popular issues of pseudoscience, such as astrology. Brodsky responded that the science community should look inward by addressing what our scientists say on these topics. Mamola stated that surveys indicate that these topics and responses from the science community are important issues for physics teachers.
- Discoveries and Breakthroughs Inside Science (DBIS). Brodsky reported that AIP had a good meeting with the DBIS financial partners during which the results of the program’s evaluation were shared. This program is under the supervision of Jim Stith, Vice President for Physics Resources. (See these Minutes, Item 14.)
Karen Johnston, Retreat Facilitator, distributed a handout of the timeline for the Board Retreat scheduled for June 22-25, 2006 at the Belmont Conference Center in Elkridge, Maryland. She summarized the progress of the retreat planning. Two subcommittees of the Board created the overarching question sets to guide the working discussions at the retreat. AAPT staff had worked with Johnston to prepare data collections and reports and had established a website for the retreat book. Maria Elena Khoury is supervising the travel and housing details for retreat participants.
Johnston directed the Board discussion along two main points. The first point addressed the post-retreat phase described on the timeline. Johnston asked Board members to contemplate, during the interim between this Board meeting and the Retreat, how the identified actions for the AAPT would be accomplished. Possible scenarios include task forces and strategic goals.
The second point of the Board discussion concerned various aspects associated with the content of the Retreat. As part of her efforts to compile data collections and reports to facilitate the discussion phase at the retreat, Johnston distributed similar questionnaires to the Section Representatives and Area Committee Chairs during the Anchorage meeting. She received 22 pages of comments from the Representatives and Section Officers representing 26 of the 36 Sections surveyed. These will be posted on the retreat website. Johnston proposed that one question for retreat discussion should address how the national organization could more actively involve the Sections. Johnston had not completed the compilation of the responses from the Area Committees. She was not receiving the thorough responses she had wanted, describing some responses as not providing substantive information. Some Chairs reported that they did not know how to implement new efforts. Johnston advised the Board to consider how AAPT could more actively engage these committees.
Monroe suggested that Review Board annual reports and the semiannual reports of Board visits to committee meetings (implemented in 2005) might provide useful information. Chabay agreed that Area Committees should have a more active role, adding that she found it unusual if the meetings of the Area Committees addressed anything other than the organization of programs at national meetings.
Johnston asked for Board advice concerning how she should proceed to get input from PIRA and the PER Topical Group. Khoury volunteered to help Johnston contact the PER leaders, since the first elections of the PER Topical Group had not been completed. Heller explained that the PIRA group has elected officers who could provide input and D. Peterson added that the PIRA representative to the Apparatus Committee would also be a source of information.
Johnston reviewed the meeting structure of the retreat. The two main venues will be large breakout groups guided by short discussion papers and caucuses that will occur over meals and in the evenings. A period of free time will occur at midday, easing the pressure of long workdays. Heller asked if the sessions would be recorded. Monroe and Maria Elena Khoury discouraged the use of recordings, explaining that the recordings of some of the TYC21 national meetings had not been successful in capturing the discussions in breakout groups. Chabay presented an alternate view, saying that recordings help participants to revisit the expressed ideas and discussions. Heller added that the discussions of the Retreat should be regarded as “executive sessions” of the Board. Khoury argued that to characterize the retreat as such would imply that the discussions were secretive. Johnston agreed, saying that we can simply stress that the discussions are confidential. Since the preparations for the Retreat have elicited input from AAPT groups, it would not be appropriate to treat the Retreat as an executive session of the Board.
Tobochnik asked if the retreat facilities would accommodate the electronic sharing of generated discussion summaries among groups. Johnston replied that each participant would be expected to have a laptop and that there would be onsite printers and media, including computer projection systems.
Working discussions will cut across five areas described on a second handout. Johnston asked Board members to analyze the AAPT webpage and see if what’s there speaks to these five areas. She also asked the Board to email her their ideas concerning the suggested caucus topics. To stimulate discussion for each of the five retreat topics (AAPT Identity and Values, Value of the AAPT Membership, AAPT National and AAPT Sections, Community Leadership, and Partnerships), Johnston asked that teams of 2-3 Board members prepare short (1-2 page) discussion papers. The Board teams will lead the discussions of these at the Retreat. Board members selected their team assignments.
Mamola stated the Board should report the long-term value of the retreat, about 5-7 years afterward. Therefore planning should include a list of measurable outcomes for the retreat. Khoury agreed. Tobochnik responded that there were two ways to assess this value: the identification of action items at the retreat and changes that occur within the association, such as increased membership. Johnston pointed out that these are two very different things and that the assessment should tell us if we accomplished what we wanted at the retreat. (Lunch Break)6. Senior Staff Physicist.
In each report to the Board, Holbrow reminds members of the mission and goals of the Senior Staff Physicist. The mission is to develop AAPT activities useful and attractive to college and university physics teachers in order to move the Association toward three goals: (1) energizing existing members of the AAPT; (2) attracting new and young members and developing their potential to be future AAPT leaders; and (3) gaining wider recognition of AAPT’s leadership in physics education.
Holbrow reported that his major projects, each addressing one goal, continue to develop and new efforts are underway.
- About 25-30 have preregistered for the conference for graduate teaching assistants, scheduled for March 31-April 1 at Boston University.
- Holbrow has some concern about the small number who had preregistered for the R1 university conference. Seventy personalized invitations were mailed, but only 15 faculty had registered. Holbrow would like to have 50.
The purpose of the conference is to give R1 universities an opportunity to learn how systemic change has been accomplished at this academic level. Holbrow noted that little systemic change was occurring within these universities. The participants will need to involve their colleagues if they are going to get change to occur at their home institutions. Therefore the format for the R1 conference was set up for teams of faculty from participating universities. Participants will be expected to leave the conference with implementation plans in hand.
Heller asked if the AAPT needs to help with the follow-up on this conference, such as organizing site visits of SPIN-UP type teams to these institutions. Holbrow responded that the AAPT had established a website for the conference and he hoped that the participants would identify the next steps for this initiative. Holbrow developed a proposal requesting NSF funding of about $30K to support this conference. Duncan McBride advised Holbrow to delay the proposal’s submission while McBride searched for NSF funding sources.
The R1 Conference will be held June 2 and 3 at the American Center for Physics. Serving on the organizing committee are Bob Beichner, NCSU; John Belcher, MIT; Gary Gladding, UIUC; Ken Heller, U. of Minnesota; Charlie Holbrow, AAPT; and Carl Wieman, U. of Colorado.
- Holbrow predicted that the TGRU (Teaching General Relativity to Undergraduates) Topical Conference would be a strong meeting. Fifteen had preregistered for the meeting and 28 had responded that they would attend. In order to develop the invitation list, Holbrow obtained the adoption list for a leading undergraduate textbook for teaching general relativity. He then surfed the web to learn the probable identities of the faculty responsible for the adoption of the text at these schools. A request for expressions of interest in the conference was also sent to the APS topical group on gravitation. Holbrow added that the identification of the schools and people to invite was a significant marketing factor common to all three efforts.
The conference will be held in conjunction with the AAPT Summer Meeting in Syracuse. Peter Saulson has obtained $ 5,000 from LIGO to support this meeting and Michelle Larson arranged for $3,000 support from the Center for Gravitational Wave Physics at Penn State. The AAPT will provide $2,000, most of this coming from registration fees. A conference website has been set up by AAPT. Also, TGRU materials will be published on ComPADRE, which will serve as a model for future publications generated at AAPT meetings.
- Holbrow organized a session planned for the Syracuse meeting that will celebrate the 50th anniversary of PSSC (Physical Sciences Study Committee). The session is sponsored by the AAPT Committee on Physics in High Schools. John Layman and Al Gibson will have an exhibit of PSSC materials in Syracuse. Holbrow has also solicited a collection of articles about PSSC to be published online. Additional articles can be added to the site as time goes by. (Holbrow explained that the online publication of these articles will help AAPT better define what its online publications will be like and, therefore, is an important step for the Association.)
- Holbrow is investigating the possibility of a topical conference on nuclear physics teaching to be held in Greensboro, NC. He will talk with Michael Wittman during the APS April meeting about which topics to address. Possible topics include string theory, nuclear physics stewardship, and maintenance of equipment.
- Another effort being explored by Holbrow is a possible collaboration between AAPT and the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). Holbrow was asked by Mostafa Hemmati, Arkansas Tech University, to prepare a memo suggesting ways that the two organizations could work together. The request was in follow up to Holbrow’s visit to Nancy Hensel, Executive Director of CUR and an email exchange with John Mateja. Holbrow prepared the memo, suggesting the (1) organization of sessions at AAPT and CUR national meetings and at AAPT Section meetings, (2) organization of joint sessions at meetings of APS, AAS, and NSTA where AAPT already organizes sessions, and (3) collaboration in developing an AAPT topical conference on undergraduate research. Holbrow also suggested that it would be appropriate for members of CUR to contribute to the discussions of the AAPT task force on upper-level laboratories.
- Hein arranged for a luncheon of graduate directors, to be held at the APS March meeting in Baltimore. The purpose of the gathering was to discuss the Report from the Task Force on Graduate Education and Holbrow’s analysis of that report. Seven directors attended, including representatives from Princeton, Penn State, Notre Dame, and Yale. Holbrow will repeat the luncheon for a few graduate directors at the APS April Meeting in Dallas. Although no follow up has been planned to date, the directors identified a list of topics for common discussion, such as health insurance and curriculum. Holbrow explained that there is a wide variation in graduate studies from school to school. According to the national average, it will take a student seven years to complete their graduate studies, although graduate schools cite five years as the time period.
During the discussion of Holbrow’s report, Chabay moved that the AAPT Executive Board authorize the submission of the proposal to the NSF requesting funding for support of the AAPT Conference on Systemic Change in Physics Teaching at Leading Research Universities. Roeder seconded the motion.
The proposal requested $31,650 to support part of the cost of a conference of 75 people. The motion passed unanimously.
In his concluding remarks, Holbrow expressed that while he was having a good time serving as Senior Staff Physicist, this did not diminish from his eagerness to complete his term, scheduled for July. He has an eye out for a replacement and believes that some of the candidates for the Executive Officer position might be prospects for his replacement.
Monroe asked if Holbrow thought the Board should maintain the position of SSP after his term ends. He said yes, but added that a commitment of money might be used in other ways to accomplish the same things. For example a consultant or an intern (maybe on a parallel with the high school fellow that had served from time to time in the national office) might be a possibility for consideration. Holbrow remarked that more people were calling him, not AAPT, when questions in the physics community arise.
D. Peterson commented that the Syracuse meeting would be a rather unique meeting. He asked Holbrow if there were other ideas that he found attractive and should be pursued. Holbrow suggested a conference on cosmology. 7. National Meetings.
During introductory remarks for this discussion, Khoury reported that while there had been much email discussion among Board members concerning national meetings, he had not seen a real convergence of ideas.
Heller proposed that the Board adopt a set of meeting criteria for the Summer and Winter Meetings. He asked if the criteria listed in his handout were the right criteria or if changes should be made to these. He categorized the criteria for each meeting as (1) absolutely necessary, (2) strategic, (3) family friendly, and (4) facilities. The criteria were based on a minimum attendance of 1500 for the Summer meeting and a minimum attendance of 900 for the Winter meeting.
D. Peterson observed that the attendance numbers were different than those recommended by the previous task forces on national meetings. Holbrow asked why the criteria called for a move to a model with a smaller attendance during the Winter meetings when the data reported that the attendance at Winter meetings is larger than at Summer meetings.
Chabay expressed that concerted time and thought should be given to the goals of the Winter Meeting and that serious action to create a meetings committee or to adopt meeting criteria should wait until after the Board Retreat. She advised the Board to be more analytical about what people wanted at meetings. She did not feel the Board would realize progress on this issue until a larger, more coherent view was placed on the table for consideration. Tobochnik said he found it hard to decide which sessions at AAPT meetings to attend because of the large number of parallel sessions. However, he did not have this problem at the APS meeting in Baltimore. He added that other comparable science organizations did not have two national meetings a year.
Heller agreed with Chabay’s comments, but said he was appalled by the current process used to select meeting sites. He believed the Board should be able to identify general goals for our meetings, such as high population centers and family friendly sites. Adair emphasized the need to keep joint meetings a priority.
Following a short brainstorming discussion of possible sites that would meet Heller’s criteria, Chabay asked the Board to remember that the goals for AAPT meetings had changed over the years. She said when we recall how the character of the organization had changed and would continue to change, we should not be surprised that what worked in the past was no longer working for us.
Leff asked Heller how he envisioned the Board using the criteria before the next Council meeting in January. Heller’s intentions were to present these criteria to the Section Representatives along with information about proposed future sites that reported how the sites met, or did not meet, these criteria. That way, Section Reps would be mindful of the criteria and would recognize which proposed meeting sites could put the AAPT at financial risk.
Khoury reminded the Board that during the Anchorage meeting Heller had presented a process describing how criteria could be used to select meeting sites. At that time, the criteria were not prepared, but now the Board had both a process and a set of criteria to consider. Heller described his process as an effort to involve everyone who is currently responsible for the organization of meetings. D. Peterson expressed that unfortunately many of these people only have this responsibility for short terms.
Gibson did not feel that the Programs Committee should be part of the site selection process. C. Robertson stated that he could support the creation of a meetings committee. Adair agreed with Gibson, adding that the Programs Committee is concerned with setting the priorities for meeting programs. She felt the Section Reps were better positioned to make the decisions regarding meeting sites. Desbien recommended that criteria should also address the timing of meetings.
Khoury pointed out that there was not much variance over the criteria, therefore eliminating the need for the Board to revisit this issue at every meeting. Tobochnik recommended that the criteria be used as a trial for one year and the results be evaluated by the Board. Holbrow stressed that the criteria should use the same attendance numbers that we now have. He also felt that a criterion should be added that would address how much money we make at these meetings. He felt it is our job (a concern, not an obligation) to select sites with cheap airfares.
The Board concluded the discussion, asking Khoury and the AAPT staff to identify a set of cities meeting the criteria distributed by Heller and to report their findings in writing to the Board and to the Section Representatives at the Summer meeting. The report, which will list the cities in ranked order, will also include a listing showing how the cities meet these criteria. The Board may revise the criteria at that time. 8. Report from the Executive Officer.
Khoury highlighted the following topics in his Report to the Board.
- Personnel Items. Khoury explained that Hein was attending the PhysTEC annual conference being held at the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville and Carol Heimpel was recovering from another medical procedure. In the Board Packet was a letter from Jack Hehn expressing his appreciation for the Board’s formal invitation for him to attend AAPT Board meetings as the AIP Director of Education. (See Board Minutes for January 2006, Item 29.) He expressed his regrets that he could not attend this meeting due to the schedule conflict with the PhysTEC annual meeting. (Hein and Hehn are Co PIs for this project.) Khoury will have surgery in April and anticipates a two-month recovery period.
- Joint Meetings. In January 2007 the AAPT will meet jointly with the American Astronomical Society (AAS). Tentative plans have been made for the AAPT to meet jointly with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in January 2009.
In addition to these efforts, Khoury has had discussions with executive directors at the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). The directors expressed a strong interest in meeting jointly with us and possible meeting dates have been proposed. Khoury has discussed June 2009 or June 2010 with the MAA. For these dates, MAA has been looking at Portland, OR and Pittsburgh, PA. In response to a question from Robertson, Khoury explained the AAPT would have input regarding the choice of a site for the MAA meeting. The MAA typically has 12-1300 attendance at its Summer meeting. Suggested joint meeting dates with ASEE are June 2011, 2012, or 2013. The ASEE is considering Montreal, Boston, Vancouver, San Antonio, or Seattle as its meeting site. Attendance at its Summer meeting is typically 3500. The next step in these discussions involves meeting with the meeting planners of these organizations to determine if the logistics for a joint meeting will work.
Khoury advised that if the AAPT commits to a joint meeting with other organizations several years in advance, the Board will need to consider two issues before the AAPT staff can move ahead in its planning for future joint meetings:
- Each commitment we now make to a future joint meeting limits the flexibility we have to make major changes in the format and structure and schedule of our national meetings; and
- In setting joint meetings, we may encounter a circumstance where the partner society has a “program chair” identified for that joint meeting well before the AAPT has elected the person who serves as our program chair.
The MAA program chair is on salary and so their program for the proposed dates is in place. However, the AAPT does not yet have a program chair for those dates. In addition, the meeting dates with MAA are late June. In consideration of an earlier proposal to meet jointly with the Acoustical Society, some sections had objected because the proposed meeting date was late June, which is a time when their schools are still in session.
9. Approval of the Minutes. Adair moved that the January 2006 Minutes of the Executive Board be accepted as corrected. Robertson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.10. Audit Committee Report. R. Peterson, Chair of the Audit Committee, moved that the Board accept the auditors’ report for 2005.
- Intelligent Design. During its January 2006 meeting, the Board authorized the Executive Officer to commit up to $5,000 in order for AAPT to join with other science societies to prepare a response to people who advocated the teaching of intelligent design in the classrooms. (See January 2006 Minutes, Item 5) Khoury reported that this “message study” was underway and some results should be ready by the time of our meeting in Syracuse. He advised that if there were a broad consensus among the major science organizations concerning the next steps in this effort, the AAPT should be prepared to join that effort.
D. Peterson said we need to consider how to best teach physics to students that have intelligent design being taught in their schools. Chabay and Heller agreed with this. Both cited examples of schools that were bringing people to the classrooms to talk about both sides of this controversial issue.
- SPIN-UP Project. Several members of the National Task Force on Undergraduate Physics, a cooperative effort among the AAPT, the APS, and the AIP, are considering if the findings of this project could be used to benefit the physics departments at HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). The effort is supported with residual funds received from the ExxonMobil Foundation for the SPIN-UP program.
- Department Chairs Conference. A steering committee of six department chairs with Judy Franz and Bernie Khoury is developing the program for the next Department Chairs Conference scheduled for June 9-11, 2006. The day sessions will be held at the ACP and evening sessions will be held at a nearby hotel. The conference is a joint effort of the APS and AAPT held every two years.
The conference will have multiple themes, including a focus on the National Academy of Sciences report, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm”, and the report from the AAPT/APS Task Force on Graduate Education. Holbrow will participate in the session discussing graduate education. A third theme will address the work of the APS task force on ethics.
- Past EO Interviews. Former AAPT officers (Karen Johnston, Howard Voss, John Layman, and Rod Grant) are working together to produce a set of interviews of former AAPT Executive Officers, Arnie Strassenburg, Jack Wilson, and Bernie Khoury. The working group has met with the staff of the Center for the History of Physics regarding interview protocols. This set of interviews will provide more documentation of AAPT’s recent history. Strassenburg is currently reviewing the transcript of his interview conducted by Grant. When this phase has been completed, Johnston and Layman will conduct the other two interviews.
During its October 2005 meeting, the Board authorized $5000 to support this effort. (See October 2005 Minutes, Item 21.) Khoury reported that Layman had expressed to him that the Minutes from that meeting implied support only for the Strassenburg interview. It had been the intent of the Board to provide financial support for all three interviews. To clarify the matter, Roeder moved that the Board authorize the use of the remainder of the $5000 to be used to conduct the interviews of Jack Wilson and Bernard Khoury and prepare them for publication. Leff seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
During its previous action, the Board had requested that the Strassenburg interviews be published in the Summer and Fall 2006 issues of the Announcer.
- Pending Publications. Two books are on line to be published by the AAPT. A resource book for teachers has been in the works for ten years. This book is currently under review by a group of physicists for content and by the AAPT staff for copyright issues. Following these reviews, the Publications Committee will again consider the book.
The second book is a brochure on Physics First. Patty Blanton, working with a subset of the high school area committee, prepared the brochure, which is intended to provide information about the topic without advocating that schools adopt this methodology. The Physics First document is currently under copyediting review. Since the book contains policy and political issues, the Publications Committee will not review the brochure.
Khoury moved that the AAPT Executive Board approve the publication of the Physics First brochure (included in the Board Packet as Item IIID), subject to final copyediting. Tobochnik seconded the motion. In discussion of the motion, Khoury clarified that the AAPT advocates Physics for All, not Physics First. AAPT regards Physics First as one strategy to teach physics to more students. Adair explained that the brochure will make people aware of what this program is. The motion passed unanimously.
- Physics Photo Contest. Khoury reported that Lexmark has expressed an interest in sponsoring the Physics Photo Contest. They will pay the AAPT $5-10,000 with an additional gift of $1,000 to student winners. Vernier has been the sponsor for this event for many years and has given awards to the winners. However, Vernier has not paid a stipend to the Association. While the AAPT staff has expressed an interest in making the change, they fear that it might alienate Vernier.
Heller responded that he did not think that Vernier would respond negatively to the change in sponsors, especially if Vernier were visibly credited with getting the event started. He added that if Vernier had a problem with the proposed change, the Board would look at the matter more closely. Gibson and Leff both stressed that a commitment by Lexmark should be for more than one year.
- Email Blasts. The new design of AAPT email blasts developed by Rob Headrick, Director of Publications, has received good feedback.
Copies of the auditors’ report were distributed electronically to Board members prior to this meeting. It was the finding of the independent auditors that the financial statements of the AAPT through December 31, 2005 conform to accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.
During the performance of the audit, the auditors became aware of certain matters that they believed were opportunities for strengthening internal control or improving operating efficiency. These were summarized, as information only, in a letter accompanying their official report. The letter included the AAPT staff response to each recommendation and comment presented. R. Peterson pointed out that the Board may have found some of these observations and recommendations surprising.
Robertson reported that in follow up to these recommendations, the AAPT will establish a separate account in TIAA-CREF to handle its funds for health insurance for its employees. Heller directed the Board’s attention to the recommendation concerned with a late submission of final program and financial reports to the NSF for one of AAPT’s grants. He commented that such a delay could put other submitted proposals in jeopardy of being funded. In the future, if the problem should occur again, Heller advised that, if necessary, the Executive Officer could write the report.
Khoury said that all other recommendations were being handled nicely by the staff. The staff found the report to the management to be generally constructive and the staff generally agreed with the recommendations from the auditors. However, it was not clear at the moment if the staff would pursue the recommendation to establish a separate trust for post retirement benefits. The motion passed unanimously.
Although not included in their report, the auditors had expressed a concern to the AAPT staff about the lack of continuity of knowledge and skills among the staff. For example, the auditors were concerned that there is no one with the skills and knowledge to assume Fran Smith’s responsibilities when she is out of the office. Smith agreed with this and said that she had made plans for someone to assume her duties during her two-month medical leave later in the Spring. However, Smith explained that the AAPT needs to bring in a person that she can phase in as her replacement since she is near retirement. She also suggested that the AAPT needs a grants officer. Khoury added that the auditors were very complimentary of the work done by Smith, who is the first CPA to serve as AAPT financial director. He also reported that the staff had the same concern for other directors, but it was not clear how to best remedy this problem. 11. 2007 Membership & Subscription Rates.
Khoury referred Board members to the memo from Warren Hein concerning 2007 AAPT member and nonmember subscription rates (Board Packet, Item IVC). Hein, Valerie Evans, and Rob Headrick prepared the proposal. The increases in member rates will be very small, but larger percent changes will be made to library subscriptions.
Khoury moved that the Board approve the proposal for 2007 membership and subscription rates prepared by Warren Hein, Valerie Evans, and Rob Headrick.
- Member Rate Changes: The proposal recommended a relatively small increase in member subscription rates: with TPT subscription the rate will change from $103 to $105 and with AJP subscription, the rate will change from $131 to $133. Members subscribing to both journals will not experience an increase. The proposed $2 increase for each journal subscription will produce a revenue increase of about $15,600. Members will also be given the option to receive both online versions of the journals for $16 instead of the combined rate cost of $21.
- Nonmember Rate Changes: The proposal provides for increases of $15 in the nonmember subscription rates for AJP and TPT (2.9% and 4.8% respectively), thus providing for a revenue increase of about $46,950. This increase in revenue did not include the increases in revenue from subscribers receiving the journals through consortium agreements.
- Online Subscriptions Only. At the request of the Membership and Benefits Committee, the AAPT staff are studying the feasibility and financial consequences of subscriptions to the online versions only, without paper subscriptions. A report of their findings and recommendations will likely be ready by January 2007.
In discussion of the motion, Robertson asked if changes would be made to emeritus member and student member subscriptions. The rates to emeritus members will not change but student rates would realize a change since they are fraction of the regular membership rates. Robertson reported that AIP had received an increase in subscriptions of their journals, partly due to consortia efforts and tier pricing. Robertson suggested that AAPT should go the same route. Khoury explained that the AAPT already participates in the consortia but there was no intent to pursue tier pricing. Evans reported that the AAPT income from its journal subscriptions had increased due to AAPT’s participation in consortia. D. Peterson expressed caution, saying that AIP had professional people that were paid to work on this, but the AAPT did not have that option. If we don’t know what we’re doing, we could get burned. R. Peterson pointed out that there are some R1 universities, which do not subscribe to our journals.
Heller suggested that AAPT should provide a graduate student membership without a journal subscription. The students already get the journals at their institutions. This reduced membership rate would encourage students to join. R. Peterson modified Heller’s proposal and suggested that AAPT provide undergraduate student memberships with only electronic subscriptions. Some Board members felt the AAPT should implement a new subscription program, which would allow graduate students to continue to subscribe to AAPT journals at graduate student rates for three years after graduation.
Currently the AAPT has different membership rates for undergraduate students and graduate students. The rates within these categories vary depending upon the journal subscription selected. The cheapest graduate student rate (2006) is $52 and the cheapest undergraduate rate is $22 (2006). The graduate student membership rate in APS is $27. Upon hearing a consensus among Board members to make memberships to students more attractive, Khoury suggested that we combine the undergraduate and graduate memberships to provide one student membership with an electronic journal, maybe $22. The Board members voiced agreement with this idea.
Therefore, Khoury amended his original motion. The 2007 membership and subscription rates will provide a single rate for all students, graduate and undergraduate students, to be determined by the Executive Office. The amended motion passed unanimously.
Tobochnik asked if consideration had been given to multiple-year memberships. Gibson responded that this idea would be passed along to the Membership and Benefits Committee. 12. 75th Anniversary Plans.
Khoury referred to the list of staff-organized events planned to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the AAPT this year. (Board Packet Item VH) Khoury reported that the interviews for the Anniversary Booklet have been completed and edited and were waiting to be prepared for publication. The proposed date for distribution was set at mid-September. Most of the physics educators interviewed are AAPT members. The next issue of the Announcer
will have a collage of photos. The AAPT national office has requested members to send in their old photos.
Heller asked what efforts were being made to remember the founders of the AAPT. Khoury said one suggestion had been to print the first Minutes of the Association. D. Peterson said these were published in one of the early issues of the AJP. Another idea was to extend a special invitation to past officers and award winners to attend the banquet during the Syracuse meeting.
(See these Minutes, Item 19 for additional discussion.)13. Judy Franz.
Franz, Executive Officer of the APS, presented the following items for report and discussion.
14. Jim Stith.
- APS April Meeting. The APS Task Force on the future of the April Meeting had met the preceding day. The Society only has two multi division meetings a year, one in March and one in April. The March meeting has been growing and the attendance at the 2006 meeting in Baltimore was 7300. However, the April meeting is a small meeting with only 1000 participants and was not viewed as an important meeting. Therefore APS established a Task Force to consider changes for the April meeting, to be implemented after the April 2009 meeting.
Franz explained that many ideas were being considered, such as changing the timing of the meeting or having an occasional meeting, possibly every three years. Some thought had been given to the goals for the meeting. Some members wanted the meeting to meet in the DC area in February so that it could be a lobbying meeting. Another suggestion for change was to resume joint meetings with the AAPT. (Beginning with its first annual meeting in 1931, the AAPT’s Annual Meeting had been held jointly with the APS, until in 1989 the APS decided to withdraw from this meeting. Then in response to a request from APS, the AAPT met jointly with the APS during its April meeting from 1992 to 1999.
The consensus of the APS Task Force was that the meeting should not be canceled but possibly moved to a different time of the year. In addition, the meeting should continue to focus on the same divisions. Franz asked the Task Force to have its final report ready for the APS Executive Board by the end of November.
Tobochnik expressed interest in regular joint meetings with the APS, but not necessarily annual meetings with them. Franz reacted positively to Heller’s idea that the AAPT Board give a statement of endorsement for this joint meeting. A joint meeting would have about 2000 participants. Monroe asked Franz and Khoury to remind her why the AAPT had stopped meeting with the APS during its April meeting. Khoury explained that the April meeting had not provided service to the non-APS members of AAPT because of AAPT’s three meetings a year. Consequently there was consistently poor attendance by AAPT. So the AAPT Council decided to end our participation in 1999. Khoury pointed out that this suggestion from the APS Task Force was different. It did not ask the AAPT to have a third meeting, but to consider moving the AAPT Winter meeting to February.
Khoury moved that the AAPT Executive Board approve the following resolution: The AAPT Executive Board greets enthusiastically the prospect of having joint meetings with the APS. Leff seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. Khoury will report this action in a letter addressed to Franz.
- PhysTEC Conference. The annual PhysTEC conference was meeting at the same time as our Board at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Franz learned from Ted Hodapp, APS Education Director and project PI, that 75 were attending the conference. Franz commented that she had published an article in 1983 in Physics Today on physics education. She had an occasion to recently review this article and found that not a lot had changed. She suggested that if the PhysTEC Coalition could get buy in from the physics community, the Coalition could have a national impact.
- APS Membership. Leff inquired about the number of members in the APS. Franz reported that the record had been over 45,000. When he asked what the trick was, she said she honestly did not know. She characterized their growth in membership as slow, even in recent years when the number of awarded PhD’s degrees has decreased. However, Franz predicted that the number of degrees might soon experience an increase due to the strong community interest in biophysics.
Jim Stith, AIP Vice President for Physics Resources, reviewed some AIP priority issues and asked AAPT’s help in addressing these.
- The AIP has been trying to improve its service to the undergraduate student community. Stith reported that of those students receiving BS degrees in physics, only about half continue to graduate studies, and one third of these are in fields other than physics. He asked the AAPT for help in better understanding this phenomenon.
- In an effort to strengthen ties between the Society of Physics Students (SPS) and other AIP member societies, AIP provides SPS members with the option to receive free membership for three years in one of the societies. Although actual data is not available, the societies do not report an increase in the membership in this age group. Therefore, the inference is that students are not maintaining their memberships. However, the SPS participation in meetings of the member societies is growing. The AAS meeting reported the largest student participation to date. The participation at the AAPT meeting in Anchorage was healthy but not as large as wanted. Stith expressed that it has been helpful to have Gary White, SPS Director, as a member of the AAPT Programs Committee. Stith expressed his thanks to the Board for its support in this effort.
- The AIP continues to work hard to improve the Physics Today Online site. Next year, the site will provide all back issues to the first volume. Holbrow asked if AIP had a business model for posting the back issues. Stith responded that they did. While the AIP has not provided institutional access to PT Online, some thought is being given to changing this policy.
- A new priority in Physics Resources concerns defining AIP’s role in the science preparation of teachers. At the present time, it is not clear how the Institute can work through its member societies to persuade science departments to accept this responsibility.
- There are now 17 groups providing some financial support to AIP’s Discoveries and Breakthroughs Inside Science (DBIS). The partners report that they are realizing benefits from this cooperation. The Physics Resources Division is now considering how much growth can be accomplished with the current number of staff.
- Currently there are 700 SPS chapters and over 400 Sigma Pi Sigma chapters. The chapters are divided among 17 zones and each zone has two representatives (one student, one faculty) to the SPS Council. All representatives were present for the last three Council meetings, which are held annually. Chapters are reporting more activities and the chapter reports are more robust. AIP is investigating how the member societies can capitalize on SPS activities. For example, SPS zone meetings are an active part of the North Carolina and Texas AAPT section meetings. Stith reported that the AIP has increased the size of SPS scholarships and is giving more student scholarships and travel grants than previously.
Khoury referred to the status report on the PhysTEC project prepared by Hein (Board Packet, Item VC). Monroe asked Khoury to distinguish the two types of documents referenced in the first paragraph of the report. Khoury explained that the memorandums of understanding are business memoranda, which have been signed by all three cooperating organizations, APS, AIP, and AAPT. The second document, yet to be completed, clarifies the working relationship among the three organizations.
The Project Management Team meets about every two weeks for 1.5 to 2 hours. The PhysTEC Advisory Committee will meet at the ACP, June 15-16, 2006.
Hein, in his Memo to the Board, reported that the Coalition has seen dramatic growth in membership during the past six months. At the time of his report, the Coalition had 40 members. A review of the data provided by the Primary Participating Institutions (PPIs) revealed that as of December 2005, the PhysTEC program had graduated 51 secondary physics teachers with an estimated 37 additional secondary physics teachers across all project sites expected to graduate by 2007. Preliminary data indicated that the number of secondary physics teachers graduating from the PPIs had increased by a factor of 3 since the start of the project. The Teachers in Residence (TIRs) in 2005 and 2006 organized sessions at various meetings of science organizations. These included the AAPT 2005 Summer meeting (Utah), the 2005 PTEC conference (Muncie, Indiana), the 2006 AAPT Winter Meeting (Anchorage), and the 2006 NSTA National Conference (Anaheim, CA). 16. Area Committee Reports.
Customarily, Board members attend one or two meetings of area committees at our Summer and Winter meetings. If the committees have any actions or concerns requiring immediate attention, the visiting Board member reports these during the Board’s last session. In 2005, D. Peterson asked Board members, in addition to their short oral reports to the Board, to prepare written reports of their visits on the forms he developed and to submit these to the Secretary. The President and Secretary then review the reports to determine if a follow up discussion by the Board is warranted before its next meeting. In addition the copies of the reports are included in the next Board Packet.
Reports for the January 2006 visits were included in the Board Packet (Item VE). Board members did not have any questions regarding these.
D. Peterson asked Executive Board members to comment on the value of these written reports. Monroe suggested that while the area chairs provide annual reports to the Review Board, these visit reports might provide additional and useful information to the committee. Following a short discussion of the role of the Review Board in promoting activities of our area committees, Executive Board members agreed that the Review Board should possibly meet earlier, maybe in a face-to-face meeting, and improve its feedback to area committees. D. Peterson will serve as the Chair of this year’s Review Board. 17. AAPT Lobbying Efforts.
During recent meetings, Board members had expressed an interest in improving its lobbying efforts in the DC area. In response to this, Warren Hein prepared a memo for the Board (Board Packet, Item VF) describing the current efforts of AAPT and those of the APS. While the AAPT has been a participant in an informal lobbying group called the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Coalition, Hein described the impact of this effort as minimal. He also pointed out that the effort did not involve the general membership of the AAPT.
APS uses Congress Web, a web hosting service. The service facilitates communication with members of Congress by email and also provides a website branded with the organization’s logo. Members can elect to use the text prepared by the organization for their emails or organizational members can provide their own. APS uses this service via dedicated terminals at their meetings and APS members not attending the meetings are also able to access the web service.
Hein recommended that the AAPT use Congress Web software for one year and then evaluate its effectiveness with a brief online survey to our members. The cost for this service is $3000 a year. Although the APS has offered to let AAPT use its service, Hein recommended that AAPT purchase this service, thereby insuring that the AAPT brand would appear on the emails, promoting AAPT as a provider of this service. He also suggested that the AAPT letters should be more specific than the letters generated by APS.
In response to Heller, Khoury explained that to be a registered lobbyist requires a certain amount of money budgeted for lobbying activities. (He could not recall the dollar figure.) The AAPT threshold is way below what is needed to officially register as a lobbyist. However, AAPT could generate letters and conduct visits to Congress without this status. D. Peterson moved that the Executive Board approve the one-year experiment with the Congress Web service, at a cost of $3000. Leff seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
In addition to the generation of letters, the APS has effectively arranged face-to-face visits between its members and congressional representatives. Khoury explained that if AAPT Board members want to visit the Hill, the Board should plan to arrive a day early. Appointments should be made for the visits and visitors should go with a request and facts in hand. Heller advised Board members to visit with congressional members of both parties and explained that it was easier to talk to a Representative than it was to a Senator. He suggested that it would be easier to visit in teams. Following a short discussion by the Board, Heller concluded that he heard general agreement for such visits. The Board will plan to conduct its first visit next Spring. In the meantime he will ask AIP to work with us to produce a physics success story that features the AAPT. (Heller recessed the Board until Sunday morning.)
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