AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers

      Fall 2006 Executive Officer's Report


      By Bernard V. Khoury    

     Announcer, Vol. 36, No. 3
     Looking Forward, Looking Backward
     This is my final report as the AAPT Executive Officer. In fact, it is so “final” that its printing will take place after my successor arrives in the AAPT offices in College Park.
     I want to do three things in this report. First is to welcome Toufic Hakim as our new executive officer. The second is to extend my thanks to many who have assisted me in my role over these past 16 years. The third is to look back briefly on my tenure at the helm of AAPT.
     In his Guest Editorial, Toufic Hakim presents his first commentary as your executive officer. I have eagerly anticipated his arrival here, since I know that he approaches his new position with enthusiasm for the basic mission of AAPT, a mission toward which I have devoted virtually all of my professional energy and activity since 1990. As was also true for me when I arrived at AAPT, Toufic comes from an administrative position at a university. This era followed his successful career in the physics classroom. I know that he brings the skills and perspectives that will allow AAPT to continue to thrive in a society undergoing dynamic changes in many of its institutions.
     After my extended service as executive officer, it seems almost futile to try to thank those with whom I have had the privilege of sharing in the leadership and management of this wonderful organization. Nevertheless, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge my indebtedness to a succession of presidents and other members of the AAPT Executive Board. These “volunteers,” elected by members of AAPT, have spent countless hours attending to the kinds of crucial oversight typical of a board of directors. While there are surely personal benefits that accrue to Board members and AAPT officers, they nonetheless have labored long and hard in dealing with important issues surrounding our journals, our meetings, our programs, our policies, and our finances.
     To all the former and current Board members and officers, and to the thousands of volunteers who have served on scores of committees and task forces, you have my sincere thanks for your support and assistance. I hope you recognize how important your contributions have been to the growth and health of AAPT. While the Board sets policies and directions for the Association, AAPT also has a wonderful and dedicated staff who carry out and implement these myriad decisions; without their constant assistance and support, my own efforts would have been for nought.
     In looking back over my tenure it is difficult to select a few singular events from among the hundreds of rewarding experiences in which I have played some role at AAPT. If I focus my attention on changes with long-term impacts on the health of the organization, a couple of such secular changes stand out.
     Our active participation and partnership in the American Center for Physics has been a financial and programmatic success. We now have an equity interest in a functional and beautiful headquarters building, which gives coherence to the unity of all of physics.
     We have steadily accumulated a significant investment reserve, which assures our financial stability and gives us the resources to support “off budget” activities of the kind described in the Annual Treasurer’s Report. This reserve exemplifies the systematic way that the Board and the executive officer have exercised our fiduciary responsibilities for the long-term health of AAPT.
     For more than a decade AAPT has worked to encourage and nurture the development of a visible and successful cadre of members engaged in physics education research. We now have a PER topical group—and AAPT co-sponsors an all-electronic journal of PER. This group and their scholarly efforts promise to have a salutary impact on physics teaching and on the accumulation of evidence that student learning is directly correlated with certain teaching approaches, including active engagement in the classroom and in the lab.
     These have been 16 wonderful years for me at AAPT. As a 40-plus-year member of our organization, I look forward to observing and participating in AAPT’s next era of growth as we continue to “enhance the understanding and appreciation of physics through teaching.”
     —Bernard V. Khoury
     Executive Officer Emeritus