AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers

      Guest Editorial, Fall 2006


      By Toufic M Hakim    

    Announcer, Vol. 36, No. 3


    Dear AAPT Members, Colleagues, and Friends
     I take this public opportunity to send you greetings and share with you that I am very honored and privileged to rejoin AAPT and contribute through the National Office to its continued growth and success.
     This is for me a homecoming of sorts. After a decade of engagement in physics research and teaching, and another decade in higher education management—research and grants administration in particular—I am glad to be back in some capacity to my home discipline. I have journeyed outside physics and physics education, and the work has been quite valuable; but like those of us trained in physics, with a good portion of our life invested in it, “physics” has stayed on.
     I join the National Office after many years of able leadership by Bernie Khoury, who has helped shape AAPT and the American Center for Physics. I recognize his great efforts and dedication to this Association and hope to build and expand on his successes. He is a colleague for whom I have high regard, a staunch supporter of AAPT whose knowledge I will tap no doubt, and a friend with whom I share common interests.
     Many have welcomed me warmly to the National Office. It is time for me to welcome you and AAPT to my professional life at a new level.
     The more I learn about our Association, the more I find myself attracted to its mission and fascinated by the significant opportunities that lie within and around its organizational boundaries. I interpret the organizational dual vision as becoming the leading voice of physics education and the leading resource for physics educators. This is an inspiring vision, consistent with the history and momentum of AAPT. At its core, there is a commitment for the cause of physics education and the imperative of providing excellent services to our members. AAPT’s character appears as a dynamic mixture of collegiality, volunteerism, and passion for physics teaching.
     I see in AAPT some special, cherished elements:
  •         I see members serving physics education and mentoring students in different capacities, from schools to research universities. We are in a unique position to facilitate their joint work across various areas of physics teaching and learning.
  •         I see dedicated volunteers doing the academic work of the organization, willing to invest their time, knowledge, and creativity to support the organization that serves them and to develop programs that help others raise physics teaching to a higher plateau. We all highly value no doubt this feature of AAPT and desire to protect it.
  •         I see physics educators who chose to be in the field because of their strong interests, beliefs, and desire to promote the knowledge and love of physics far and wide—to say nothing of the importance of physics in the realms of science and society. We need to keep feeding the flame, finding effective ways to share this perspective with the public, and placing physics educators in the national dialogue about science education in general.      
    My charge and commitment as Executive Officer are to serve you: the members, the Board, the sections, the organization, and the community at large, toward advancing physics education and supporting physics educators. My role is to work closely with you as we identify strategies for enhancing participation in the organization by reaching out to various groups who could benefit from our programs and services. My obligation is to ask questions, keep an eye for efficiency and effectiveness, evaluate and assess, facilitate dialogue…
     In the next few months, we will be asking some tough questions, whose answers will lead no doubt to organizational change of one form or another. It is easy to talk about change. Facilitating change, deliberately and judiciously, is a weighty matter. I prefer to weigh change with factors that remain constant, to measure it, if you will, against a fixed frame of reference. AAPT’s compass is in its core values of collegiality, collaboration, and care for physics education. These values will guide our future directions.
     I thank members of the AAPT Board for their confidence in my ability to help AAPT establish its next goals and navigate its next path of growth and development. I look forward to getting to know you and working closely with you and our capable professionals at the National Office to achieve our common objectives. And I am sure it will be fun.
     In service of AAPT and physics education.
     —Toufic M. Hakim
     Executive Officer