AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers

October 29-30, 2005
AmericanCenterfor Physics

Session I

Saturday,  October 29, 2005

 

Members Present:  Dick Peterson, President; Ken Heller, President Elect; Harvey Leff, Vice President; Jim Nelson, Past President; Mary Beth Monroe, Secretary; Chuck Robertson, Treasurer; Randy Peterson, Chair of Section Representatives; Al Gibson, Vice Chair of Section Representatives; Chuck Stone, At-Large Member for Two-Year Colleges; Ruth Chabay, At-Large Member for Four-Year Colleges; John Roeder, At-Large Member for High Schools; Karl Mamola, Editor of The Physics Teacher; Jan Tobochnik, Editor of the American Journal of Physics; Bernard V. Khoury, Executive Officer

 

Guests:  Warren Hein, Associate Executive Officer; Maria Elena Khoury, AAPT Director of Programs; Valerie Evans, AAPT Director of Membership; Roxanne Muller, AAPT Executive Assistant; Carol Heimpel, AAPT Director of Meetings; Charlie Holbrow, Senior Staff Physicist; Karen Johnston, Momentum Group; John Layman, PhysTEC CoPI representing the AAPT

 

1.  Welcome and Call to Order.  Dick Peterson called the meeting to order and welcomed all members and guests.  In his introductory comments D. Peterson reminded the Board that three of its members (Roeder, Monroe, Khoury) had had major surgery during the Summer and were not able to attend the August 2005 meeting.  In addition, two AAPT staff were on pregnancy leave during the Summer. However, life went on and the association functioned ok during this period.

 

Khoury expressed his thanks to the Board for their thoughts and support during his surgery in August and his recovery during the subsequent two months. 

 

2.  Agenda: D. Peterson distributed a copy of the revised meeting agenda, which had assigned times for the items.  D. Peterson pointed out that some agenda items had hidden items for consideration.  For example during the discussion of Winter Meetings (IIB), the Board would also address the national sponsorship of meetings and discuss the proposal from the Winter Meetings special committee.  In addition the Board would consider the request from the temporary committee on Teacher Preparation during its discussion of the PhysTEC status report. D. Peterson anticipated that the AAPT Anniversary Discussion (Item IIIH) might include an action item. 

 

There were no changes to the Agenda. 

 

3.  Approval of the Minutes, August 2005.  M.B. Monroe expressed her thanks to Tom O’Kuma for serving as Recording Secretary during the August 2005 meeting.  She asked if there were corrections or additions to these.  Two corrections of substance were noted by Board members.  Jim Nelson moved that the Board accept the August 2005 Minutes as corrected.  Randy Peterson seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

 

4.  Officers’ Reports.

Executive Officer.

Khoury referred to his Report to the Board, October 2005 (Item IE1 in the Board Packet) and highlighted some of the topics for comment. 

  • The New Faculty Workshop continues to be successful and oversubscribed, having just recognized its 10th anniversary.  The project leader, Ken Krane, recently expressed his plans to withdraw from the leadership of the program.  Krane had retired from his faculty position at Oregon State University the year before.  The plan was to shift Krane’s work to the staff of the cooperating organizations (AAPT, APS and AAS) W. Hein explained that hopefully a new director would be appointed from among the12-13 presenters who had been very involved with the program.  In response to a question from C. Robertson, Khoury said no other workshop presenters were planning on leaving the project. D. Peterson suggested that Charlie Holbrow, Senior Staff Physicist, should be involved in the search for Krane’s replacement. 

 

Stone asked if the new faculty applying for the NF Workshop were asked to write a paragraph explaining why they wanted to attend.  Khoury replied that this was not the case.  NF Workshop participants are selected from nominations prepared by department chairs. Stone explained that he knew a participant who did not care about the purpose of the meeting and did not intend to use the experience to improve his teaching.  D. Peterson said that possibly the AAPT should send a note to the nominating chair indicating that the nominee should have a serious interest in attending.

 

  • Khoury reported that he had encouraging discussions with AAAS concerning the possibility of a joint meeting in 2009 or later.  He proposed that the Board present to Council in January 2006 the option to meet with AAAS in Chicago, February 12-16, 2009 or in San Diego, February 18-22, 2010. Khoury explained that both organizations have to work through some governance issues leading to approval of national meeting sites and dates.   Khoury identified three items for discussion that the Board should present to Council in January 2006 in consideration of this proposal: (1) the compatibility of the missions of AAAS and AAPT, (2) the association’s readiness to join with the AAAS meeting which has 4-5000 participants, and (3) the Council’s readiness to hold the AAPT Winter Meeting in mid-February (the typical meeting times for the AAAS). If the Council approves either option, the members can authorize the staff and Board to proceed with such planning.  Khoury advised the Board to develop a strategy for reporting this Winter Meeting option to Council and the Section Representatives at the Anchorage meeting. 

 

  • Khoury reported that the AAPT statement on the teaching of evolution and cosmology approved by the Board had been printed in the Announcer.  In addition the Board approved co-sponsorship of a symposium planned for the 2006 AAAS meeting addressing this topic.  By the  conclusion of two meetings of 20 representatives from science associations convened by Robert Einstein (APS), the group generally acknowledged that science-based organizations often have not paid enough attention to the science education of non-scientists.  The group also acknowledged that the evolution/intelligent design issue is a reflection of a growing mistrust of science and scientists. 

 

This issue has received a lot of recent publicity because both NAS (National Academy of Science) and NSTA made the statement that the national science education standards cannot by used by Kansas.  These two organizations have publications on what the science standards should be and Kansas has been told that it cannot use or quote from these publications.  The AAAS has also taken the same stand with regard to its publications. 

 

Nelson asked if AAPT should prohibit use of AAPT teacher materials. Khoury explained that our action thus far has been to join with other organizations in writing general policy statements.  It is not clear to him how the AAPT could join publishing organizations in this effort. 

 

Khoury presented the following reports not appearing in the Board Packet.

  • Khoury advised the Board that the AIP would like for the AAPT to become continuing partners in the development of the Discoveries and Breakthroughs Inside Science (DBIS) loops prepared for television. The staff had arranged for the Board to view these loops in the adjacent conference room at their convenience during the weekend meeting.  The Board during its Albuquerque meeting had authorized $10 K to be given to AIP in support of this program.  AIP would like for the AAPT to make this an annual contribution.  Khoury explained that this contribution is small compared to the contributions to AIP from other organizations, but nevertheless advised the Board to accept the request. 

 

Stone asked if the DBIS loops could be made available to teachers. Khoury advised Stone to mention this idea to Jim Stith during his visit to the Board later in the weekend. 

 

  • Khoury reported that sessions at national meetings dealing with social justice have raised some controversy and criticism particularly from the Research in Physics Education area committee. D. Peterson expressed surprise at this occurrence.  Khoury explained that in the past a workshop had such an exchange and an individual asked AAPT what we thought of such remarks being made under the purport of AAPT workshops.  Khoury said this issue would be passed to H. Leff as Program Chair and the area committee chairs.

 

Chabay opined that AAPT just needs to tell the workshop presenters to better structure their statements. The association should make the nature of the workshops very clear and participants should be advised of those that might stimulate statements addressing social justice.  Heller commented that such statements had also been made in some paper sessions, not just workshops.  Gibson added that such statements were made in an invited session.  Chabay and Heller insisted that these statements just reflect a different viewpoint.  Paper sessions are not censored and Heller added that he did not even know if these papers had guidelines.  He agreed that this is a problem to be handled by the Programs Committee.   Khoury concluded this discussion, saying that the AAPT might see more of this, particularly as one AAPT member had been really strong in his criticism.  J. Tobochnik suggested that the AAPT refund the member’s workshop fee as a way to address the problem.  Khoury agreed that this could be done.

 

Chair of Section Representatives.  R. Peterson reported that he had surveyed Section Representatives concerning their section meetings.  He learned that these meetings are 2-3 times larger than he anticipated.  The average attendance was about 65 and he had thought the average was about 30.  He pointed out when one considers that there are 47 sections, there are a lot of people attending these local meetings.  R. Peterson advised that AAPT could take a more active stance in supporting and encouraging sections, possibly with financial contributions.  Khoury reminded the Board of the $500 grants to sections to support section activities addressing teacher standards. 

 

In response to a question from Leff, R. Peterson expressed that there are 2500-3000 members of AAPT sections, but he does not have a sense for how many of these are also national members.  Gibson opined that some of this information could be teased from the section survey conducted by Steve Iona.  Monroe pointed out that sections, though requested, do not send lists of local attendees to the national office.

 

Chabay suggested that AAPT could provide some financial support for invited speakers at section meetings.  Hein reported that he had sent a note to sections saying that the AAPT would host their listservs but no sections had accepted the offer to date.  Nelson suggested that the AAPT should host the websites for the sections as well. Hein explained that this effort would be too labor intensive.  Khoury explained that the AAPT website does provide links to the sections’ websites.  Nelson explained that some sections have difficulty maintaining a website since they do not have a constant person who assumes this responsibility.  Hein said that in the future AAPT might expand its management system that would allow AAPT to host the section websites. 

 

Stone suggested that possibly the section representatives could present workshops or presentations to share successful practices and activities among sections.  Monroe commented that such activities had been done when Sandra Harpole was Chair of Section Representatives. The Texas Section and a few other sections had made such presentations, which were well received by the representatives.

 

Heller suggested that the AAPT might want to link financial support to the sections based on the percentage of national members among their section members.  Leff stated that the poor linkage between the sections and the national organization must be addressed.  As an example of this, he said that the South California section had requested from the national office a list of AAPT national members within the section’s zip code area.  The information received was incomplete because the national members did not check the item allowing AAPT to release the information to other organizations.  He said that national members regard the sections as other organizations.  

 

Secretary’s Report.

a) Monroe reported that the Board had acted on two electronic motions sent during the interim between its August and October meetings.

  • Motion prepared by Dick Peterson and sent to Board members September 26, 2005:  I move that that the AAPT Executive Board approve the Senior Staff Physicist appointment of Charles H. Holbrow.  The appointment is for a half-time

            position for 10 months, running from October 2, 2005 through July 29, 2006,

with duties and compensation as described in the attached letter of

appointment (HolbrowApptLetter.doc) from Executive Officer Bernard Khoury.

The motion passed unanimously.

 

  • Motion prepared by Dick Peterson and sent to Board members September 27, 2005.  I move the Executive Board support the submission of an AAPT proposal to NSF for partial funding of the World Year of Physics Young Ambassadors Symposium from December 31, 2005 through January 4, 2006 in Taipei, Taiwan, with Warren Hein serving as AAPT's PI on the proposal.  The project summary, budget narrative, and full project description are attached to this electronic motion, subject to final editing.

The motion passed with a vote tally of 9 yes, 1 abstain, and one member not voting. 

 

b)  Monroe presented a status report concerning the Five-Year Review of AAPT publications.

  • The Five-Year Reviews of The Physics Teacher (TPT) and PSRC (Physical Sciences Resource Center) are currently in progress.  The Board heard a preliminary report from Patsy Ann Johnson explaining the delay in her committee’s review of the PSRC. In her report Johnson said that either she or Dan MacIsaac would present the final report to the Board during its meeting in Anchorage.  Monroe explained that she had not been able to confirm that the report would be ready by this time.

 

The review of TPT seemed to be progressing well and Monroe anticipated a complete report in January. 

 

  • In 2006, AAPT will be conducting its Five-Year Review of the American Journal of Physics.  Monroe will recommend to the Board by the time of its Anchorage meeting, the charge to the AJP review committee and a list of members to serve on the review committee. She asked Board members to recommend names of AAPT members to serve on this committee.

 

c)  The Fall elections end November 1.  Joe Meyer, AAPT Teller, reports the election results to the Secretary within a day or two of this deadline.  Monroe explained that she would report these to the Board after she had notified all candidates by phone.  However, she reminded Board members that the official announcement of the newly elected Board members would be made at the Winter Meeting.

 

d)  On a personal note, Monroe extended her thanks and appreciation to the Board members and staff for their expressions of support and encouragement during her stay in the hospital and the subsequent weeks she spent in recuperation.

 

During discussion of the report, D. Peterson inquired if the appointments to the area committees were proceeding as they should.  Monroe explained that the Nominating Committee was late in reporting their appointments to her and consequently Heller could not proceed with his appointments of chairs and third committee members.  Heller volunteered to contact the Chair of the Nominating Committee in an effort to move the appointment process forward.

 

Past President.

J. Nelson reported that recipients for the awards to be presented in Anchorage have been selected.  He also reported that area committee chairs have been reminded to submit their committees’ annual reports to the Review Board by December 1

 

Nelson then reported on the status of PTRA.  The PTRA grant submitted to the Texas Education Agency was awarded at half its requested amount.  The workshops will charge fees and sell manuals in order to cover the costs of the workshops.  Khoury commented that it would be nice if other states would fund PTRA activities. 

 

Vice President.

a)  H. Leff reported that the Alaska meeting will have some very good sessions.  However, he pointed out that we need more email announcements to stimulate participation.  C. Heimpel described some of the publicity for the meeting.   The visitors bureau in Anchorage made a brochure, which had been distributed through AAPT exhibits.  In addition the December issue of The Physics Teacher will have an article about the auroras.

 

b)  The Syracuse meeting in the Summer 2006 will have a special session cosponsored with the APS Forum on Education and the APS Division of Nuclear Physics. Leff explained that some proposed workshops were cut because the committee leaders did not abide to the constraints placed on the number of workshops.  The committee chairs did not prioritize workshops and submitted too many workshops.  Chabay said there was some confusion within area committees regarding the rationale for the new guidelines.  She felt the new guidelines should be discussed more. D. Peterson explained that the area committee Chairs are key players in this discussion since the new guidelines have been discussed during meetings of the Programs Committee.

 

Gibson pointed out that the guidelines are stated in the Chairs’ Handbook but that it took him some time to understand the information presented there.  D. Peterson acknowledged that the meeting guidelines may not be well stated in the handbook but he also felt that the guidelines need to be reiterated.  Heller described the instruction to the area committees as a continuing process since the system does not have a memory.  Information is not automatically passed on from a chair to his/her successor. Heimpel explained that the number of workshops and sessions allotted to each area committee was based on the committee’s history in sponsoring workshops and sessions. Heller stressed that the Program Chairs are really interested in the total number of workshops at a national meeting and not in micromanaging individual committees. 

 

Leff said one thought to address the problem was to limit the entries on the website per committee.  Gibson explained that some presenters submit workshops for an area committee without the knowledge of the area committee chairs.  Chabay opined that only area committee chairs should be allowed to submit workshops and paper sessions for meetings.  D. Peterson advised members of the Board to still encourage the submission of all workshops for Anchorage. 

 

Leff reported that the plenary sessions were not completely settled for Syracuse, but that he had alternates in mind if his preferences did not pan out. 

 

President Elect.

Heller asked Heimpel to report on the Summer meeting in Salt Lake City.  She reported an attendance of 1100, adding that she received good comments from the attendees concerning both the meeting and the facilities.  She had not received all the bills for the meeting and so was not able to report the cost of the meeting.  The Board congratulated Heimpel and her staff for a successful meeting. 

 

Hein explained that the DVDs containing the presentations by plenary speakers had been produced, but there had been some problems with the audio.  He is working to improve the presentation on the DVDs.  Hein asked Board advice concerning how the DVDs should be used and if the production should be repeated for future speakers.  Hein explained that AAPT had obtained permission from the speakers in Utah to show the DVDs to audiences.  Heller suggested putting the presentations on the AAPT website. R. Peterson said there was discussion within the Membership and Benefits Committee about using these as recruitments for new members.

 

President. D. Peterson had no report to make aside from his written report in the Board packet.  

 

5.  Budget for 2006.  D. Peterson reminded the Board that during this meeting it would consider and formally act on the Budget for 2006 presented in the Board packet.  This action was three months in advance of prior approvals by the Board.  He asked the Board in its deliberation to remember that we are in volatile times and that the Board has made some decisions within the past year that will impact the new budget.   He therefore described the review of the proposed budget as not being “business as usual”.

 

C. Robertson explained that the budget was prepared using the new software.  The Budget Committee (Nelson, Stone, Fran Smith, the Executive Officers, and Robertson) reviewed the budget during a two-hour conference call and again on Friday before the Board meeting.  Problems were identified and corrected.  The final version of the proposed budget for 2006 was distributed to Board members just prior to the Board meeting. 

 

In his description of the proposed budget, Robertson explained that the Operating Fund budget was pretty close to being balanced, the Designated Fund had more expenses than revenue, and the Reserve Fund budget was an estimate since it depends on the stock market during 2006.  The proposed budget does not report one-time expenses authorized by the Board in 2005, including $ 35K for the June 2006 Retreat and the eight-month salary for the Senior Staff Physicist.  Robertson explained that the 4% move from the long-term reserve (3% to the Operating Fund and 1% to the Klopsteg Fund) would cover these expenses. (See Executive Board Minutes, October 2004, Item 16. These percentages are applied to the 3-year running average of the undesignated long-term reserve) However, the 4% transfer was not included in the proposed budget.  D. Peterson added that the money allocated to the Executive Officer Search Committee would also come from the long-term reserve but funneled through the Klopsteg Fund. 

 

Chabay asked Robertson how the Board could tell if there were really a problem in the budget.  Robertson responded that a decrease in the long-term reserves indicates that the AAPT needs operating funds.  Hein also commented that the AAPT auditors advise the association if it is doing something wrong.  Chabay said that she understood that auditors told the organization if it is keeping good records, not if it has financial problems  Khoury explained that there are two areas of the budget the Board should consider.  The first addresses the integrity of the AAPT records, which is what the auditors check. The second area concerns how the association is doing financially, which is coupled with the external market.  Heller commented that within limits the AAPT should regulate its spending with the state of the external market.  Robertson explained that it was part of his job to predict the market and advise the Board on its spending.  In addition, he reviews monthly financial reports and flags unusual changes.

 

Hein pointed out the Comparative Balance Sheet included in the Board Packet (IIA) that provided a comparative summary of this year’s budget versus the budget this time last year.  The budget had increased by $1.5 million due to stock investments. However, Robertson pointed out that the AAPT lost $200 K in September due to the stock market. Gibson suggested that the budget should reflect if the AAPT funds are growing with the inflation rate.  Robertson said he would review the reports to determine if this is happening.

 

Khoury advised Board members to look at the investment accounts separately from the Operating Fund.  The AAPT has a fair amount of control over the Operating Fund and so the Board should expect this fund to be balanced.  If this fund stays in the red, the Board should be concerned.  He also reminded the Board that 3% would be transferred into the Operating Fund each year from the long-term reserve.

 

On behalf of the Budget Committee, Robertson moved that the Board approve the 2006 budget as proposed. Robertson reminded the Board that the funds for the Retreat and the 2006 salary for the Senior Staff Physicist would come from the 4% transfer (3% to the Operating Fund and 1% to Klopsteg) from the long-term reserve. The 4% transfer was not included in the income report and the two one-time expenses were not included in the expense report.  

 

Chabay asked why there was a big difference between the budgeted amount in 2005 and the actual amount in 2005.   Hein explained that the actual amount did not include expenses to put back TPT issues online. The budget does not predict unseen events, such as Sina Kniseley being out of the office for four months, resulting in less expense to the association.  Khoury also explained that grants are not spent as rapidly as anticipated. 

 

Tobochnik opined that the Budget Committee should have a five-year plot to show money coming in and the money to be paid out.  It is difficult to interpret year-to-date reports.  Hein commented that the Board should have faith in the Treasurer and the Budget Committee.  Chabay replied that if the Board is asked to look at the budget, then the Board members should have information they can understand.  It was agreed that the Budget Committee would use Tobochnik’s suggestion next year.

 

Gibson asked why the budget did not reflect the 4% transfer from the long-term reserve.  Hein said he thought the Board would understand this. Khoury advised that the 3% transfer should be in the Operating Fund since the budget is a guiding document.  Chabay therefore moved an amendment to the original motion stating that next year’s budget should reflect the 3% from the long-term reserve to the Operating Fund (previously approved by the Board) and the budget should reflect the one-time expenses. Roeder seconded the motion  Robertson commented that there could be some accounting items that needed to be discussed with F. Smith. The motion for amendment passed unanimously. 

 

D. Peterson then called for a vote on the original motion as amended.  This motion passed unanimously. 

 

Karl observed that every discussion of the budget produced the same questions. He asked if an explanation, such as an executive summary, could be attached to the budget so that the Board could understand the proposed budget.  Khoury responded that the staff could do this.  He also reminded the Board that in the preparation of the budget for 2006, the staff had three less months to prepare the budget as compared to previous budget preparation times. He added that the new software should facilitate the preparation of future budgets.  Khoury concluded by saying that he felt the Board requests were reasonable.  Heller suggested that the executive summary and graphs could be published in the Announcer.

 

6.  Revitalization of Winter Meetings.  In his comments introducing this agenda item, D. Peterson identified the specific questions to be addressed by the Board:  What plan will the Board present to Council regarding revitalization of Winter meetings?  What action will the Board take with regard to proposed regional meetings?   Does the Board want to establish a standing meetings committee (comprised of both AAPT staff and Board members)? D. Peterson thanked Leff, Chabay, and R. Peterson for their work in preparing the two options (IIB), which reflect the input they received.

 

Leff said that their original proposal that suggested a cycle of Winter, regional and topical meetings had met with some criticism from Board members.  He believed the criticism to be well founded.  Therefore a second option, Plan A, was developed. Leff said his own feeling was that Plan A was a much more workable solution and that it addressed all points discussed by the Board.  Plan A provided for supplemental regional meetings, which Leff said was really a different issue from revitalizing Winter meetings.  He explained that there was not really enough information available about regional meetings and advised that the Board should defer its decision regarding these smaller meetings.  Leff also suggested that the initiation of regional meetings should be discussed among section representatives and possibly others within AAPT.

 

Plan A proposed that AAPT rotate sites for the Winter meetings among four or five locations that have high population areas, such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Madison, San Diego, and Austin.  This idea proposed by Tom O’Kuma would help to attract more participation.  The Plan also provided for flexibility in the dates of the Winter meeting, thus allowing the dates to move into February or March.  This provision would help to solidify negotiations for joint meetings with other science organizations.  Leff pointed out that while the Council is not involved in general decisions regarding locations and dates, it does decide on recommendations of specific sites and dates. 

 

Plan A also included a provision for topical conferences, such as the topical conference in Syracuse proposed by Holbrow.  These conferences could precede or follow the regular national meetings.  Leff said there should not be mandatory attendance at both meetings.  He understood that registration for the PER Conferences is linked to registration for the AAPT Summer meetings, but he felt this was a different situation. Khoury suggested that AAPT could offer individual registrations for regular meetings and topical conferences as well a reduced rate for joint registration for both meetings.  D. Peterson added that he assumed the time period of 2.5 days for topical conferences was flexible, since in some instances 1.5 days would be sufficient.

 

Tobochnik said he liked the idea of topical conferences but expressed a concern that topical conferences held in tandem with regular meetings would make the meeting time too long, especially if we have workshops.  D. Peterson suggested that the regular meetings do not have to have workshops. He proposed incorporating topical conferences with the Winter meetings so that the meeting format would look very different from that of the Summer meeting.   The Summer meeting would have some events that the Winter meeting did not have.  Some Board members expressed concern that different formats for the national meetings might produce competition between workshops and topical conferences.  Tobochnik asked the Board to give more thought to the structure and timing of the topical conference since Winter meetings take faculty away from class time, making the length of the meeting a concern for participants. 

 

Discussion then turned to regional meetings.  Robertson asked if there were some regional/local physics organizations, such as PNACP (Pacific Northwest Association for College Physics), that would benefit from AAPT infusing some money into their meetings.  Roeder reported that in years past a regional meeting had been held in the northeast and Gibson also reported that Michigan had hosted a regional meeting.  Khoury stated that he viewed a regional meeting as a joint effort of two or more sections.  R. Peterson stated local section leadership could not organize and host regional meetings without the help of standing committees.  Khoury suggested that the AAPT could offer $5 K to three sections to help organize a regional meeting that would not involve AAPT staff.  However, he does not want such support to be perceived as an effort by the national organization to take over section meetings.  Robertson modified Khoury’s suggestion, saying that the national organization could provide help with the programs if the sections wanted this and possibly the support could be linked to area committees. 

 

Chabay stated that she felt the discussion concerning regional meetings was an important one as it caused the Board and staff to think about the needs of AAPT members and non-members that could be met by regional meetings.  A lot of people could be reached through this venue.  In addition the regional meetings would be developed with a commitment of additional resources.

 

Chabay went on to say that she felt that tacking on a topical conference to a Winter meeting sounded like a way to please old members and she was not quite sure what would be accomplished.  Leff explained that the meeting time for both the topical conference and the regular meeting would not necessarily be longer than the current time for the Winter meeting, as Tobochnik had indicated.  The shorter topical conference might attract a new group of people to AAPT meetings, as some people might not be able to attend the Winter meeting. 

 

Roeder asked if AAPT had conducted a survey of non-attendees.  Val Evans reported that some work had been done.  The people had indicated that the costs of attending the meetings and the timing of the meetings were among the reasons cited for not attending the meetings.  Chabay commented that she did not think the survey was given to people that AAPT is trying to reach.  Evans explained that the survey was to non-members who had some type of connection to AAPT.

 

Returning to the topic of regional meetings, C. Holbrow opined that the AAPT would want to have some input into the programs of these meetings.  He suggested that the proposed meetings committee should work with the local organizing committees for the regional meetings. Tobochnik suggested that the AAPT possibly should establish a speakers’ bureau, like the one APS has. 

 

Heller expressed that the important issue for the Board to consider was not Winter meetings, but the reasons why members join AAPT.  Regional meetings and section meetings are a grass roots contact.  The national AAPT needs to expand its local organizations’ connection to the national meetings.  The AAPT should have membership drives or else it will be a dead organization in a few years.  The AAPT should free up resources of benefit to the larger community.  Tobochnik commented that currently the AAPT membership is so tied to journals that it is hard for people from outside the physics community to join.  For example the AAPT should be #1 on the radar screen for teaching standards for every legislator.  Gibson stated that some of this was coming from the sections.  His section has a member on the teacher standards committee, but the faculty from the University of Michigan do not attend the section meetings.

 

Evans explained that the surveys to members and non-members showed that people want what Tobochnik had suggested.  She added that the AAPT programs attract new members but the AAPT benefits do not convince them to keep their membership.  For example the meetings of the area committees are consumed with program planning, not substantive discussions.

 

Heller opined that the AAPT should make the Winter meetings more flexible, such as meeting dates.  It was not clear to him if the rotation cycle would work.  However, he felt that if the organizers have flexibility in their planning, then the AAPT could make the cycle work on the long term.  He proposed that the organizers be given a three-month window for meeting dates. 

 

Leff asked the Board to discuss the item in the proposal addressing the crowding of sessions, which does not allow for free networking time among the participants.  Item 3 in Plan A proposed a limit on oral presentations and an increase in the number of posters. Leff explained that one way to impose this limit was to link oral presentations with the call for papers.  Heller did not like this suggestion, saying that the call for papers did not necessarily reflect what was hot in the intellectual community. 

 

D. Peterson then directed Board discussion to the proposal to create a meetings committee.  He explained that the committee would be akin to the AAPT Publications Committee.  Such a  committee would have leaders with longer terms than current Program Chairs and possibly even one member would receive a stipend.  Currently Program Chairs change every two years. 

 

Nelson expressed strong support for the creation of the meetings committee.  Chabay expressed that she would like for such a committee to educate area committee chairs.  She said that during meetings of the area committees, the members bombard the chairs with things they want presented.  She suggested that a meetings committee could train the chairs in leadership and management.  Heller inquired if the chairs could be the meetings committee.  D. Peterson said the turnover of these was very quick.

 

D. Peterson asked the Board if they wanted to create a meetings committee.  Board members indicated that they wanted such a committee, but some confusion was expressed regarding whether or not such a committee could be established without a specific charge.

 

Tobochnik  suggested that the meetings committee could also oversee the logistical planning for topical conferences.  Khoury pointed out that the AAPT has a history of successful topical conferences. However he felt that attaching the topical conferences to the Winter meetings might be an effort to “fix” the Winter meetings, which he described as problematic.  Chabay said that only one or two people are needed to lead the topical conference. The model for topical conferences would be really different from the regular meetings.  Monroe suggested that the meetings committee could oversee with a longer and broader vision all AAPT meetings and how they tie together, but steering committees could be the developers of topical conferences, such as the two-year college physics conference held in 1989.  Robertson then asked if the meetings committee would solicit proposals for topical conferences.  A number of Board members said yes.

 

Holbrow summarized the discussion saying that the meetings committee should be given an educational hunting license and the committee should find people to organize the topical conferences.  The meetings committee could seek input from the area committees. Holbrow explained that when he accepted the appointment of Staff Physicist he accepted the charge to generate topical conferences of interest to 4U physics faculty.  Examples that he was pursuing included a conference to bring engineering and physics faculty together to review PER findings, a conference for R1 universities to exchange information regarding innovations each has implemented, and a conference proposed for Syracuse which will provide strategies for introducing physics research findings into contemporary undergraduate education. 

 

Hein expressed that a committee on meetings would be helpful in long-term planning and serving as an as an intermediary with physics departments at meetings sites.  He expressed a strong need for such a committee and said the committee could improve the meetings as they currently exist. 

 

In response to a suggestion by Heller, the Board listed the following reasons why the AAPT has Winter meetings.  It provides an opportunity for a subset of physics faculty to get together to exchange ideas.  This subset believes twice a year is the right frequency.  The Winter meeting is the time for business to be conducted. Awards and prizes are presented during this meeting that, due to time limitations, could not be presented during  the Summer meeting.  The Winter meeting expands the AAPT outreach by meeting in a different location of the country from the Summer meeting. 

 

Holbrow said the two meetings define the active component of the organization.  If the AAPT does away with one meeting then we affect the membership who are a reason for our meetings.  One meeting a year will not sustain this active component.  Holbrow added that the APS members also rely on other physics meetings besides the APS division meeting.

 

Heller commented that we need to understand the core reason for having two meeting a year.  He alluded to emails from O’Kuma and Monroe to the Board that said we should first determine why we have meetings before we try to fix them. 

 

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