Steven Turley 2013 Election Bio

R. Steven Turley

2013 National Executive Board Election Candidate for Treasurer

R. Steven Turley

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602


Ph.D., Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1984)
B.S., Physics, Brigham Young University (1978), Summa Cum Laude, University Scholar

Professional Experience

  • Professor of Physics (2001-present), Brigham Young University
  • Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education (2003-2008)
  • Chair, Department of Physics and Astronomy (2000-2003)
  • Associate Professor of Physics (1995-2001)
  • Senior Research Staff Physicist, Hughes Research Laboratories (1976-1995)

National AAPT Activities

  • Committee on Graduate Education, Member 2007-2009, Chair 2008-2009
  • Committee on Undergraduate Education, Member 2001-2006, Chair 2002-2004
  • Nominating Committee, 2010-2011 (Chair, 2011)
  • Chair of Ad Hoc Physics Resource Letters Review Committee (abt 2005)
  • Distinguished Service Award, 2011

Other Professional Activities and Honors

  • American Physical Society
        Member, Committee on Education, 2012 - Present
        Member, Forum on Education
        Acting Chair, Four Corners Section Meeting, 1998
  • National Physics REU Leadership Group, Member 2008-present, Chair 2012
  • Advisory Board, Physics REU Site Directors Conference
  • Advisory Board, National Physics New Faculty Workshop, ~2000-present
  • Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
        Webmaster, Board Member, 2009-present
        President, 2007-2009
        Chair, Division of Physics Sciences, 2001-2005
  • Associate Affiliate Director, Utah Space Grant Consortium, 2005-present
  • Karl G. Maeser General Education Professorship, Brigham Young University
  • Alcuin Teaching Fellowship, Brigham Young University
  • Hughes Doctoral Fellowship


AAPT is heading out of a difficult financial time.  It will take continued careful oversight by the Executive Board and careful management by the National Office to avoid similar difficulties in the future.  I have been an active member at the national and local level of AAPT since beginning my teaching career.  With my strong personal interest in the organization, I will help AAPT continue to be a viable leader in promoting, sustaining, and advancing physics education.  I believe I could make a significant contribution as AAPT Treasurer.

My experience as chair of a Physics Department with 32 full-time faculty, associated staff and 360 physics majors has given me organizational and budget experience which will be helpful in this position.  I refined that experience as president of the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters; as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education at BYU; and as PI on educational, mentoring, and research grants.  Through these experiences, I’ve learned the importance of careful financial oversight to accomplish the goals of technical organizations.

One of the strengths and challenges of AAPT is its diverse membership.  We welcome K-12 teachers, teachers from two year colleges, teachers from primarily undergraduate institutions, teachers from graduate institutions, and retirees.  We have both a thriving and active Physics Education Research community and a group who are interested in keeping abreast of teaching innovations, but not formally involved in education research.  As an Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education, I learned to bring together groups from across our campus with diverse interests. As an Executive Board member I believe I could likewise help AAPT remain an organization where all of us with an involvement in physics teaching can find a place where our interests are represented and promoted.

There are a number of upcoming issues central to the operation of AAPT which involve financial issues:

  • We need to find ways to make our national meetings affordable with continued high quality.
  • AAPT journals are an important avenue for disseminating research on improving our teaching and also a significant source of revenue.  With increasing pressure for open access publications, we need to find creative solutions to maintain avenues for quality, peer-reviewed publications and covering AAPT operating costs.
  • AAPT awards are good ways to promote and recognize outstanding individuals and activities making significant contributions to physics education.  Since these awards are generally funded by endowment income, we need to continue to expand funding for these awards and carefully manage our current endowments.
  • We have been seeing a slight decline in membership in AAPT recently.  Some of the ways to promote new membership might involve new introductory financial incentives to join AAPT or new classes of membership.
  • There are increasing opportunities for AAPT to promote projects which further particular aims of AAPT.

As Treasurer, I will help the Executive Board find ways to approach each of these issues which will ensure that AAPT continues its role as an influential leader in physics education.