2008 Area Committee Reports Archive

AAPT Committee on Apparatus - 2008 Annual Report


The focus of the Apparatus Committee is instructional apparatus used for teaching physics. We acquire and transfer the associated knowledge so practitioners may implement the apparatus in the physics laboratory, lecture classroom, and physics outreach events. We sponsor numerous competitions, workshops, paper and poster sessions, and cracker-barrels in pursuit of our mission.


Summer 2008 Meeting, Edmonton

  • The Apparatus Committee traditionally sponsors several annual events at the summer meetings that are designed to share the extensive knowledge of AAPT's (and PIRA's) laboratory and lecture demonstration experts. They impart their knowledge to the AAPT members many of whose jobs require them to teach labs, use lecture demonstrations in their teaching, and in some cases manage these operations and the associated facilities themselves. The dedication of the presenting groups has been remarkable over the years. The subject matter is relatively timeless, since new members always need to learn these skills and long time members often need to refresh their curricula.
  • The PIRA Resource Room has become legendary at the AAPT Summer Meeting. Each year, we strive to improve this tremendous resource. The Resource Room is not simply a place to 'get free stuff', but has instead become a hotbed of idea sharing, networking, and meeting the AAPT membership.
  • Although the Lecture Demonstration I and II workshops are sponsored by AAPT, the Apparatus Committee is compelled to report on them. Attendance this year was historically low, presumably due to the high cost of traveling to Edmonton. The cost of these two workshops is unreasonably high ($145/member). We expect to offer these at much lower cost this year. Participant evaluations were outstanding.
  • The series of Laboratories Workshops also had a low turn out (6 presenters, 6 attendees) as well as a high rate of participant satisfaction. Attendees had the opportunity to speak with presenters, gain hands on experience with the equipment, and actually take data.
  • The Photon Quantum Mechanical Labs workshop had 9 attendees. Again, cost ($65) seems to be an issue when compared to workshop materials expenses ($16).
    The committee (co)sponsored 4 paper sessions. Two sessions which mixed disciplines (Physics Demonstrations with a Biological Flavor and Physics and the Performing Arts) drew large audiences, elicited endless questions, and left us stretching our imaginations.

Winter 2008 Meeting, Baltimore

  • 'Franklin and Electrostatics' workshop. This drew 20 participants and it was a fantastic time of year to do electrostatics! Registrants each took home a brand new piece of apparatus. Participants constructed their own Elihu-Thompson Coil (PIRA 5K20.30). Questions arising during these two sessions illustrate the dire need for physics teachers to gain hands on experience with apparatus, especially construction and troubleshooting these types of devices.
  • 'Laboratories with Biomedical Applications' workshop. This was so well received, the committee is considering expanding it to two workshop sessions – one for introductory biophysics labs; the other for advanced.
  • Crackerbarrels: Instructional Apparatus; Professional Concerns of Instructional Resource Specialists.

The chair challenged the 14 friends and 7 members during the Summer Meeting to develop a long term high impact project. Our brainstorming session fleshed out 7 otential projects with a broad range. We continue to refine these ideas through e-mail and phone correspondence, and plan to adopt a project during the 2009 Winter Meeting.

The Apparatus Committee plays an important role in the very positive interface between PIRA and the broader AAPT. We recognize that both organizations profit from this relationship, and we hope for an even stronger AAPT/PIRA interaction in the future.

Submitted by Sam Sampere, Chair

Review Board Comments:

The Committee on Apparatus continues to be actively involved in many areas of AAPT through their sharing of instructional apparatus for all practitioners. Their long standing relationship with PIRA has added excitement as well as a service to the physics community, and sponsorship of the Apparatus Competition, the Demonstration Show and the PIRA Resource Room are major parts of each meeting. Their sessions and workshops are well attended and popular among the members, and their willingness to continue providing the Lecture Demonstration Workshop I and II is much appreciated. The chair’s idea to brainstorm potential projects is admirable, and it is hoped that some of those will be fleshed out during the upcoming year. The issue of cost is a concern to many participants and will be passed on to the Executive Board for study. The Committee should consider ways it might serve the many AAPT members who are unable to attend semi-annual meetings.

To top

AAPT Committee on Interests of Senior Physicists (CISP) - 2008 Annual Report

Background for 2008

During 2007 CISP became a permanent AAPT Area Committee under the leadership of Dick Jacob (along with several others during its period as a temporary committee). In the process of achieving permanent status, the mission statement of CISP was also clearly articulated and endorsed by the AAPT Executive Board. Prior to the January 2008 Baltimore winter meeting, Dick Jacob needed to step down as CISP chair, and Dick P. agreed to serve as Acting Chair.

Activities/Accomplishments in Winter 2008 – Baltimore

While there was broad support for continuing to support the summer meeting "Retirees Breakfast," no plans for CISP sponsored sessions at the Edmonton meeting were on the table. On the other hand, 13 members and friends of CISP in Baltimore participated in an active discussion on topics that included:

Chicago Winter Meeting and Ann Arbor Summer Meeting session options:

  • Chicago and the Manhattan Project - Met Lab (eventually to be cosponsored with somewhat revised goals with WiP), & a possible session dealing with the impact of the University of Chicago on the teaching of physics (eventually this option was withdrawn).
  • Following electronic communication from our Baltimore meeting, Tom Rossing suggested the Chicago venue should naturally encourage a session celebrating the regional and national impact of the Illinois State Physics Project (ISPP). With big help from Chris Chiaverina and Jim Hicks, this has materialized on the Chicago program.
  • Ann Arbor suggestions included a memorial session dedicated to the physics and physics teaching of Dick Crane, and a possible session reviewing the impact of the U. of Michigan Summer Schools for Theoretical Physics.

At Baltimore it was suggested we take all possible steps to increase the amount and visibility of physics content at national meetings. It was suggested that communication regarding this goal could be assisted by having present AAPT leaders at Program Chair level visit a future CISP meeting and discuss current efforts. See also below.

There was agreement at Baltimore that a visit by current AJP editors to a CISP meeting might provide a useful airing of the editorial challenges for this AAPT journal and the authors that are currently inclined to submit papers. How can the journal better meet the need for broader papers dealing with the historical and cultural aspects of physics – and somewhat less on theoretical papers at very advanced undergraduate level?

Activities/Accomplishments in Summer 2008 Edmonton

After a review of sessions to be sponsored in Chicago and Ann Arbor, the following issues were raised:

In response to Chiaverina's challenge to CISP to bring the names of good candidates to the nominating committee, there was strong consensus that the mission of CISP can be furthered by continuing to broaden its membership to better represent the interests of the full breadth of senior teaching physicists (high school through university levels).

In response to the Baltimore discussion noted above, Program Chair David Cook was now able to be present and expressed strong interest in continuing that discussion regarding steps to enhance the amount of physics at our national meetings. For posters, presentations, and hybrid sessions there may be steps that can be taken to better organize and focus the physics present and make it more visible. Given time limitations at Edmonton, it was agreed that considerable time should be allotted on coming CISP agendas to address practical steps that could be taken to make some progress on this problem.

In this case CISP served as an impromptu sounding board for Awards Chair Harvey Leff who was working on the details of a posthumous Oersted award session for Enrico Fermi at Chicago. Several possible speakers and resources surfaced in that discussion, and it was noted that physics teachers would most profit if they leave such a session with physics knowledge and historical detail that will impact their students.

Under Jacob's leadership in 2007, there was discussion of a "clearinghouse" for effective and rewarding physics teaching activities of those in retirement – including lecturing or research on a new turf, teaching in developing countries or other international venues, service in volunteer organizations, etc. This would allow members approaching retirement to find ideas and data on contacts and the processes for initiating such involvement.

Summary and Goals for 2009

So while this has been a year engaging temporary leadership of CISP, it has also been a year for better articulating some specific CISP tasks, concerns, and goals for the future. Now the harder part lays ahead, and electronic CISP communication in late 2008 – plus 2009 agendas for meetings in Chicago and Ann Arbor - will try to put some teeth into action steps for addressing several of the above concerns noted at both Baltimore and Edmonton.

Submitted by Dick Peterson, Acting Chair

Review Board Comments:

The Committee on Interests of Senior Physicists is the newest permanent AAPT area committee and has great potential. The consensus reached in Edmonton to broaden the membership to better serve the interests of the full breath of senior teaching physicists will lend to a stronger committee.

One goal the Committee has worked on is to increase the “physics content” at the National Meetings. With the present system of relying on volunteers from the area committees to organize the sessions, it will take a well thought out, prolonged effort to have a lasting effect on the program. CISP does have the member and friends with the experience and knowledge to carry out these efforts if it becomes a priority. It is recommended the Committee continue working through the Program Chair if these changes are desired.

The idea of creating a “clearinghouse” for effective and rewarding physics teaching activities for those in retirement could be very useful to many of our members. CISP is encouraged to pursue this idea further, and make recommendations to the Executive Board.

The planned sessions for 2009 sound excellent. A reminder the memorial sessions should get approval of the Executive Board. This might already be in the works. Consistent with the "clearinghouse" idea, the Committee should consider other ways it might serve the many AAPT members who are unable to attend semi-annual meetings.

To top

AAPT Committee on Educational Technologies - 2008 Annual Report

2008 Goals-Progress

The CET identifies, communicates and promotes new developments in educational technology and their applications to physics teaching. This is done primarily through sponsoring sessions, workshops, tutorials and operating the two competitions. During 2008, the CET sponsored 11 sessions, 5 workshops as well as cosponsoring 5 workshops. The photo and video contests were both held during the summer meeting.

2009 Goals

The CET continues to look for innovative and effective ways to use technology in the physics classroom. We are attempting a new workshop format at the summer meeting in Ann Arbor in an attempt to reach out to high school physics teachers who typically attend few workshops due to budget constraints. We are also working with the RiPE committee to bring results from research on the effectiveness of educational technologies.

Long Term Goals

The CET will continue to bring cutting edge technological applications in the physics classroom to the members of AAPT through its session and workshop offerings. We plan to bring in more invited speakers for the newest topics. We also wish to continue working with other committees in cosponsoring important sessions and workshops.

2008 Committee Meetings and Communications

The CET met at both the winter and summer meetings, with the highest attendance at the summer meetings. The CET continues to have a consistent group of friends in attendance who help bring in new ideas and offer to help with sessions. Between meetings, some decisions were made via e-mails.

Sessions and Workshops at the W 2008 and S 2008 meetings

At both the winter and summer meetings, several of our proposed sessions were merged due to a lack of papers. Our committee believes this is due to the newness of the technologies and that making more of these sessions invited/contributed will take care of the problem. Our sessions continue to be well attended, with an average of 35-50 and great audience participation. Workshops are also well attended with an average attendance ranging from 15-25. Evaluations from participants have been very positive.

Other Committee Activities and Accomplishments

The CET continues to sponsor the photo and video contests. The photo contest continues to grow, with discussion this summer of starting a new category because of highly edited entries. Thanks to Mary Winn for all her work with this contest. The video contest had a small number of entries this summer, but they were of high quality. The CET needs to help boost the entries to keep this a viable contest. Thanks to Trina Cannon for all her work with this contest.

Notable New Ideas Generated by the Committee

Our newest idea, which was generated by friend of the committee, Wolfgang Christian, will debut at the S 2009 meeting. It is a new workshop format that will allow participants to select 4 out of 8 popular workshop tutorials over a single workshop day. They will then go home with the materials for all 8 workshop topics.

Submitted by Michelle Strand

Review Board Comments:

The Committee on Educational Technology continues to be actively involved in sharing cutting edge educational technology with our members through its many sessions and workshops. The co-sponsored photo and video contests have become popular events at AAPT meetings and draw larger numbers of participants each year, and their cooperation with the RIPE Committee to provide the results of research on new technologies is admirable.

The proposed new format for Ann Arbor is an exciting experiment that will allow members to experience several different workshops for the price of one full day workshop, and their idea of involving more speakers in the future will enhance their ability to attract more members to their sessions. The Committee had no recommendations for the Executive Board.

The Committee should consider ways it might serve the many AAPT members who are unable to attend semi-annual meetings.

To top

AAPT Committee on Graduate Education - 2008 Annual Report

In response to a recommendation of the 2006 joint report of the AAPT-APS Task Force on Graduate Education in Physics, we co-sponsored a conference on "Graduate Education in Physics: Which way forward?" It was held at the American Center for Physics in College Park, MD January 31-February 2, 2008. The organizing committee consisted of Janet Tate (APS Committee on Education), Ted Hodapp (APS), Chandralekha Singh (APS Committee on Education), and Michael Thoennessen (AAPT Committee on Graduate Education). The conference was well attended, with 70 Directors of Graduate Studies from PhD-granting institutions from across the nation. An important highlight was the active involvement of Tracey Wellington, Arlene Ford, and Amber Stuver from the APS Forum on Graduate Student Affairs. Some of the topics covered in the conference were the graduate curriculum, preparation for non-academic careers, TA training, ethics, comprehensive exams, departmental climate, mentoring and advising, minority representation.

One continuing concern of our committee is the lack of involvement of graduate students in our committee and in AAPT in general. We are hoping to find a graduate student to be involved as a committee member and have discussed how to plan our conference programs to be appealing to graduate students. One idea we are implementing for the Ann Arbor meeting next year is to invite local graduate students to explain their research in a short talk to high school physics teachers. This is an outgrowth of a session called "Cutting-Edge Physics Research in Simple English" we tried in 2007 which didn't work very well because of the short notice. The idea there was to ask the students to prepare a talk they could give to a taxi driver on the way to the airport about why their research was important. The Committee on Physics in High Schools was excited about the idea both as a way to encourage graduate students to be able to speak about their research to a broader audience, but also as a way to help high school teachers keep up-to-date with the latest advances in physics research.

Another idea we had was to entice graduate students to attend national meetings with a special registration and/or membership offer. This would not only improve our graduate student attendance at the meeting, but also serve as a nice recruitment for future AAPT members.

We have continued to organize "hot topics" sessions at our annual meetings in an effort to increase the amount of physics content in the meetings. We believe that this effort is essential to make our meeting inviting to graduate physics faculty. The session on Geophysics at the Calgary meeting was well attended and had excellent presentations. We have similar sessions planned for Chicago and Ann Arbor.

An issue we will address in the coming year is assembling best practice for instruction in graduate courses. Most of the physics education research we are aware of has focused on introductory physics courses, with a growing amount of research on upper-division courses. We would like to highlight best practices for effective teaching in graduate courses and encourage increased research in this area.

Submitted by Steve Turley, Chair

Review Board Comments:

The Committee on Graduate Education demonstrates a strong dedication to improving graduation education through its co-sponsorship of the highly successful conference on “Graduate Education in Physics: Which way forward?”, and the APS Forum on Graduate Student Affairs has expressed an interest in working more closely with AAPT in the future to bring graduate students and professors together. The Committee’s concern over the lack of graduate student participation at AAPT meetings could be addressed by advanced advertisements in local universities, not only about upcoming meetings, but also about AAPT’s greatly reduced graduate student membership dues and registration fees. It is also recommended that the committee pursue future collaboration with the Undergraduate Education Committee in student preparation for graduate school, regarding both curricular and extra-curricular activities, such as upper level course requirements and GRE preparation. The proposed session in Ann Arbor is a step in the right direction. Continuation of the “hot topics” sessions is very important in increasing the amount of physics content in the meetings, and the proposal of sessions on best practices will attract higher attendance in their sessions. The committee had no recommendations for the Executive Board. Finally, the Committee should consider ways it might serve the many AAPT members who are unable to attend semi-annual meetings.

To top

AAPT Committee on Physics in High Schools - 2008 Annual Report

The high school committee has continued in its efforts to attract quality workshops and sessions to appeal to high school teachers attending the summer and winter meetings. A concerted effort was made this past year to work with the Teacher Prep and Research in Physics Education committees to coordinate session and workshop offerings that would be beneficial to each of the committees' constituents. Chairs for the three committees met together in Edmonton and have been in email contact with one another while planning for the Ann Arbor meeting in July 2009. It is our hope that this cooperation will maximize each committees' offerings.

The high school committee has continued to work on revising a document originally published by the AAPT in the 1980's on "The Role, Education and Qualifications of a High School Physics Teacher". A new document titled "The Role, Education, Qualifications and Professional Development of a Secondary School Physics Teacher" has been developed by a team of members representing the high school and teacher prep committees. This document is currently in the final stages of development. Discussions with teacher prep and RiPE committees have resulted in the development of a shorter document on the qualifications of such a teacher with the hope that this shorter document be distributed to school administrators seeking guidance in the hiring process. This document is also in the final stages of development and will seek the support of the high school, teacher prep and research in Physics Education committees in addition to support from the APS before being sent to the Executive Board for inclusion as an AAPT policy statement.

Another current project of the high school committee is to review and revise a current AAPT document on the role of the lab in high school physics. An active group has been recruited to expand the scope of the document to highlight active learning activities. The group plans to have preliminary work available for review at the Chicago meeting. Another project is currently underway dealing with teachers planning lessons based on state or national standards. The group plans to try and establish a site of standards based lesson plans for teachers to use.

The high school committee has been an ongoing sponsor of the High School Photo Contest, High School video contest and High School Teaching Grant. The Photo contest has been quite successful and this year reached a new record for submissions, problems with the display of photos at meetings are a concern of the committee. The video contest has demonstrated some problems, few submissions have been received the last few years and scheduling time for judging has been difficult (or non-existent) the past few years. There is a need to revisit the contest and try to overcome these problems. The committee has asked that the High School Teaching Grant program be widely advertised, we have received some excellent proposals the last few years, but hope to increase the participation level.

A new initiative of the committee is to seek the assistance of the association in using retired teachers as mentors for early career high school physics teachers. It is the belief of the committee that the association sponsorship of such a program would enhance its value and the retired teachers could approach interested schools with the full backing of the association. A group of teachers are planning to begin a feasibility study on this issue.

Submitted by Patrick Callahan, Chair

Review Board Comments:

The Committee on Physics in High Schools is commended for the scope of their ongoing projects and their value to the AAPT membership. Its involvement at AAPT meetings includes some of the more popular events that enhance the quality of the meetings. The committee’s cooperation with related committees in planning workshops is good. Its continued collaboration provides a model for other committees.

The Executive Board looks forward to seeing the documents arising from the projects listed in the report and the corresponding recommendations thereof. We certainly support the use of retired teachers as mentors of early career teachers. This might help enhance the retention of qualified high school teachers. A possible future project could include collaboration with the pre-high school and undergraduate committees regarding recommendations for curriculum coordination and easing the transition between these levels in physics and science education. We acknowledge that the information on the High School Teaching Grant should be posted or linked on the AAPT Web site. Along these lines, the Committee should consider ways it might serve the many AAPT members who are unable to attend semi-annual meetings.

To top

AAPT Committee on the History and Philosophy of Physics - 2008 Annual Report

Goals of the Committee

Each year we endeavor to fulfill the overall goal of the committee: to bring historical and philosophical aspects of physics to the membership of the AAPT. Success depends on the particular interests of the members and friends of the committee.

  • This year, as has been true for several years, there was no one to speak for the philosophical side of our charge, and we had no sessions devoted to this. If members of the AAPT are interested in this aspect of physics, they should volunteer for service on the committee and attend its meetings.
  • Despite the presence of high school physics teachers on the committee, we have never really addressed the problem of introducing history into the secondary school curriculum. We might start on this by planning a cracker barrel session at the Washington meeting on using history as a natural part of these courses.
  • We would hope to sponsor an occasional plenary session on the history and philosophy of physics.

Activities of the Committee

  • HPP seems to come to life only at the Winter and Summer national meetings of the AAPT. The winter committee meeting was well-attended by members, but the summer meeting saw only two of us. Fortunately, we have enough friends of the committee to conduct our business. I wonder how many people will come to a 7 A.M. committee meeting at Chicago?
  • We were able to sponsor a session of three invited papers and a workshop at each of the two meetings this year. The workshops were full and the sessions had fifty to eighty people in the audience. We will have no presence at the Chicago meeting, but have full sessions of invited papers and workshops all set for the two meetings after that.


Let me repeat a recommendation that I made last year. The members and friends of the committee are well-positioned to give talks at section meetings and departmental seminars. The same is certainly true for others in the organization. I recommend that the AAPT set up a list of speakers, probably self-nominated, who are available to speak, along with their topics. Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi do this – why not the AAPT? The information would be carried on the association's web-site. This would parallel an earlier effort to maintain a list of candidates to do departmental reviews.

Submitted by Thomas B. Greenslade, Jr., Chair

Review Board Comments:

The Committee on History and Philosophy of Physics recognizes the importance as well as the difficulty of bringing historical and philosophical aspects of physics to our members. Members and friends of the committee might use their time between meetings to pursue individuals to speak on the philosophical aspects and the teaching of the history of physics in high school. Their proposed session in Washington is a logical first step. History and Philosophy sessions and workshops are always popular and well attended, and the suggestion of more plenary speakers in these areas will be passed on to the program chair for future meetings. The Executive Board is giving serious consideration to the idea of an AAPT Speakers List with topics available to the physics community, in line with the Committee's good recommendation. Finally, the Committee should consider ways it might serve the many AAPT members who are unable to attend semi-annual meetings.

To top

AAPT Committee on International Physics Education - 2008 Annual Report


  • The main goal of the Committee on International Education is to support its mission of connecting AAPT members with physics-related activities and physics teachers from around the world. Our activities to reach that goal included sponsoring topical sessions, organizing social gatherings, participating in international activities, announcing international conferences, and providing information and assistance to our international colleagues when needed.
  • The committee continued to sponsor "Physics Teaching Around the World" sessions at both AAPT national meetings. A new sponsored session "Physics Education Research Around the World" was established during the summer 2008 meeting and both sessions are currently being organized for the Winter and Summer meetings in 2009. In both meetings in 2008, we had an international breakfast which gathered members and friends of the committee with international attendees. Several members and friends of the committee participated on international activities which were reported in the meeting minutes. One of the past committee chairs, Don Franklin, was in Monterey, Mexico to support the initiative to form a Mexican section of the AAPT. The initiative, with the support of the committee, is currently succeeding. The section is having their first meeting during the second weekend of December 2008.
  • The 2009 goals are to consolidate the sponsored sessions of the committee: Physics Teaching Around the World and Physics Education Research Around the World which both have attracted a good audience in 2008, to help international sections to reach their goals, to foster the formation of more international sections and to continue pursuing goals not fully achieved.
  • Our main long-range goal is to help AAPT to be an Association with strong presence in all the countries and with members participating in international activities related to Physics Education.

Activities/Accomplishments in 2008

  • Committee meetings and communications. During 2008 we maintained communication through our list of members and friends. Also we had our committee meetings during the AAPT winter and summer meetings gathering the members of the committee and a good number of friends counting a total of 18 persons during the Winter meeting and 21 persons during the Summer meeting.
  • Sessions. In the AAPT Winter meeting we had one sponsored session: Teaching Physics Around the World. During the AAPT summer meeting we had two sponsored sessions Teaching Physics Around the World (TPAW) and Physics Education Research Around the World (PER-AW) both of them being a success measured by the number of people attending the sessions (about 20 attended TPAW and around 30 attended PER-AW), and the number and the quality of the questions which promoted very thoughtful discussion. In those sessions, we had speakers from South Africa, China, Portugal, United States, Chile, Israel, Korea and Sweden.
  • Other committee activities. Lei Bao is working on the list of international contacts. Gordon Ramsey announced that the AAPT is working on the web based journal access for underdeveloped countries, an activity proposed by our committee. Mexican section of the AAPT will apply to be recognized by the AAPT during the Winter meeting 2009.

Submitted by Genaro Zavala, Chair

Review Board Comments:

The main goal of the Committee on International Education is clear and well written. The session “Physics Teaching Around the World” and now “Physics Education Research Around the World” at the National Meetings are an important outreach to the International community for AAPT. The early reports concerning the meeting to form an AAPT section in Mexico are encouraging. We look forward to the full report at the Chicago meeting.

As AAPT increases its efforts for more outreach and members, the Executive Board would like to receive more suggestions and guidance from the International Committee. Perhaps the committee could establish some short and long term action goals the Executive Board could consider in better serving its International members. Additionally, the Committee should consider ways it might serve the many AAPT members and wider international audience of physics teachers who are unable to attend semi-annual meetings. Are there ways to utilize the AAPT or comPADRE web sites?

To top

AAPT Committee on Laboratories - 2008 Annual Report


  • Goals for 2008. These include identification of workshops and paper sessions to be sponsored or co-sponsored by the Committee on Laboratories. A total of six workshops and five paper sessions were offered at the Winter 2008 and Summer 2008 meetings.
    The Committee worked with the following five Area Committees to sponsor or co-sponsor those workshops and paper sessions: Apparatus, Graduate Education in Physics, Physics in High Schools, Physics in Undergraduate Education, and Teacher Preparation.
  • Goals for 2009. These include identification of workshops and paper sessions to be sponsored or co-sponsored by the Committee on Laboratories. Two Invited/Poster sessions to be sponsored by the Committee are planned for the Winter 2009 meeting in Chicago. One paper session and one workshop to be sponsored by the Committee are planned for the Summer 2009 meeting in Ann Arbor.
  • Long range goals. Offering of workshops and sessions that focus on what we teach rather than how we teach, in particular, advanced labs topics and projects.

Activities/Accomplishments in 2008

  • Committee meetings and communications. E-mail correspondence with members and friends of the Committee to produce final versions of meeting agendas and of minutes for the meetings.
  • Friends of the Committee continue to play an important role in Committee activities. In 2008 a total of 15 friends of the Committee attended the winter and summer meetings.

Winter 2008 meeting in Baltimore

  • Teacher Assistant Training Workshop had 8 participants and a lively and interesting discussion
  • Biomedical Laboratories Workshop had 16 enthusiastic participants
  • Labs in Physics First Session had good attendance and was well received
  • Cracker-barrel: Preparing K-12 Teachers inspired a good good discussion

Summer 2008 meeting in Edmonton

  • Falsification Labs went well, with 19 attendees
  • The Future of the Upper Division Lab Experience also went well, despite the fact that 2 of the papers (including an invited paper) were not well related to upper division abs.

Other Committee activities and accomplishments

There was a discussion at the Summer 2008 Committee meeting in Edmonton about the Advanced Labs Topical Conference to be held prior to the Summer 2009 AAPT meeting in Ann Arbor. Committee members were encouraged to make their colleagues aware of that topical conference. Possible related sessions to be sponsored by the Committee for the Summer 2009 meeting in Ann Arbor were considered.

Submitted by James Mallmann, Chair

Review Board Comments:

The Committee on Laboratories has offered timely workshops and interesting sessions at the National Meetings. The Committee has worked well with other area committees to accomplish this.

We would like to challenge the Committee to continue its good work on planning workshops and sessions, but to also address other important issues facing laboratories not connected to semi-annual meetings. This work could be at the High School through Advanced Laboratory level. The Committee should consider ways it might serve the many AAPT members who are unable to attend semi-annual meetings. The Executive Board would like to receive recommendations of goals and activities that AAPT could undertake to better serve its members.

To top

AAPT Committee on Minorities - 2008 Annual Report

The AAPT Committee on Minorities (COM) has as its ongoing goals to support and make welcome underrepresented minorities within the AAPT and to help AAPT enhance their numbers, which are very small, within the physics and physics education communities.

The COM meets twice annually, and conducts any other business by email. The minutes for our January and July 2008 meetings are attached.


  • At the January meeting, there were 6 members and 6 friends.
  • At the July meeting, there were 7 members and 8 friends.

Sessions arranged

  • The COM is allocated two sessions per meeting, and that allocation was used fully at each meeting.
  • The attendance varies, sometimes as few as 4-5 persons, sometimes 15.


  • The COM is allocated one workshop per meeting.
  • We have filled that allocation each time.

In general, we get good cooperation from other committees in our work.

This year, the COM was also given the task of thinking about a statement concerning diversity that AAPT could endorse. This task coincided with the same mandate given to a joint AAPT, APS, NSHP and NSBP task force, which crafted such a statement. That statement was presented to the AAPT Executive Board.


COM would hope the Executive Board would issue some statement on diversity in our profession.

Submitted by J. D. Garcia, Chair

Review Board Comments:

The Committee on Minorities in Physics (COM) is very important in AAPT’s quest to achieve the goal of reaching an increased diversity of its members. The COM has used its workshop and session slots at National Meetings effectively and has worked well with other committees. The Committee should consider ways it might serve the many AAPT members who are unable to attend semi-annual meetings. Could the AAPT and/or comPADRE web sites be helpful in doing this?
The Executive Board received the diversity statement that was presented to it, and preliminary discussions were held at the October Executive Board Meeting. The Board appreciates the efforts made by COM in this issue, and encourages the COM to suggest further ways that AAPT can help it work towards its goals.

To top

AAPT Committee on Pre-High School Education - 2008 Annual Report

2008 goals and the extent to which they were reached

The Committee on Pre-High School Education did not set explicit goals for 2008. Rather we tried to fulfill our mission statement. Given our successful workshops and invited sessions, as well as keeping current on developments in PreHS education, we are pleased with our work as a committee.

2009 goals

The Committee on Pre-High School Education did not set explicit goals for 2009.

Long-range goals

To keep the membership of AAPT abreast of issues and innovations in pre-high school physics instruction (this is the core of the Mission of the Committee on Pre-High School Education)

Activities/Accomplishments in 2008

  • Committee meetings and communications
  • The committee and friends communicate between meetings using the AAPT provided listserv. We continue to host our meetings at national meetings early in the morning. This time rarely conflicts with any scheduled sessions or workshops (except maybe session zz).
  • Sessions and workshops at the W 2008 and Su 2008 meetings
  • The Physics and Toys workshops continue to be well received and exceeded 30 participant at each meeting. Our other workshops continue to draw from a diverse audience and tend to be better than half-full. As far as sessions go, the committee has had mixed success in offering them. We tend to have good ideas, but poor follow through. The workshops are always lively and engaging. All presiders report great participation.

Notable new ideas generated by the committee

  • The NRC book "Ready, Set, Science" is an excellent resource for teachers at all levels. AAPT should explore either plenary talks from the authors or other ways to make this resource better known.

Recommendations to the AAPT Executive Board


Submitted by Tom Foster, Chair

Review Board Comments:

The Committee on Pre-High School Education has a core mission of keeping AAPT abreast of the innovations in pre-high school physics instruction. While this is a

orthwhile mission, the Committee must be more proactive in setting goals that reach out to pre-high school teachers, possibly through the sections. One objective could be to recruit middle school members and encourage better communication between them and high school members. We suggest working with the High School Committee on this. AAPT is trying to extend its reach and service to teachers at all levels and the Pre-HS Committee can play a vital role in this goal. Additionally, the Committee should consider reaching out to pre-college teachers who are unable to attend semi-annual AAPT meetings.

The Physics and Toys workshop is notable, but others are not listed or detailed in the document. The report mentions notable ideas generated, but does not give any examples. The same is true for ideas coming from listserv discussions. The suggestion of having plenary speakers on pre-high school developments is a good one. The Committee should present contact information for these teachers so that we can possibly follow up on an invitation. Part of the charge to the Committee is communicating the progress of achieving goals and making recommendations to the Board so that we may act to improve our services to the membership. Committees play a crucial role in achieving this goal.

To top

AAPT Committee on Professional Concerns - 2008 Annual Report


The primary goal of the committee is finding effective ways to serve the members of our organization better.

Baltimore (WM08) events

  • The tutorial: Civic Engagement and Service Learning had 7 attendees. There was great enthusiasm, and all stayed ~45 minutes past the scheduled end of the session. There is reason to believe future attendance will increase significantly. This session will be offered again in WM09.
  • Crackerbarrel for TYC Faculty There were ~20 attendees, good discussion on possible solutions to several long standing issues including requesting a letter from the president of the AAPT and a similar chemistry teachers association. This CB is becoming increasingly solution focused.
  • Crackerbarrel on Professional Concerns of PER Graduate Students. No one was present to give a report
  • Session: "Directions of the New NSF Division of Research in Learning" had 7 papers and ~40 attendees. The session was very well received. This new division, which combines research and learning, provides significant financial support for teacher prep and K-12 but less for PER.
  • Crackerbarrel on Professional Concerns of PER Faculty. There were 17 people and much complaining. An attempt to define PER failed and the meeting ended ½ hour early.
  • Crackerbarrel on Professional Concerns of PER Solo Faculty. No report was available.
  • Crackerbarrel on Efficacy of Outreach Programs for NSF. No one was present to give a report.
  • Paper Session: Physics on Capital Hill. No one was present to give a report.
  • Paper Session: Information fluency and Physics. Although few attended the session, those who attended were very enthusiastic.
  • Crackerbarrel on Work Load Equity: Teaching a Physics Course & Lab vs. Teaching a Humanities Course. No report was filed.
  • Crackerbarrel on The Role of Student Evaluations in Faculty Assessment. One faculty member attended. She simply needed to vent.

Reports on SM08 Edmonton meeting

The Committee sponsored or co-sponsored 5 crackerbarrel sessions and one tutorial "Mining the Hidden Web"

Although we received summary forms from most crackerbarrel leaders, there is currently no way to share the tidbits of information. I strongly recommend a Wiki so that these ideas can exist in one, easily accessible space.

Comments for the AAPT Executive Board

  • Providing templates in a central place for required reports, etc. would make the chairs' job much easier.
  • Sponsoring cracker-barrel sessions seems to be a good idea. To maximize the benefit of these sessions, a contributed paper/poster session, "Professional Concerns/Possible Solutions", is on the schedule for WM09 , and the CPC will be holding a cracker-barrel session for Area Chairs at SM09.
  • I have contacted other area chairs about collaborating on "hot topics" identified via cracker-barrel sessions.

Submitted by Pat Viele, Chair

Review Board Comments:

The Committee on Professional Concerns Annual Report does not mention CPC goals for 2008 and beyond. It is stated that "The primary goal of the committee is finding effective ways to serve the members of our organization better." This generic statement is not specific to CPC and thus, is not helpful. On the AAPT website, the mission of CPC is stated as follows:

  • Provide a forum for AAPT members to discuss matters that affect physics educators professionally.
  • Promote positive and efficient interactions amongst all Areas Committees toward identification and resolution of inefficient or inequitable professional environments.
  • Make appropriate and effective recommendations to the Executive Board, other committees and the general membership.

This differs from the mission statement in the 2007 Area Chairs Handbook. CPC should clarify and sharpen its mission statement and base future activities and Annual Reports upon that statement.

A number of CPC sessions in Baltimore occurred without any CPC member present to file a report, and a number of the sessions for which reports were filed had few attendees. These facts suggests that the CPC is offering more sessions than it can properly handle. It would be more prudent to offer fewer high quality events that had more appeal. No details on attendance were given for sessions in Edmonton. And no information on communications was given. These items were explicitly requested from Area Committee Chairs.

In its comments for the Executive Board, it is suggested that templates should be provided for required reports such as the Annual Report. Explicit instructions were sent to all Area Committee Chairs on what to include in the Annual Report, which is the equivalent of a template. CPC ignored these instructions.

Given the vague statement of goals (see above) there is some question about what the CPC views to be professional concerns. Along these lines, it is not clear how a planned crackerbarrel session for Area Committee Chairs in Ann Arbor will relate to the mission of CPC. The CPC should focus on what its mission is, and offer a manageable number of sessions at semi-annual meetings to work toward achieving those goals. The CPC should also focus what it might do to help physics teachers who cannot attend AAPT meetings deal with their professional concerns.

To top

AAPT Committee on Research in Physics Education (RiPE) - 2008 Annual Report


The RiPE committee is not in the habit of setting specific goals. Thus, our goals are equivalent to our mission of meeting the needs of the AAPT Physics Education Research (PER) community as well as serving the broader AAPT membership through outreach. Most of the workshops and some of the sessions offered at national AAPT meetings are designed for the dissemination of PER results and materials. These primarily serve the broader AAPT membership. Most of the sessions at national AAPT meetings are designed for members of the PER community to talk with one-another about current research results. This is also the explicit purpose of the Physics Education Research Conference (see below). High attendance at all types of RiPE-sponsored events suggests that they are being well received. Thus, we believe that our goals are currently being adequately met. We also note that there is interest within the PER community to do more. It is consistently difficult or impossible to accommodate all of the requests from within the PER community to offer RiPE-sponsored sessions and workshops within the current RiPE quotas.

Activities/Accomplishments in 2008

  • Committee meetings and communications. The RiPE committee meetings are well attended by committee members and around 100 friends.
  • Sessions and workshops at the W 2008 and Su 2008 meetings. The RiPE committee continues to be active at the National Meetings. In Baltimore, RiPE sponsored or co-sponsored 6 workshops and 6 sessions. In Edmonton, RiPE sponsored or co-sponsored 10 workshops and 13 sessions. In addition to these sessions officially sponsored by RiPE, there were several additional sessions at each meeting related to Physics Education Research that were created from contributed papers. RiPE sessions continue to be well-attended and vibrant. The committee was pleased that in 2008 all RiPE events were scheduled in rooms sufficient to hold the 100+ attendees typical for RiPE-sponsored sessions.
  • Other committee activities and accomplishments. The 2008 Physics Education Research Conference (PERC), held right after the Edmonton AAPT meeting, had as its theme "Physics Education Research with Diverse Student Populations" and featured keynote speakers on this topic from researchers outside the typical AAPT community. Organizers Nicole Gillespie, Mel Sabella, and John Thompson sustained the innovative session formats explored in previous years, including targeted poster sessions and roundtable discussions. A peer-reviewed conference proceedings was published containing 14 invited and 44 peer-reviewed articles. This year, for the first time, comPADRE (compadre.org) hosted the web site with conference information. Reviewing of PERC articles was also done electronically through this site. We expect this to facilitate the availability and archiving of information related to PERC, including published proceedings articles.
  • Physics Education Research Topical Group (PERTG) of the AAPT. This was the third year of the PERTG. Members elect a leadership council to represent the PER community. PERTG and RiPE continue to work closely together on matters significant to the AAPT Physics Education Research community.

Recommendations to the AAPT Executive Board.

Perhaps the largest concern expressed by attendees during 2008 RiPE committee meetings was the poor facilities and timing allotted for poster sessions at AAPT meetings. We hope that AAPT program chairs will pay increased attention to the location and timing of poster sessions for future meetings; the RiPE committee stands ready to provide assistance as needed.

Submitted by Charles Henderson, Chair

Review Board Comments:

The 2008 activities of the Committee on Research in Physics Education has worked toward achievement of it mission to meet the needs of the AAPT PER community and to serve the broader AAPT membership through outreach. It is good and appropriate that RiPE offers sessions at semi-annual AAPT meetings for the general membership of AAPT. High attendance at sessions is indeed a sign that RiPE's events are of interest to the general membership as well as to PER workers – and having 100 friends attend RiPE meetings is a further testimonial to the high interest level. RiPE continues to be remarkably active. The continuing success of the the PERC is notable. The problems encountered by RiPE with poor facilities and timing are regrettable. This information has been passed on to the appropriate parties within AAPT.

It is good that RiPE is taking advantage of comPADRE'S capabilities to facilitate its electronic communication needs with respect to the PERC. However the annual report does not mention PER Central at http://www.compadre.org/per. Does RiPE use this site for outreach to the domestic and international physics teaching community?

To top

AAPT Committee on Science Education for the Public - 2008 Annual Report


The Committee on Science Education is committed to conveying physics concepts and the importance of science instruction to the general public. We have continued to be committed to this process through institutional outreach programs, supporting science museum centers, promoting innovative teaching ideas to educators of all levels. Our goals in 2008 and beyond are to continue to promote innovative activities. Lack of funding stopped a goal for a Physics on the Road (POTR) Resource webpage, advisory board and wiki. Some members are looking at city science festivals and there may be coordination of efforts to promote such activities nationwide. The 2008 goal of having a Physics and Performance workshop and demo show was a great success. It was implemented at the Summer 2008 meeting in Edmonton. For more information about the show go to: http://www.uoregon.edu/~physdemo/edmontonshow/

Activities and Accomplishments 2008

  • Committee Meetings. We had committee meetings at the Baltimore Winter meeting and the Summer Edmonton meeting. We have also had active discussion through emails regarding the future of the Physics and Society group that lives within CSEP. (More on that in the recommendations section). The Baltimore meeting was attended by 7 committee members and 8 friends. Primary focus was on the current meeting and planning for the meeting in Edmonton and the Winter 2009 meeting in Chicago.. The Summer meeting was attended by 8 members and 10 friends which focused on the success of the current meeting, planning for the Winter Chicago meeting and the Summer 2009 Ann Arbor meeting. There was a discussion about focusing on energy topics in sessions due to the rising oil prices and CO2 emission concerns. We acknowledge the AAPT Distinguished Service Award given to past committee Chair Stephen Shropshire.
  • Winter 2008 Meeting. Workshops: Physics of Toys had 36 participants; Haunted Physics, Lab 16 participants; Physics on the Road Crackerbarrel had so many that a larger room had to be found. 4 well attended sessions plus Physics and Society crackerbarrel.
  • Summer 2008 Meeting. Workshops: Physics and Performance had 9 Participants (first time it was ever run). We suspect the success of the resulting Demo Show it may be more popular in the future), Physics of Toys had 22 participants,, energy in the 21st Century had over 20 participants. Sessions: Alternative energy session had around 60 people in attendance; Summer AAPT Demo Show, the first one to be directly sponsored by CSEP, was a very large success. There was also a well attended Physoc crackerbarrel where energy issues were discussed.

Other Accomplishments and Ideas

Physics and Society education was also instrumental arranging for tours of the Zero Net Energy House in Edmonton,

Recommendations to the AAPT Executive Board

AAPT should not schedule sessions sponsored by the same committee at the same time, as happened Monday night in Edmonton with the sessions on Alternative Energy and Hollywood and Science Literacy. We had some confusion on how sessions, crackerbarrels, workshops allotments are counted. It was thought that in the past crackerbarrels were not counted as sessions since they are scheduled during committee meetings. Also, it was thought that a tutorial does not count as a workshop. Clarification is desired. Physics and Society has always sponsored a Crackerbarrel at meetings and, evidently in previous years, it didn't count against the session allotment. If crackerbarrels are counted as a session, then CSEP respectfully asks for one more session allotment to take care of the needs of the Physics and Society organization which gathers information and members through the crackerbarrel.

Submitted by Stanley Micklavzina, Chair

Review Board Comments:

The Committee on Science Education for the Public has the laudable goal of "conveying physics concepts and the importance of science instruction to the general public." Unfortunately most of what CSEP does is directed at AAPT semi-annual meetings, and little is directed to the general public. In the annual report it is stated, "We have continued to be committed to this process through institutional outreach programs, supporting science museum centers, promoting innovative teaching ideas to educators of all levels." However no specifics are given about science museum centers or just how innovative teaching ideas are promoted for teachers at all levels.

Most important "the general public" is not being reached by CSEP's activities. It is unclear why a Physics on the Road (POTR) Resource webpage, advisory board requires funding. Why not form an advisory board for guidance, at zero cost? Many AAPT members are capable of setting up web pages and wikis; why not search for such people? Furthermore, AAPT supports comPADRE, which might be able to help. Has CSEP investigated setting up a webpage through comPADRE?

The Physics and Performance show in Edmonton was clever and effective, combining music and theater. The tour of the Zero Net Energy House in Edmonton was a good idea. The CSEP recommendations to the Executive Board are appreciated, and will be passed on to those responsible for scheduling sessions and counting activities against allotments. The connection between CSEP and Physics and Society needs clarification. Should Physics and Society become a part of CSEP, or become an independent Area Committee? An opinion from CSEP would be helpful.

To top

AAPT Committee on Space Science and Astronomy (CSSA) - 2008 Annual Report

Goal from Past Year

Our main goal was simply to further our mission through sponsoring sessions and workshops that communicated current astronomy research to AAPT members, illustrated the latest in computer software and observational techniques used in labs, and provided information on effective classroom techniques and curriculum.


Baltimore Meeting. Workshops: Seeing the Invisible Universe, Exploring Beyond the Solar System, Project CLEA. Sessions: Data Mining, Frontiers in Space Science and Astronomy, Using Remote Telescopes

Edmonton Meeting. Workshop: Teaching Astronomy with Technology. Sessions: Data Mining, Frontiers in Space Science and Astronomy, Using Remote Telescopes. Crackerbarrel: Web Resources for Teaching Astronomy

Discussions & Initiatives

  • AstroNotes. Considerable discussion occurred over a plan to resurrect the AstroNotes column in The Physics Teacher. The plan required having a year's worth of columns (9) completed. After a valiant effort, it was concluded that we did not have sufficient committee membership to overcome startup inertia at this time. We hope to revisit this plan in the future.
  • Crackerbarrels. Discussion occurred over the format of future crackerbarrels spurred by results at the Edmonton crackerbarrel. In the past, the events were relatively unstructured as attendees introduced themselves and then broke up into discussion groups. The recent crackerbarrel had the specified theme of illustrating web resources with scheduled presenters and opportunities for audience members to present. There was general consensus that roughly half of our future events should adopt this new format but continue to experiment with minor tweaks.
  • International Year of Astronomy. Considerable discussion occurred over the importance of IYA and the need to have a number of related events in Ann Arbor. Plans are in the works for:
    • A showing of the film "400 Years of Galileo"
    • A trip to the U of M radio telescope
    • Special planetarium show, observatory tours, and public observing opportunities

Discussion occurred over the need to have better communication with invited speakers. A form letter was created for inviting speakers.

Goals for the Upcoming Year

Providing a number of IYA related events at national meetings

Increasing the number of members and the activity level of existing members as too much of our committee's work is done by a small group. We plan to provide more training related to organizing an invited session to encourage participation. We will design a bulleted handout carefully describing the process and encourage those who have never organized to serve as an "understudy" to an organizer first.

Submitted by Kevin Lee, Chair

Review Board Comments:

The Committee on Space Science and Astronomy has continued to sponsor sessions and workshops that communicate current space science and astronomy research to members. The future goals of the Committee to provide a number of IYA related events at the AAPT Winter and Summer Meetings is very good. Although there has been some activity on the committee listserv, this tool could be used more effectively to reach out to the broader space science and astronomy education community.
The Committee is urged to pursue the AstroNotes idea and perhaps look at how the Committee might provide support and/or interact with the Astronomy Center collection on ComPADRE. Since AAS has expressed little interest in working with comPADRE, this would be an excellent opportunity for the committee to assist in providing space science and astronomy resources for the astronomy and physics education community. It would also provide an excellent opportunity for the committee to extend its activities beyond just planning workshops and sessions for the winter and summer meeting.

There was no indication in the report of the level of participation in committee meetings or the attendance at sessions and workshops sponsored by the committee. In addition, the committee did not have any recommendations or suggestions for the Executive Board or National Office that might improve AAPT’s outreach in the committee’s area of interest.

To top

AAPT Committee on Teacher Preparation - 2008 Annual Report

2008 goals (achieved)

To continue to expand our offering of workshops and sessions at the AAPT meetings; to continue collaboration with PhysTec and PTEC, to strengthen the collaboration with the committee on Physics in High Schools and committee on Research in Physics Education in terms of cooperation in session and workshop offering; participate in the work of National Task Force for Physics Teacher Preparation, to participate in the preparation of the document describing the qualification of physics teachers (both the short and the long version of the documents are finished); to provide leadership to the professional community through the listserv and special workshops; to establish continuity in the work of the committee.

2009 goals

In addition to the above goals we wish to further strengthen the cooperation with other committees, to extend out support to the beginning teachers and to provide leadership to the school districts hiring physics teachers.

Long-range goals

To increase the educational and the policy impacts of the vision of preparation of physics teachers.

Activities/Accomplishments in 2008

  • Committee meetings and communications. In-person, conference-calls, email correspondence: the committee has an active listserv, during the past year the approximate number of postings was over 150, the discussions included specific topics of teaching physics, posted journal articles and policy documents, descriptions of different programs, work on the policy documents, etc. In addition, about 50 e-mail messages are exchanged when the program for the upcoming meeting is prepared. The committee held a 1-hour phone conference to discuss the cooperation with PTEC in April of 2009, there was a joint meeting with HS committee and PER committee chairs with Ted Hodapp at the Edmonton meeting to discuss the collaboration with PTEC and the planning of the sessions and workshops, in addition, the chairs of the Teacher Preparation and the PER committees attended the meeting of the group (in Edmonton) writing the document describing the qualifications of physics teachers, as the result a shorter version of the document was planned and it was actually written in the fall, the long version was edited and prepared for the discussions of the committees.
  • Committee meeting(s). AAPT Winter Meeting, Baltimore; January 20, 2008, 6 committee members, 20 friends of the committee; AAPT Summer Meeting, Edmonton Canada, July 20, 2008, Committee members 5, 29 friends of the committee.
  • Sessions and workshops at the W 2008 and Su 2008 meetings. All of the sessions and the workshops were well attended. The audience was involved. The committee chair initialized the cooperation with the High School Committee and the PER Committee in terms of workshop and session planning, more than 30 e-mails concerning the coordination of sessions at he Chicago meeting were generated, as the result there is a better list offerings of all three committees with shared sponsorship. The committees are actually talking to each other now.

Other Activities and Accomplishments

  • Committee members E. Etkina and D. Isola are active members of the National Task Force on the Preparation of Physics Teachers and committee members and friends are actively contributing to the chapters in the upcoming book on physics teacher preparation.
  • Notable new ideas generated by the committee: collaboration in terms of planning sessions and workshops between committee chairs; a workshop at the PTEC conference on the educational outreach activities to be part of NSF grants (will be conducted by E. Etkina in March).

Recommendations to the AAPT Executive Board

When the workshops at the national meetings are scheduled it is important that they are spread over workshop days so that the workshops offered by the same committee do not overlap, the same is true for the sessions.

Submitted by Eugenia Etkina, Chair

Review Board Comments:

The Committee on Teacher Preparation has continued to expand its offerings of workshops and sessions and has maintained excellent connections with the PhysTEC and PTEC that have resulted in the formation of the National Task Force on Physics Teacher Preparation. Committee members are playing an active role, either directly or indirectly, on this task force. The Committee has expanded its collaboration with other area committees, overcoming the initial concern when the Committee was formed that it would be duplicating or usurping the responsibilities of other committees.

The Committee makes effective use of its listserv to engage a large number of friends in addition to committee members. There has been good attendance at committee meetings and workshops and sessions sponsored by the Committee, many which are co-sponsored with other committees. The Committee’s recommendation to the Board about workshops and sessions is noted, but with the large numbers of both that are either sponsored or co-sponsored by the Committee it is difficult to avoid conflicts. This will continue to be an issue as the committee expands its activities at the meeting.

Looking back at the 2007 committee report, there were a number of new ideas and issues to be discussed in that report which appear to have been dropped in 2008. In particular, item (a) Nation-wide database of newly prepared physics/physical science teachers and potential mentors for these teachers is an area that should be pursued and possible collaboration with PTRA investigated to make use of the PTRA network of master teachers, especially those who are retired and would be interested in serving as a mentor.

To top

AAPT Committee on Physics in Two-Year Colleges - 2008 Annual Report

Goals for 2008 (from 2007 Annual Committee Report).

  • Continue with efforts to increase publications by TYC faculty.
  • Launch efforts to revitalize the TYC community inspired by the example of TYC21. An informal meeting was held in Baltimore to prepare a longer meeting in Edmonton.
  • Maintain the TYC presence at national meetings with the following components: TYC breakfast; Crackerbarrel session on TYC issues held before the committee meeting; Resource room during summer meetings; "Favorite activity/lesson in the TYC classroom" poster session.


In 2008, five articles were published in The Physics Teacher by authors from two-year colleges. In 2007 there was no article in TPT from two-year colleges. Informal meetings were held in Baltimore and Edmonton to develop plans for a TYC conference in 2010 in conjunction with the national meeting in Portland. Additional discussions were held on the CPTYC listserv and a planning committee led by two committee members has been put in place.

Goals for 2009

In addition to ongoing efforts to increase publications by TYC faculty and maintain an active participation in the national meetings, the committee's main goals for 2009 will be to initiate a discussion of the possible revision of the AAPT Guidelines for two-year colleges, and to finalize the plans for the 2010 TYC conference in Portland.

Long-term goals

The long-term goal of the committee is to increase the attendance of the national meetings by two-year college faculty, and to provide a national forum for the discussion of issues affecting the TYC physics community.

Activities/Accomplishments in 2008

  • Committee meetings. Both committee meetings (Baltimore & Edmonton) were well attended with a majority of the committee members present, and a significant number of friends on the committee. On both occasions the committee went well beyond the task of scheduling sessions and workshops for the next meeting. Substantive discussions of the goals and plans of the committee took place during each meeting.
  • Sessions and workshops. All the sessions organized in Baltimore and Edmonton were well attended. For instance, the "Physics of our hobbies" session in Edmonton attracted a large audience and was followed by an extensive series of follow-up questions for the presenters.
  • Other activities. Informal gatherings have been organized in Baltimore and Edmonton to further develop ideas on a TYC conference. In the course of these discussions, additional ideas emerged: 1) the need to revisit the AAPT guidelines for TYC physics 2) the importance of addressing broader issues, beyond the classroom, that affect the TYC physics community. In addition, some members and friends of the committee have successfully organized a New Faculty Training of TYC Physics Faculty conference at Delta College in March 2008. Results of this conference will be presented at the summer 2009 meeting in Ann Arbor.

Recommendations to the AAPT executive board:

The TYC physics community would greatly appreciate support from the board with the following initiatives:

TYC Conference in Portland (2010 summer meeting). The goal of this conference is to provide a one-day event targeting issues of special interest to the TYC physics community. The conference should also increase TYC faculty attendance at national meetings.

AAPT Workshops for new TYC faculty. The success of the NFT conference at Delta College shows that new TYC faculty would greatly benefit from workshops that would expose them to best practices in teaching introductory physics. This would also help bring down some of the isolation experienced by TYC faculty and include them in the broader AAPT community.

Submitted by Karim Diff, Chair

Review Board Comments:

The Committee on Physics in Two-Year Colleges has laudable goals for 2009. Its accomplishment of the 2007 goals and planning for the future provide good continuity for the committee’s focus. The CPTYC sessions and workshops continue to be attractive and draw audiences. The TYC new faculty workshops, paralleling the similar four-year college workshops, should be a valuable asset to the TYC community.

The Executive Board looks forward to the report of the March 2008 workshop held at Delta College during the Ann Arbor meeting. This will provide guidance for future possible workshops. We note that support for the Portland (2010) TYC conference and TYC workshops at AAPT should be seriously considered by the Board, subject to funding availability.

We recommend that the Committee consider working with the Committee on Physics in High Schools and the Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education on curriculum matters related to smooth transitions for students between these levels of physics instruction.

To top

AAPT Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education - 2008 Annual Report

CPUE Goals

  • Provide a forum for consideration of topics relevant to undergraduate instruction in physics in two-year colleges, four-year colleges, and universities.
  • In cooperation with the High School, Two-Year College and Graduate Education Committees, seek ways of improving articulation for students progressing from one level to another.
  • Aid in keeping the AAPT membership informed of ways in which the teaching of physics at the undergraduate level may be facilitated.

Activities in 2008

  • Sponsored Event. The CPUE sponsored and co-sponsored one tutorial, 2 workshops, and 7 sessions at the 2008 Winter Meeting in Baltimore; and one tutorial, 4 workshops, and 9 sessions at the 2008 Summer Meeting in Edmonton (fulfills Items #1 and #3 of the goals). Of particular note are sessions on preparing undergraduates for upper division courses (Chicago) and for graduate study (Ann Arbor).
  • Committee meetings were held in Baltimore (6 of 9 members attended, along with at least 8 friends) and at the Summer Meeting in Edmonton (5 of 9 members attended, along with at least 11 friends). In Baltimore, there was continuing discussion of the proposal to form an Upper Level Undergraduate Curriculum Task Force (fulfills Items #1 and #2 of the goals).
  • The proposal for the Upper Level Undergraduate Curriculum Task Force was discussed in Baltimore and again in Edmonton. So far the outcome of the discussions has been two invited sessions on the topic in cooperation with the Committee on Laboratories, one presented at Edmonton and a second one scheduled for Chicago. Plans for a task force or topical conference were stalled because of the departure of Toufic Hakim. The committee has sought feedback from other potentially affected committees.
  • Further input from other sources, including industry and graduate programs, is recommended.
  • At Edmonton, David Cook urged CPUE to encourage the organization of sessions and workshops that emphasize the physics content of undergraduate courses.

Recommendations for the AAPT Executive Board

There was considerable discussion in Edmonton about sessions that appear to be workshops or tutorials. CPUE recommends that a policy be developed to ensure that organizers are not circumventing quotas on workshops and tutorials by presenting them as sessions.

Submitted by Steve Luzader, Chair

Review Board Comments:

The Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education has outlined goals that enhance the mission of AAPT. Its workshops and sessions continue to enhance the quality of our meetings while meeting their goals. The Executive Board would like to hear about any notable ideas that have been generated from the participation at meetings so that they may be more widely disseminated. The Committee's collaboration with other committees in achievement of these goals is noteworthy.

The proposal for an Upper Level Undergraduate Curriculum Task Force is an excellent one. We recommend that the Committee submit a set of specific recommendations on this issue for the Executive Board to consider, including suggestions for a follow-up topical conference. The Committee is encouraged to recommend specific participants in such a task force as well. We look forward to future committee projects involving the progression of students between levels mentioned in Goal #2. To meet its goals more fully, the Committee should consider ways it might serve the many AAPT members who are unable to attend semi-annual meetings. Might this be done using the AAPT and/or comPADRE web sites?

To top

AAPT Committee on Women In Physics - 2008 Annual Report

Previous Years' Goals

In continuation of 2007 goals, the committee has worked on promoting women plenary speakers at the biannual national meetings, sponsoring local sessions at national meetings to keep up to date on the status of research in the field of gender studies in physics and education, and in promoting and preserving valuable cross-connections with groups with parallel goals, such as the APS Committee on Status of Women in Physics (CSWP), AIP, National Academy of Engineering, The Society of Women Engineers, The Committee on the Status of Women In Astronomy, AWIS, etc. These goals in turn support the broader goal of achieving the three-fold mission of the committee which is:

  • Seek more effective means of recruitment and retention of women in physics classes and physics-related careers.
  • Seek methods of aiding women in physics in career development.
  • Communicate to the AAPT membership and to the community at large the findings of the Committee, through approved AAPT channels.

Summary of current discussions and status

Both committee meetings in Baltimore and Edmonton were fruitful and well-attended (20-30 people each). Apart from organizing and chairing sessions and workshops, (of which we have had several excellent examples),

  • The committee has forged connections with CSWP (Brian Pyper wrote a short blurb for the Fall CSWP newsletter The Gazette on the committee's activities, with a commitment from the Gazette to publish similar reports in the future),
  • Jacob Clark Blickenstaff represented us at the IUPAP meeting in Korea and will report on his experience at the Winter joint meeting with AAAS in Chicago,
    Jill Marshall, a committee member, wrote an article published in The Physics Teacher (J. Marshall, Escape from the Pipeline: Women Using Physics Outside Academia, TPT 48(1) p.20-25) describing a committee-sponsored session from the Seattle Meeting,
  • Mary Kay Patton (2009 Committee Chair) represented us at the Gender Equity Conference in Chicago in October 2008,
  • Several reports have been published this year on issues of interest to the committee (see, for example, the joint NSF, APS, and DOE report on Gender Equity published 9-3-08 and available at http://www.aps.org/programs/women/workshops/gender-equity/upload/genderequity.pdf)
  • The committee also continues fruitful cosponsorships of sessions with the AAPT Committees on Teacher Preparation, Minorities, History and Philosophy, and Research in Physics Education.
  • Context and justification for committee recommendations. Moving the now-defunct committee web page from its current site is something we need done as soon as possible. We've been told several times that space was being made available for these pages on the new AAPT server, but the details are still forthcoming.

Committee's Goals for 2009

Continue the successful implementation of the committee's current activities and seek additional ways of fulfilling the Committee's mission. Relocate the committee's web page and get it updated.

Submitted by Brian A. Pyper, Chair

Review Board Comments:

The Committee on Women in Physics has continued to expand its collaborations and connections with similar committees in other organizations such as the APS and SWE and AWIS. The Committee was very successful in 2008 in promoting plenary speakers and award recipients including all three major awards at the 2008 Winter Meeting (Richtmyer, Phillips and Oersted) and the committee has increased its level of collaboration with other AAPT Area Committees.

Committee members or representatives participated in a number of committee related activities thus expanding the committee’s outreach efforts and visibility. Whether or not the National AAPT can host the Committee’s website has still not been decided. One potential option is to set the site up through the comPADRE web site. We recommend that the Committee contact Bruce Mason, who administers that site.

In the short term, the new Communities Module will allow the committee to provide most of the resources that a website might provide, although it will not be as visible to the outside world. The committee might consider what role it and AAPT could play in the mentoring of potential undergraduate female physics majors, perhaps in collaboration with SPS, or in promoting other mentoring options such as the Mentor Network for undergraduate or graduate students. Mentoring of underrepresented groups is also a key issue for the doubling initiative that is a joint activity of AAPT, APS and AIP.

To top 

Note: Some changes to the formatting have been made for consistency and readability on the web. No alterations to the original content of these reports has been made.