2009 Area Committee Reports

Below are the 2009 committee annual reports and the respective comments of the Review Board. Links to previous years can be found below.

Committee Reports - 2009

Committee on Apparatus

  1. Goals
    1. The main focus of the Apparatus Committee is instructional apparatus used for the teaching of physics. We acquire and transfer the associated knowledge so practitioners may implement the apparatus in the lecture classroom, physics laboratory, and at physics outreach events. We have lately been adding a historical teaching apparatus component to this knowledge base. We work with many individuals and committees; and sponsor competitions, workshops, poster and paper session, and cracker-barrels in pursuit of that mission.The recent upswing in the number of these events is proof of our continued mission success.
    2. Our main goal for 2010 was to completely fill our quota for both the winter and summer meetings but especially the winter meeting which has traditionally had a light schedule. We would nearly have succeeded on our first attempt had not one of our sessions been given to another committee for sponsorship. A secondary goal was to partnership workshops or sessions with the APS for the upcoming February meeting.Here we succeeded in getting APS to co-sponsor one of our workshops.
    3. test Second priority is to try to find a permanent home for the collection of antique physics equipment that has been accumulated by Tom Greenslade at his home. Several letters and inquiries have been initiated in this pursuit.
  2. Activities / Accomplishments in 2009
    1. Communications between committee members and friends of the Committee is at an all time high due to our efforts to increase our presence at each meeting. While most of this is by e-mail or phone, the bi-annual committee meetings continue to be a focal point for many ideas, and are especially useful for discussions and our increasing cooperative efforts with other AAPT committees and groups.
    2. (Sessions and Workshops at Winter 2009 meeting)Both workshops we sponsored had really great reviews and by all comments and individual accounts the participants had a most excellent time. The “Ben Franklin” workshop was filled to capacity. Both of these will be scheduled again for the 2010 winter meeting.
    3. (Sessions and Workshops at the Summer 2009 meeting)The PIRA session was an unqualified success as there was standing room only with attendance hovering at 140. The Upper Division Laboratories session was given two time slots due to the amount of contributing presentations. Greater than usual audiences shows that there is a continuing need for sharing of laboratory experiences. Our workshops and poster sessions continue to do well with all of them returning for the 2010 summer meeting. The special advanced lab workshop we were able to present using equipment brought in for the Topical Conference did much better that anticipated with nearly 40 participants.
    4. There has been interest in a session or workshop that addresses demonstrations used for high school or a small group setting.
  3. We have two recommendations for website improvements that have impact on our committee processes.
    1. Have 2 automatic announcements from AAPT go out to not only the committee chairs but also to the session or workshop organizers on the list. The first announcement telling that the online submission forms for a meeting have been activated, and the second as a reminder going out 5 days before the deadline. Rationale: While this committee does this on its own with great success, it is apparent from comments we receive from individuals we communicate with that this is not the norm. AAPT should step in here to create a standard so that all involved are equally informed.
    2. The workshop or session request confirmation info should not only go to the organizer and primary committee chair as is done now but also to the co-sponsoring committee chair.Rationale: At present, the Apparatus committee is only able to track the submissions and events where we are primary sponsor, which is only about 45% of the events we are involved with. We assume that other committees have the same problem.
  4. Two other recommendations:
    1. Workshop evaluations should also be sent to the sponsoring and co-sponsoring committee chairs as they should be part of any evaluation to drop or keep a workshop.
    2. Our committee has always had difficulty filling out the “sessions and workshops report” section of the annual report as the current chair is reporting on two meetings worth of events that were set up by their predecessor. Our recommendation would be for the chairs to serve for two years, the last year of the outgoing chairs term overlapping with the first year of the incoming chairs term. The outgoing chairs second year could then be used to transfer info, experience, and provide support to the incoming chair.In this way committee continuity would be preserved during the incoming chairs learning curve, and reports on meetings could be written by the chair that did the organizing.

Dale Stille, Chair

Review Board Response

The Apparatus Committee continues to do an excellent job of sponsoring workshops, poster and paper sessions, and competitions at the National Meetings. The strong attendance last year is an indication of how popular they were. The tie-in with the Topical Conference on Advanced Laboratories during the Michigan meeting was excellent and produced a popular workshop and session. Your goals for 2009 and 2010 addressing the activities at the National Meetings are important to the association.

The Executive Board encourages area committees to have additional goals in their area of expertise for the year that address issues other than sessions and workshops at meetings. Your two long term goals fit this category. Cataloging the many available Java Applets and making this available on comPADRE would be a very useful project to the physics education community. Finding a permanent home for the Tom Greenslade collection is also an excellent project. Has there been consideration of creating an electronic physics apparatus museum on comPADRE? Tom Greenslade's website could serve as the beginning. The Board encourages the committee to become active in pursuing these or similar projects.

The recommendations you made are worth serious consideration. The two recommendations concerning the website will be given to the incoming Program Chair to determine if these changes can be made. The suggestion of changing the area chairs term to two years would help create added continuity. This idea will be discussed by the Review Committee to determine its feasibility.

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Committee on Educational Technology

  1. Goals
    1. 2009 GoalsThe mission of the Committee on Educational Technologies (CET) is to identify, communicate, and promote new developments in educational technology and new applications of educational technology to physics teaching and learning. The Committee’s strong commitment to its mission is seen through its sponsorship of contests (the Photo and Video Contests), tutorials, workshops, and sessions that use educational technologies. During 2009, the CET sponsored or co-sponsored 13 sessions and 10 tutorials and workshops. The Photo Contest was held during the summer meeting.
    2. 2010 GoalsThe CET continues to look for innovative and effective ways that technology is used in the physics classroom and disseminate these technologies to the AAPT membership. We continue to work with members of RiPE committee to help communicate results from research on the effectiveness of educational technologies. We also continue to work with CPUE, CPTYC, CPHS, and CSSA to better integrate technology sessions, tutorials, and workshops with the goals of these committees.
    3. Long Term GoalsThe CET will continue to bring both proven and cutting-edge technological applications in the physics classroom to the members of AAPT through its session, tutorial, and workshop offerings. We will continue to identify topics and invited speakers for sessions on the latest topics in educational technology. We will also continue to work with other committees in co-sponsoring important sessions and workshops.
  2. Activities/Accomplishments in 2009
    1. Committee Meetings and Communications-The CET met at both the winter and summer meetings, with the larger attendance at the summer meeting. The CET continues to have a large and consistent group of friends in attendance who help bring in new ideas and help with organizing and presiding over sessions. In between the national meetings, we conduct Committee business via e-mail.
    2. Sessions and Workshops at the W 2009 and S 2009 meetings- At the winter meeting, several of sessions and workshops were cancelled due to travel restrictions that were imposed by institutions in the fall of 2008. Given the strong workshop attendance during the Ann Arbor Meeting (and that the Winter Meeting cancellations affected other committees as well), it appears this was a one-time event. 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 of 15-25. Evaluations from participants continue to be very positive.
    3. Other Committee Activities and Accomplishments- The CET continues to sponsor the Photo and Video Contests with the Committee on Physics in High Schools. The Photo Contest continues to grow, and recently an advisory committee for the contest was created. We thank Mary Winn for all her work with this contest. The Video Contest is undergoing a transition to include video analysis to help boost the entries to keep this a viable Contest. Thanks to Trina Cannon for all her past work with this Contest.
    4. Notable New Ideas Generated by the Committee- In Ann Arbor, the “Taste of Technology” workshop, suggested by Wolfgang Christian, was offered. It consisted of 8 of CETs most popular workshop topics and leaders (each mini-workshop lasted for 2 hours) with 2 offered concurrently throughout the day. Participants selected 4 out of the 8 mini-workshops and left with the materials from all 8 workshop topics. While the “Taste” was a success for the participants, logistical and organizational considerations suggest that if CET runs the “Taste of Technology” again that it be at another summer meeting with technical support as flexible and as knowledgeable as that of the University of Michigan.

Mario Belloni, Chair

Review Board Response

The mission of CET "to identify, communicate, and promote developments in educational and new applications of educational technology to physics teaching and learning" is an important component to AAPT. The committee has done an excellent job during National Meetings in having tutorials, workshops, and sessions that fulfill this mission. The creative experiment called "Taste of Technology" workshop at the Michigan meeting shows how creative you are in trying new ideas. Thank you for these efforts in determining if this new format would work.

The photo contest continues to be a highlight of the summer meeting. It involves many high schools in AAPT activities and is an event that attendees at the summer meeting enjoy. We are glad there are plans to revitalize the video contest and look forward to its return.

The Executive Board encourages area committees to work on projects or activities that relate to their area of expertise other than workshops and sessions at National Meeting. This could include bringing recommendations to the Executive Board on how we could better serve our members and physics education as a whole. We hope one or two projects or activities can become part of your goals for 2010 and 2011.

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Committee on Graduate Education in Physics

The sessions sponsored by the Graduate Education committee (GEC) at the 2009 Summer meeting in Ann, Arbor were well attended. The panel on \What Graduate Schools Expect from Undergraduates" had a great turn out and the attendees asked the panelists questions for 1.5 hours.

The sessions \Cutting-Edge Research at MSU" and \How to prepare undergraduates for graduate school" were also well received. The GEC sponsored workshop \Cyclotron tour and workshop at Michigan State" at the 2009 Annual Summer meeting was attended by 17 participants all of whom rated it highly.

With support from the National Science Foundation, AAPT (with GEC involvement) and APS co-sponsored a conference titled "Graduate Education in Physics: Which way forward?" in 2008 to discuss the status and future of graduate education in physics (Janet Tate, Ted Hodapp, Michael Thoennessen and Chandralekha Singh were the co-organizers). The full report for this conference can be found at the AAPT Graduate Education Committee website http://www.aapt.org/Directory/graduate.cfmAt the GEC committee meeting in Michigan Ann Arbor, we discussed the main _ndings of the conference and continued the discussions about strategies for dissemination of the _ndings.

The GEC will sponsor a workshop titled \TA Training: Challenges and Successes" at the 2010 Winter Meeting in Washington, DC which is joint with the APS April meeting. This exploratory workshop is envisioned to be the launching pad for a future conference sponsored jointly by AAPT and APS related to TA preparation. The GEC will also sponsor or co-sponsor three exciting sessions at the Winter 2010 meeting: \Preparing graduate students for careers in college physics teaching", \Selling Physics Research and Education to Congress" and \TA Training: Why It Is Important and How To Do It E_ectively".

The GEC plans to sponsor a workshop titled \Leadership Roles and Models in the Classroom, Academia, and Beyond" at the 2010 Summer Meeting in Portland, OR. The GEC also plans to cosponsor four invited sessions at the Summer 2010 meeting two of which will deal with promoting diversity and the other two will deal with early career researchers in physics and Paradigms program at OSU.

We now have Amber Stuver, a postdoctoral Fellow, as a member who is very active. She is also a member of the APS Forum on Graduate Student A_airs (FGSA) and has been trying to get graduate students who are members of FGSA more involved in AAPT activities.

Chandralekha Singh, Chair

Review Board Response

The sessions and workshops sponsored by the Graduate Education committee continue to be of high quality and are generally well attended. They cover areas that are consistent with AAPT’s mission and goals. However, the report does not address the specific goals of the committee and the future plans for activities outside of sponsoring sessions. Part of the committee’s mission is to interact with the undergraduate committee (and I recommend including the TYC community) on ways to provide a smoother transition to graduate schools. Clearly the session in Ann Arbor did this, but plans for future projects and ways to better communicate this information have not been outlined. There were no recommendations for the Executive Board. The committee’s work with APS at the DC meeting should provide a good forum for discussing relevant topics to graduate students and this practice should continue. Their connection with the APS Forum on Graduate Student Affairs will help to enhance communication and accomplish their mission. I recommend that future reports include brief statements of the committee’s goals and how their sessions and outside projects meet those goals.

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Committee on History and Philosophy of Physics

  1. Goals
    1. The goals of the H+P committee for 2009 were to provide sessions that help physics teachers and students make connections with the people, events, apparatus, and ideas of physics history and philosophical tenets. Our sessions on apparatus and history were well attended.
      For 2010 we wanted to continue those goals and also wanted to make connections the enriching physics in the classroom by discussing how teachers have progressed by sharing ideas in The Physics Teacher and other professional publications. In Washington we want to explore the physics of items in the Smithsonian and the museums there.
    2. Long range goals include all of this above and include all of this above AND getting a better H+P committee website with important links up and running via the AAPT site. We want to continue to help members remember what has been done before and how those events have shaped what we know today.
  2. Committee meetings and communications.
    1. H+P members participated in committee meetings, invited speakers of national fame, wrote 2 historical biographies and one textbook and continued developing curriculum and videos in CASTLE workshops and physical science teacher training workshops. Our member and past chair gave the Milikan presentation. We had 14 members at the winter meeting and 10 members at the very early summer committee meeting.
    2. The Electronics workshop was full, both W and S 2009 sessions had 40-50 attendees with attendees staying afterwards for questions of the speakers. The Chicago crackerbarrel was dismally attended, with less than 5 people attending, we decided that it was not publicized enough. At the summer meeting three sessions of interest to our members were scheduled in the same time slot, which created much consternation.
    3. It was impressive how many of our committee members were very active in multiple levels of the AAPT, including past presidents and others levels of service.
  3. We appreciate the difficulties in the paper sort and in putting the national meetings together, but we would prefer that the sessions sponsored by H+P and by Interests of Senior Physicists not be scheduled at the same time. We would like a later committee meeting time since we have many members who are older. As a way of making history more readily accessible, we would like for more searchable information from past meetings to stay available on the web in perpetuity, such as workshop information and other meeting details.

Cheryl Winkle, Chair

Review Board Response

The Committee on History and Philosophy of Physics sponsored a number of sessions at both national meetings in 2009, most of which (according to their report) were well attended; their Electronics workshop drew 40–50 participants at each national meeting! The two Committee meetings were also reasonably attended, despite the early hour of one of them. While their goals for 2009 focused essentially on organizing events for national meetings, their goals for 2010 commendably include publishing articles in professional journals (TPT and others) and reviewing and enhancing the Committee’s website, all aimed at supporting those interested in bringing historical perspectives to their teaching of physics. They also plan to take full advantage of the Smithsonian as a site for events at the Washington meeting. Members and friends of the Committee are particularly active in curricular development and promoting CASTLE and, in 2009, have published (at least) three books. The Committee is to be applauded for its activities and encouraged especially to move on its plans to engage its members and friends in tasks that enhance its impact beyond the confines of the national meetings.

Fully addressing the Committee’s concern about early morning Committee meetings and about overlapping scheduling of events of interest to the Committee’s constituency may be difficult. Responding to a desire for information from past meetings to remain available and readily “searchable” on the AAPT website may be easier to address. In any case, the Committee should understand that the requests have been heard.

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Committee on International Physics Education

No report submitted

Lei Bao, Chair

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Committee on Laboratories

  1. Goals
    1. Major goals of the committee for 2009 were
      1. Sponsor the Advanced Labs Topical Conference
      2. Work with ALPHA to formalize their relationship with the committee
      3. Complete “Goals of the Introductory Laboratory”
      4. Begin work on “Goals for K-8 Laboratories”
    2. 2010 goals include:
      1. Keep the momentum going from the Advanced Labs Topical Conference
      2. Equip AAPT membership for changes in requirements to medical school by offering on-going sessions, workshops and discussions on Bio-Medical applications in physics
      3. Continue to work with ALPHA to encourage the exchange of ideas among Advanced Laboratory personnel
    3. Long-range goals
      1. Work to support new ideas and support for physics laboratories at all levels, K-8, 9-12, introductory, and advanced.
  2. Activities/Accomplishments in 2009
    1. Committee meetings and communications
      1. Committee meetings were held at the AAPT winter meeting in Chicago and the AAPT summer meeting in Ann Arbor. Both meetings were well attended (about 20 members and friends)
      2. Follow-up emails were frequent throughout the year to complete committee business
    2. Sessions and workshops at the W 2009 and Su 2009 meetings
      1. W 2009 sessions
        1. Unconventional Labs – 75 attendees, crowded room, excellent talks
        2. What is the Curriculum for the Advanced Lab?
        3. Rethinking the Upper-Level Curriculum
      2. Su 2009 workshops and sessions
        1. Workshop: Falsification Labs – very well received, full registration
        2. Session: Upper Division Laboratories –Ideas, Equipment and Techniques
    3. Advanced Labs Topical Conference was well attended and well received before the summer meeting.
    4. The committee worked hard at the summer meeting to find ways for lab personnel at all levels to share ideas through AAPT. ALPHA has begun this work for the advanced lab personnel. Possibly, the poster sessions need to be altered slightly to allow members to showcase their equipment in a secure location.
  3. The committee requested and was granted an increase in the quota for summer meeting workshops to accommodate the annual workshop for Introductory and Advanced Laboratories. The committee feels this is an important workshop, similar to the Lecture Demonstration Workshop, and should be offered annually. However, it is also important to offer workshops on new ideas each year.

Marsha Hobbs, Chair

Review Board Response

The Committee on Laboratories is to be applauded for its involvement in the successful topical conference on the advanced laboratory at the Ann Arbor meeting and for its firm intention to follow up on that activity with continuing attention both to that topic and to those interested in the subject. The sessions and the workshops mounted at the two national meetings in 2009 were well attended, and the Committee meetings themselves drew quite a number of friends. The growing collaboration with ALPHA, the concern for the laboratory experience throughout the K-20 spectrum, efforts to involve not only those teaching the laboratories but also those providing support for the teachers, and the decision to help physics teachers learn about changes in the requirements of medical schools point to a healthy and valuable agenda for the Committee in the years to come. That the workshops on introductory and advanced laboratories continue with every offering to draw strong participation is also encouraging. The Committee’s report attests to a successful 2009 and points to a similarly successful 2010.

The one implied suggestion to the Board and to those planning national meetings requests that thought be given to ways in which poster presentations might include space for setting up equipment and making sure it is secure for the time it is on display. In fact, recent poster sessions have included small tables for equipment, mostly laptop computers, and sometimes have made power available, but that provision is probably not enough for the use envisioned in the Committee’s suggestion. Unfortunately, space is often tight, and high security is hard to achieve. Nonetheless, the request has been heard.

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Committee on Minorities in Physics

No Report Submitted

Kathleen Falconer, Chair

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Committee on Physics in High Schools


The mentoring initiative is up and running. We now have identified a list of mentors willing to assist teachers who need help. We are now looking for teachers to pair up with and a way to do it. It has been suggested to use online resources to link people who may not be geographically nearby. It has also been suggested that the mentors not just be paired one to one, but maybe in small groups to get the most help to the most people.

Recommendations to Board:

We are now looking into ways to recruit more new high school teachers. It has been suggested that we market to the teachers in the states of our national meetings and point out sessions that would be of interest. We would also like to run a get together for first time high school teachers at each meeting to give them a chance to network and feel welcome. We would also like to offer a discount to first time national meeting registrants to hook them, and hopefully they will keep coming back.

It has also been suggested to the committee to set up an Industrial Advisory Board to get corporate sponsorship to help fund high school teachers to attend workshops and meetings.

Activities and Accomplishments:

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. We had 17 participants in our Household Electricity Workshop and plan to continue offering that each winter. We had so many contributed papers to our Particle Physics in the HS we had to split it into two sessions that were greatly attended. We have also had continued interest in the PER in the High School session we have offered. We have had to increase the size of the room to fit the size of the audience. We are planning a celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the PTRA for next summer’s meeting.

The committee meetings have had a good attendance at the winter meetings. The early morning meetings have had smaller attendance with only about 12 people at the summer and about 30 people at the winter meetings when they were at 7 a.m. Last winter’s meeting had about 50 people present when it was in the afternoon.

The high school committee has finished its 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 published and distributed.

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 had preliminary work available for review at the Chicago meeting. There it was decided to continue through email. Now we are requesting a room at the summer national meeting to continue work on this document face to face.

Another project is currently underway dealing with teachers planning lessons based on state or national standards. We have a friend of the committee volunteering to work with the national office on coming up with AAPT’s standards.

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 continued concern of the committee. We have a new person in charge of the video contest. At this year’s winter meeting a group met to hash out new guidelines to update and restart this contest. 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 keep increasing the participation level.

Shannon Mandel, Chair

Review Board Response

The Committee on Physics in the High Schools is to be commended for your many services to AAPT through the years. The Share-A-Thon, photo contest and video contest are all highlights of our national meetings. Updating and revising all of the high school documents are a service to all high school teachers, not just our members. Working closely with the PTRA program gives you a special role with the MSP grants, and we encourage you to become more actively involved in that venture. Together you should also take a leadership position in the discussion of national physics standards.

Your sessions and workshops cover a variety of topics of interests to the high school community, and we are pleased to see your cooperation with many other committees. We encourage you to work closely with the Pre-High School and Undergraduate Committees to design programs to provide a smooth transition from middle school to high school and from high school to college. We also encourage you to work closely with the Teacher Preparation Committee in the design quality programs to train future physics teachers.

Your suggestion of a First Timers High School gathering is an interesting one. We would suggest you begin by making contact with the Undergraduate and Graduate Committees and designing marketing for each level and attending the regularly scheduled First Timers gathering and hand out a list of sessions of interest to your three constituents.

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Committee on Physics in Pre-High School Education

No report Submitted

Julia Olsen, Chair

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Committee on Two-Year Colleges

  1. Goals
    1. 2009 goals and the extent to which they were reached
      • We had a goal to get AAPT Board approval and support to conduct a TYC Tandem Meeting associated with a summer meeting, and with the leadership of Dwain Desbien (as the TYC board rep and co-sponsor) and Paul D'Alessandris, we are well on our way to conducting that meeting in Portland. Lots of other folks have contributed ideas, support and services over the last several years, but huge Kudos to Dwain and Paul!
      • We have a goal to make sure that the national AAPT community recognizes and respects the contributions that we TYC-ers make to physics teaching. Dwain certainly furthered that goal in his service on the board (and we’re sure Marie will continue that tradition). The AAPT president, Alex Dickenson, will certainly be a great ambassador for TYC’s.
      • Programs such as the New Faculty Training Conference and others in the Physics Workshops for Two-Year College and High School Instructors have done a great job of meeting our goal of providing timely, meaningful professional development for new and veteran instructors, at the TYC and HS levels. Tom Okuma, Dwain Desbien, Scott Schultz, Todd Leif and many others deserve high praise for this on-going work.
    2. 2010 goals
      • Conduct a successful TYC Tandem Meeting in Portland and set the groundwork for this to be a periodic event.
      • Revamp the TYC Guidelines booklet and advocate for such items as lecture/lab parity with local administrations.
      • Attract more TYC members to both local sections and the national organization (increase both meeting attendance and dues-paying membership at both levels).
    3. Long-range goals
      Much of the conversation that will take place at upcoming cracker barrels, committee meetings, and the tandem meeting will focus on the question, “where do we go from here?”, so the answer to this question will be more robust in next year’s report.
  2. Activities/Accomplishments in 2009
    1. Committee meetings and communications
      We have a committee meeting each national meeting and at least 1 crackerbarrel per year that are typically attended by 15-30 people, half committee members, half friends. We use the AAPT CPTYC listserv to communicate frequently and have set up our own website to share ideas and documents (until the national community sites are up and operational.
    2. Sessions and workshops at the W 2009 and Su 2009 meetings
      • Winter 2009
        • T04: Civic Engagement and Service Learning: The SENCER Project
        • W04: NTIPERS: Research-Based Conceptual Reasoning Tasks for Introductory Mechanics
        • W09: Cantilevers and Nanotech
        • IF Role of Community Colleges in Pre-High School Teacher Preparation
        • CC TYC Crackerbarrel
        • LA Project-Based Physics
        • LC Energy and the Environment
      • Summer 2009
        • W11 NTIPERS: Research-Based Conceptual Reasoning Tasks for Introductory Mechanics
        • W14 Potpourri of Simulations
        • W26 Energy in the 21st Century
        • AA Panel Discussion on TYC Issues
        • AF Teaching Physics in Urban Schools
        • EA New Faculty Workshop for TYC Faculty
        • HF Innovations in the TYC Curriculum
      • All workshops and sessions were well attended and audience participation is generally lively (when speakers leave enough time therefore.)
    3. Other committee activities and accomplishments
      We’ve offered to help with piloting new web features (especially the communities feature) and have done audio and video recording of plenaries and other general sessions with the goal of providing podcasts. We are still working through some of those logistics from the Ann Arbor meeting and hope to have a solid solution that works for the AAPT community by the DC meeting.
    4. Notable new ideas generated by the committee - N/A
  3. Recommendations (if any) to the AAPT Executive Board, with rationale
    Either ask for fewer things in this report or allow more than one page as there is not enough space to do an adequate job, please. Thank you!

David Weaver, Chair

Review Board Response

The Two Year College Committee has done an exemplary job in establishing workshops and meetings for TYC faculty. Their sponsorship of sessions and workshops at meetings covers a wide range of topics that are appropriate to both TYC and non-TYC faculty. Their establishment of a web site will enhance communication across the TYC community and shouldbe usedassist in recruiting new members. The 2010 and long range goals are consistent with AAPT’s mission and, if accomplished, will make significant contributions to the TYC physics community. I strongly recommend that the committee work with both the High School and Undergraduate Committees to examine ways to (1) make transitions in physics courses smoother between these levels and (2) to encourage talented students to become physics majors or minors.

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Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education


The goals of the CPUE for the past year of 2009 included organizing excellent sessions, workshops, and tutorials for the national meetings of the AAPT, and providing feedback and recommendations on statement of Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) as requested by the AAPT Executive Board. The CPUE sponsored and co-sponsored several well-attended sessions and workshops at the 2009 Winter and Summer Meetings, thereby fulfilling one its goals for 2009. The CPUE also has been worked on the CPUE Statement on Undergraduate Research and made a recommendation to the Executive Board, therefore partially fulfilling the other goal for 2009.

The goals for 2010 is to continue help organize excellent workshops, tutorials and sessions for AAPT 2010 meetings and to finalize the URE statement with rationale, based on the feedback from the AAPT Executive Board.

The long-range goal of our committee is to improve the undergraduate physics education by getting feedbacks from committee members, organizing excellent sessions, workshops, and tutorials for the national meetings of the AAPT, and also working closely with other AAPT committees and Executive Board.

Overview of Activity in 2009

Committee meetings were held at the Winter Meeting in Chicago on Feb 14th (4 of 9 members attended, along with at least 10 friends) and at the Summer Meeting in Ann Arbor on July 28th (9 of 9 members attended, along with at least 15 friends). In both meetings, in addition to getting ideas for the future AAPT workshops and sessions, vigorous discussions of the URE statement occurred. Everyone agreed on the importance of research experience for undergraduates, but differed in how the committee would word the statement to support such effort. A significant amount of email exchange on this topic occurred via the CPUE email listserv for more than half a year, with a lot of effort put by committee members and friends. The URE statement proposed below in the last part is the CPUE group accomplishment.

All the sessions and workshops sponsored by the CPUE were well attended (more than 50 for most of the sessions) and received very positive feedbacks. Most of the workshop organizers would like to continue their workshop based on the success and some of the organizers intend to organize follow-up sessions for the following AAPT meetings. The flyer idea used to promote CPUE sponsored workshops and sessions is well received as a success during the summer Ann Arbor meeting.

Recommendations to the AAPT Executive Board

The AAPT Committee on Physics Undergraduate Education (CPUE) recognizes the importance of research experience for undergraduate students would like to recommend the following statement to the AAPT Executive Board for possible adoption as the AAPT statement.

The Committee on Physics Undergraduate Education of the American Association of Physics Teachers urges that every physics and astronomy department provide its majors and potential physics majors with the opportunities and encouragement to engage in a meaningful and appropriate undergraduate research experience.

Lili Cui, Chair

Review Board Response

The Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education has done a very good job in 2009 sponsoring and co-sponsoring sessions and workshops at the National Meetings. The attendance was strong during the CPUE events this past year. It also seems that the committee meetings during the National Meeting were well attended, with a good number of friends participating.

The Executive Board appreciates the committee's work on the AAPT statement dealing with a research experience for undergraduate students. The recommendation you made was excellent. It is good to learn that so many people were interested in this topic, and had input both electronically, and at the committee meetings. This procedure led to a stronger statement that had wide support.

The Executive Board encourages area committees to take on projects or develop activities that are related to their area of expertise other than workshops and sessions at National Meetings. Your work on the statement on research experiences for undergraduate students is an example of this type of activity. The Board encourages CPUE to develop more of these types of goals during 2010. CPUE is an important committee that has a mission that could support many worthwhile activities.

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Committee on Professional Concerns

  1. 2009-2010 Goals
    1. The goals of the PC Committee for 2009 and 2010 have been and are to provide the AAPT with program content for the Annual Winter and Summer Meetings on topics related to the professional concerns of AAPT members.
    2. The PC Committee feels that it has accomplished this goal during 2009.
  2. Activities/Accomplishments in 2009
    1. The PC Committee met at both the Winter Meeting in Chicago and the Summer Meeting in Ann Arbor as scheduled.
      1. At the Winter Meeting in Chicago the PC Committee sponsored or co-sponsored the following sessions and workshops:
        • Researching the Use of Clickers in Physics Lectures
        • Professional Concerns and Possible Solutions
        • Workshop on Civic Engagement and Service Learning: The SENSER Project
        • Workshop on Mining the Hidden Web
        • Workshop on Negotiating a Successful Science Caree
      2. At the Summer Meeting in Ann Arbor the PC Committee sponsored or co-sponsored the following sessions and workshops:Crackerbarrel for Area Committee Chairs
        • Crackerbarrel for Professional Concerns of PER Graduate Students
        • Crackerbarrel for Professional Concerns of PER Faculty
        • Crackerbarrel for Professional Concerns of PER Solo Faculty
        • Status of Instructional Resource Specialists
        • Workshop on a New Methodology for Using Clickers in Physics Lectures.
    2. All of these Sessions and Workshops were successful in terms of both attendance and participation with the unfortunate exception on the Crackerbarrel for Area Committee Chairs which attracted only three Committee Chairs.

      The PER Professional Concerns Crackerbarrels were particularly successful in drawing very large crowds and lively discussions. These popular sessions should certainly be repeated in the future. This year the PC Committee also experimented with actually providing crackers and snacks for some of the Crackerbarrels to enhance their informal nature and observed some benefits from the experiment.

Robert Beck Clark, Chair

Review Board Response

The Committee on Professional Concerns sponsored an appropriate number of appropriate events at both national meetings in 2009. All save one (a Crackerbarrel for Area Chairs) were (according to the Committee’s report) well attended, in some cases especially well attended. The PER Crackerbarrels, which have been a feature at several recent meetings, evidently have met with repeated success. Further, the notion of providing actual crackers at a Crackerbarrel is interesting and appears to have had a useful affect. (Though it is not explicitly identified as such, that idea appears to be a suggestion to the Board.)

At the same time, the Committee’s goals for 2009 and the future are more narrowly defined than would be implied by the expectation that, to quote from the Area Chairs’ Handbook, Area Committees will serve AAPT “as both think tanks and work groups in their areas of interest”. From the report, it is hard to tell if there was any communication among the Committee members outside the national meetings. It is also hard to tell if there were any activities in which the Committee could impact the members of AAPT beyond the organizing of events for the national meetings or even any indication of brainstorming about possible activities of that type. Finally, though Crackerbarrels should provide a potentially rich source for generating suggestions to the Board, there is no enumeration

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Committee on Research in Physics Education

  1. Goals
    1. As has been the case for the past few years, the RiPE committee did not identify specific goals for the past year. The mission of the committee (to meet the needs of the AAPT Physics Education Research (PER) community as well as serving the broader AAPT membership through outreach) provided direction for the Committee’s activities. The primary mechanism through which the Committee pursued this mission was the organization of sessions at national meetings. It is important to note that the absence of specific goals does not mean that the members of the PER community are not grappling with any issues that concern AAPT. Rather, since the establishment of the PER Topical Group, its elected leadership group, PERLOC, has assumed many of the tasks that were historically handled by RiPE. These range from selecting the organizers of the annual PERC to establishing policies on publication,constructing mechanisms for communication within the field, etc.
  2. Activities/Accomplishments in 2009
    1. Committee meetings and communications - The RiPE committee meetings at Chicago and Ann Arbor were well attended by committee members and many friends (40 to 50). The RiPE committee has a listserv for communication among the Committee members. (There are other listervs in wide use in the PER community that serve for general communication.) Committee members were consulted about workshop and session proposals.
    2. Sessions and workshops at the Winter 2009 and Summer 2009 meetings in Chicago, RiPE sponsored or co-sponsored 8 workshops and 10 sessions including Crackerbarrels for PER grad students, faculty and solo faculty. In Ann Arbor, RiPE sponsored or co-sponsored 14 workshops and 12 sessions including Crackerbarrels. In addition to the sessions officially sponsored by RiPE, there were sessions on PER at each meeting that were created from contributed papers. RiPE sessions continue to be very well attended and engaging for both physics education researchers and the broader AAPT community. Discussions are lively and productive. The committee also sponsors the Town Hall meeting for PERTG, which has been well attended as well.
    3. Other committee activities and accomplishments
      1. RiPE supports the 2009 Physics Education Research Conferences (PERC), although this function has been largely assumed by PERLOC. The 2009 conference was held immediately after the Ann Arbor AAPT meeting. The theme was Organizers Tetyana Antimirova, Nathaniel Lasry, and Marina Milner-Bolotin invited several speakers from outside the traditional PER community to address the theme: “ conference format again featured targeted poster sessions, workshops, and roundtable discussions. A peer-reviewed conference proceedings was published and comPADRE again hosted the web site with conference information.
  3. Recommendations (if any) to the AAPT Executive Board, with rationale.
  4. In Chicago, attendees at the RiPE committee meeting voiced several complaints about the logistics of the meeting, most of which stemmed from the fact that the meeting was held jointly with the much larger AAAS meeting. Many attendees did not feel the benefits of the joint meeting compensated for the inconvenience of having sessions held in rooms that were far apart, often too small, and scheduled to meet the needs of the larger organization. It was noted that the timing and location of the poster sessions seemed to be improving. At Ann Arbor, most attendees expressed satisfaction with the organization, facilities and support from staff. In particular, the arrangements made for the poster sessions were appreciated. Many PER sessions were scheduled in the same room, which was also appreciated. The major challenge for recent and upcoming meetings continues to be the high demand for sponsorship of sessions and workshops such that even with the majority of sessions and workshops being cosponsored, not all requests can be accommodated. The RiPE committee hopes the Executive Board continues to consider mechanisms for addressing this problem. Another issue the RiPE committee urges the Board to address is the policy that limits the number of oral presentations AAPT members can make in a year or in an individual meeting. Several people pointed out that this policy has not been applied consistently, which was felt to be unfair. The general feeling was there needed to be greater flexibility. Several suggestions were made including: waive the restriction for non-AAPT-members who are attending to give an invited talk (to try involve such people as much as possible); loosen the restriction to apply only to sessions sponsored by the same committee (some people are invited
    by two committees to talk about very different topics); do not count panels as invited talks; have the limits apply only at the annual level, not at the level of a single meeting (now, more than ever, some people can afford to attend only one meeting a year and they should be able to maximize their participation).

Paula Heron, Chair

Review Board Response

The relationship between RiPE and PERLOC should be made clearer. Their separate and common purposes should be stated as well as each of their contributions to the AAPT mission and goals. The interest in this committee and its activities are very high in the AAPT community. The interaction between PER researchers and physics teachers is valuable. Their listserv continues to be an effective communications mechanism for the community, especially between meetings. I believe that future reports should address future plans for activities by the committee. The recommendations to the Executive Board are appropriate and should be addressed by those Board members responsible for meetings. The issues raised are in continual discussion and the policies are continually being reviewed. These must be balanced by the desire to allow maximal participation by the membership at large and by budgetary considerations.

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Committee on Science Education for the Public

No Report Submitted

Richard Flarend, Chair

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Committee on Space Science and Astronomy

  1. Goals
    1. Our 2009 Goals included:
      1. Providing a number of IYA-related events at national meetings. (fully reached)
      2. Increasing the number of members and the activity level of existing members by providing a framework for participation. (still ongoing)
    2. Our 2010 Goals include:
      1. Successfully integrating a large number of new members into the committee
      2. Creation of a document clearly specifying the expectations of committee members. This will likely specify the organization of either one or two sessions while being on the committee as well as meeting attendance expectations and suggestions for further involvement.
  2. Activities/Accomplishments in 2009
    1. CSSA Meetings: Chicago (2/15/2009) and Ann Arbor (7/15/2009)
    2. Sessions and Workshops
      1. Chicago Workshops: Seeing the Invisible Universe, Improving Student Learning in your Astronomy Class, Exploring Beyond the Solar System
      2. Chicago Sessions: Simulating the Universe on your Computer, Astronomy Labs & Project Workshops, Frontiers in Space Science & Astronomy, New Results in Astronomy Education Research, Highlights of the International Year of Astronomy
      3. Ann Arbor Workshops: The Physics of Supernovae, Teaching Astronomy through Active Learning, Critical Thinking in Introductory Astronomy
      4. Ann Arbor Sessions: Frontiers in Variable Star Astronomy (~30), Astronomy at the University of Michigan (~40), Innovations in Teaching Astronomy (~50), Highlights of the International Year of Astronomy
      5. Ann Arbor Crackerbarrel: Web Resources for Teaching Astronomy (~30)
    3. Other committee activities and accomplishments
      1. We participated in the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) in a number of ways:
        • Janelle Bailey organized the creation of “famous astronomer trading cards. Several members and friends of the committee participated in writing paragraph summaries of the astronomers’ contributions for the backs of the cards. Two series of 18 cards each were distributed with the September and November issues of The Physics Teacher.
        • Showings of the “400 Years of the Telescope” in Ann Arbor, and
        • both meetings offered sessions on IYA.
    4. Notable new ideas generated by the committee
      1. Substantial discussion occurred over the small number of members involved in organizing the majority of committee sponsored events and how we might increase the number of people involved in our committee. This initiative took several forms:
        • A document was created and circulated on the listserve for new committee members and friends wishing to sponsor an invited or contributed session. This “roadmap” contained a bulleted list of all of the details which must be addressed as well as form letters for inviting and thanking speakers.
        • Communication occurred with AAPT management regarding replacing committee members who were no longer AAPT members and providing replacement suggestions to the nominating committee.
  3. Recommendations to the AAPT Executive board
    1. It is desirable that the committee nomination and appointment procedure be more transparent. A hard-working friend of a committee is likely to become a hard-working member and we need to make sure these people get on the committee.

Kevin Lee, Chair

Review Board Response

The Committee on Space Science and Astronomy provided a great service to AAPT with all of their special events during the International Year of Astronomy. The Famous Astronomer Trading Cards were especially popular with our members.

To build up attendance and participation in committee events, we suggest that you begin to collect a list of Friends of the Committee, whom you can call upon to assist in your various activities. This is also an excellent source of future committee members.

AAPT plans to take a leadership role in the development of national physics standards, so we suggest that you work with the High School and Undergraduate Committees to assure that Astronomy standards are included and to develop quality Astronomy courses, especially in colleges where there is no Astronomy major.

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Committee on Teacher Preparation

The Committee on Teacher Preparation continues to provide opportunities for the greater AAPT community to be actively involved in activities that support improvements in the preparation of teachers of physics. Working closely with organizations such as PTEC and PhysTEC, the CTP remains a strong voice in the efforts to better prepare teachers in the instructional strategies that research has shown to be effective in improving student learning.
 Both the winter and summer 2009 meetings of the CTP were well attended; 24 committee members and friends of the committee attending the meeting in Chicago and 21 attended in Ann Arbor. Of significant importance at both meetings was discussion of the work being done by PhysTEC and PTEC, as well as the National Task Force on Physics Teacher Preparation.  These discussions emphasized the need to continue to identify exemplary programs and materials that enhance physics teacher preparation, with specific attention given to the anticipated publication of books that highlight best practices and research on teacher preparation.

At both of the committee meetings that were held during 2009, there was thoughtful discussion of the workshops and sessions that would be sponsored and co-sponsored by the committee to ensure the topics addressed would best meet the needs of those engaged in teacher preparation as well as the larger AAPT community. Organizers reported that the sessions were well attended, with attendees posing questions that further probed the work presented in the talks. Similarly, the organizers of the workshops felt that they were well attended and received by the participants. The number of requests for sponsorship or co-sponsorship for both sessions and workshops has been steadily increasing, making it necessary for more of each to be co-sponsored and not solely sponsored by the Committee on Teacher Preparation. A positive outcome of this collaboration is best illustrated in two sessions scheduled for the Summer 2010 AAPT meeting to be held in Portland, OR. Multiple Models for Mentoring I and II are being co-sponsored by the Committees on Teacher Preparation, Physics in High Schools, Physics in Pre-High School Education, Minorities in Physics and Women in Physics. This joint-sponsorship will provide a variety of viewpoints from which the role of mentors and the importance of mentoring will be examined. In addition, the cooperation across committees will provide a venue for bringing together the various groups who engage in not only the preparation but also the ongoing support of new physics teachers.

The CTP listserv continues to be used by members and friends of the committee to disseminate information that is relevant to the work of the committee. The listserv provides an opportunity to share insight into recent research findings, to stimulate discussions and dialogue on current teacher preparation issues, and for committee members and friends of the committee to remain in contact between meetings. The CTP continues to encourage AAPT members interested in the preparation of physics teachers to become active contributors to the CTP listserv and to attend the CTP meetings at the annual meetings.

Donna Messina, Chair

Review Board Response

The CTP listserve is a valuable asset to anyone involved in teacher preparation and continually provides useful information and related reports. Their cooperation with PTEC, the National Task Force on Teacher Preparation and PhysTEC should continue to provide teacher training institutions information on the latest teaching strategies and training techniques. I encourage the CTP to find additional ways to disseminate this information, such as working closely with ComPADRE to make appropriate web materials available. The CTP sessions continue to be well attended. Their cooperation with other AAPT committees should continue to enhance the quality and attendance of their sponsored sessions. I believe that future reports should include a clearer statement of their purpose and how the activities achieve the goals of the committee.

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Committee on Women in Physics

No Report Submitted

Mary Kay Patton, Chair

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Committee on Interests of Senior Physicists

Many of our AAPT members may never have seen or in some cases heard of the work of former president Dick Crane. The Crane Tribute went over fairly well for those in attendance. Regrettably, some of the proposed plans for highlighting his work did not come to pass, but to those of us who knew him, recognized the picture of his sculpture on the cover of the Guide. There were great papers on Crane at Caltech, Crane at Michigan, and Crane as an educator.

Meetings of past officers of the AAPT at our Summer Meetings have been meaningful and useful and we would like them to continue in an inexpensive format.

The idea of enriching physics in the classroom is seen as a particularly good task for the committee to take on as a long term project. Physics in Perspective might serve as a starting point for ideas. This would, we are sure, work well in conjunction with the Committee on the History and Philosophy of Physics.

Another effort that could be kept on the front burners would be to seek out physics content papers, encourage more physics content papers, and make known to the general audience at our Meetings the many that are in the Program. Perhaps selecting them out of the huge number of pedagogical papers might make them more visible.

Topical conferences such as those recently on General Relativity, Computational Physics, and Advanced Laboratories (Ann Arbor) play important roles in identifying the AAPT as vitally interested in higher-level physics subjects. Holding such topical conferences in close affiliation with national meetings should work to our advantage.

Tom Rossing currently at Stanford suggested an effort could be made to encourage and assist emeriti to be visiting professors at colleges that need teachers. The Danforth Foundation used to do this. Are there some others that we do not know about? There are a lot of smaller colleges that could make good use of experienced physics teachers and would reward them with a modest honorarium. Tom’s life has been much enriched by teaching at University of Edinburgh, Seoul National University, and especially at Stanford since he retired.

Dick Jacob's recently expressed interest in developing an organized bulletin board for such opportunities for retirees (or nearly retirees) to professionally contribute to global or national needs at all levels. For example, Dick Peterson just returned from 5 weeks of teaching in Kenya. Recently, Chris Chiaverina and Brian Jones were involved in international activities as well.

We invited Jan Tobochnik, AJP editor, to come and talk to us about AJP and the difficulty in rousing/choosing strong, interesting articles – especially in historical, cultural, or experimental areas. The discussion was most informative and we hope to do what we can to encourage more papers that are “Devoted to Instructional and Cultural Aspects of Physical Science” as it used to read on the front cover.

John Hubisz, Chair

Review Board Response

The efficiency of the Committee on Interests of Senior Physicists is reflected in the annual report being submitted before being asked. As a result, the format of the report is different so the scoring table was not used in this review. The Executive Board is impressed by the many great ideas the committee has addressed and is considering. Tom Rossing's idea to encourage and assist emeriti potentially could help many of our members. Dick Jacob's idea is complimentary to Tom's. We encourage the committee to work out the details on these projects and bring them to the Executive Board.

The Executive Board has it as one of its goals to increase the physics content at National Meetings. We know this has been a goal of the committee for many years and these efforts may have influenced the Executive Board. The logistics of how to accomplish this is complicated. We encourage recommendations to the Executive Board how this can be achieved by changes in the meeting preparation procedures.

The Committee on Interests of Senior Physicists has the potential to do important work for the association. You are encouraged to undertake projects and develop recommendations to the Executive Board.  We want to develop a relationship where the Association can take full advantage of this committee’s abilities.

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