2014 National Executive Board Election Candidate for At-Large Two-Year College Representative
Sherry L. Savrda
Department of Physical Sciences, Seminole State College of Florida, Sanford, FL 32773
As a graduate of a two-year college, I have first-hand knowledge of the important role that community colleges and other two-year institutions play in physics education. Many students in two-year institutions have no other avenues by which to begin their college education, either because of finances, family situations, or lack of a strong high school background. Yet many of these students, once entering college, find their calling and excel. AIP data shows that the number of two-year colleges offering physics has increased over the past decade, with 94% offering the algebra/trig-based course and 79% offering the calculus-based course. Two-year college enrollments in physics courses top 215,000 students, accounting for about 30% of total US physics enrollment. More importantly, the proportion of Hispanic and non-Asian minorities taking their first physics course is higher at two-year colleges than at bachelor’s degree-granting institutions.
Those figures help emphasize the importance of AAPT’s role in two-year college physics education. AAPT must continue to support two-year college faculty as they strive to maintain quality physics instruction in light of the current pressures in higher education, including declining budgets and business-minded organizational models. At the same time it is important that two-year college faculty support AAPT, so that the organization can continue to be the prime authoritative voice for what constitutes quality physics instruction. AAPT’s past work in supporting the Two-Year College Workshops, the Two-Year College New Faculty Experience, and other initiatives have influenced a generation of two-year college faculty. I look forward to continuing to work with AAPT to be a part of the organization’s future role in shaping quality physics education.