AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers

Todd Leif2014 National Executive Board Election Candidate for At-Large Two-Year College Representative

Todd R. Leif

Chairman, Department of Natural Sciences,
Cloud County Community College, Concordia, KS 66901
tleif@cloud.edu

Education

  • BA. Hastings College,1984, Physics and Mathematics
  • MAT Hastings College, 1989, Physics Education
  • Ph.D. Kansas State University, 2008, Science Education.


Professional Experience

  • Professor of Physics, Cloud County Community College, Concordia, KS 1990-Present
  • Physics Teacher, Hastings High School, Hastings, NE, 1986-1989
  • Lecturer, Texas A&M University, Summers 1997-2004
  • Adjunct Instructor, Kearney State College, Kearney, N, 1987
  • Adjunct Instructor, Salina Area Vocational Technical College, 1990
  • Adjunct Instructor, Concordia High School, Concordia, KS, 2006 


Honors

  • American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Fellow, 2014
  • American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Distinguished Service Citation Award, 2010
  • National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Excellence Award (NISOD), 2014
  • Cloud County Community College Departmental Assessment of Student Learning Award, 2011
  • National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Excellence Award, (NISOD), 2001


Memberships

  • American Association of Physics Teachers
  • Arkansas-Oklahoma-Kansas Section AAPT
  • National Science Teachers Association
  • Kansas Community College Chemistry Teachers Association


AAPT Activities

  • Nebraska Section Member, 1984-1990
  • AOK Section Member, 1994-Present
  • AOK Section Representative, 1997-2014
  • Committee on Physics in Two Year Colleges, member 2003-2007, Co-chair 2005-2007
  • PTRA 2006
  • Co-PI “New Faculty Experience for Two Year College Physics Teachers” NSF Grant 2008-2011
  • Co-PI “New Faculty Experience for Two Year College Physics Teachers” NSF Grant 2011-Present
Committee Appointments:
  • Committee on Physics and Technology; member 2006-2010
  • Membership and Benefits Committee, 2007-2009
  • AAPT National Nominations Committee, 2008-2010
  • AAPT Meetings Committee, 2009-2012

Commentary

Teaching at a Two Year College (TYC) provides numerous challenges which are totally different than teaching at either a University or a High School setting. These challenges are also a blessing as often times a TYC instructor has the freedom to “experiment” with teaching methods and curriculum. Teaching at Cloud County Community College I have found that I should promote teaching physics which helps direct students toward an individual understanding of the multiple ways to represent their world. By using their own words, pictures, graphs, data, equations, and relationships, we allow them to wonder, discover, question, and solve. Getting them there doesn’t require long boring professorial droning; rather their learning should occur through experiences. My philosophy has been developed because of my many interactions with other AAPT members from the nearly 25 years of attending meetings and working alongside such great teachers and colleagues. In taking the lead from some great TYC mentors like Thomas O’Kuma, Curt Hieggelke, Mary Beth Monroe and others, my current work on the AAPT TYC-New Faculty Experience project, Co-directed by Scott Schultz and myself, we are attempting to promote sustainable change across the Two Year College physics teaching community. My direct work on the AAPT Executive Board can only enhance these efforts. While AAPT has invested in a number of initiatives to better achieve their mission “to enhance the understanding and appreciation of physics through teaching.” these initiatives have been created specifically for Two Year College teachers, by Two Year College teachers, and they are beginning to reach a significant number of instructors at Two Year College institutions nationwide.