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Executive Board Minutes - April 2004 (Part 2)

April 24-25, 2004 (Continued)
College Park, Maryland

29. Task Force on National Meetings continued. (See these Minutes Item 13.)
Holbrow moved that the Board approve the motion as prepared by Nelson. R. Peterson seconded the motion. The motion follows.

The Task Force on AAPT Meetings will consist of four members and a chair. The four members to be selected by the chair will represent the diversity of the organization (level, geographic location, etc.) The chair will be selected by the AAPT President.

The Task Force is charged with gathering data (Table 1), presenting options, and making recommendations (Table 2) for future AAPT Meetings.

Table 1 (Data to include for the last three years)

Registration (full, one day, etc.)
Exhibitor’s Participation in Show
Number of Papers (Invited, Contributed, Poster)
Number of Workshops Including Attendance
Input from Members Regarding Concerns/Desires
Input from Meeting Attendees Regarding Concerns/Desires
Input from Area Chairs Regarding Concerns/Desires
Input from Recent/Present Board Members Regarding Concerns/Desires
Input from Vendors Regarding Concerns/Desires
Input from Appropriate AAPT Staff Regarding Concerns/Desires

Table 2

Site Selection
Site Selection Procedure
Date(s) of Meeting
Length of Meeting
Format of Meeting (National, Region, etc.)
Number and Type of Meetings Per Year
Expectation of Local Support
Clearly Articulated Duties (Office/Area Chair/Officer)
Number and Type of Papers/Workshops
Procedure(s) for Selecting/Assigning Papers/Workshops
Interactions with Other Societies (APS, AIP, etc)
“Paper Sort” Procedure and Responsibilities


The Task Force on National Meetings will present interim reports July 21, 2004 and October 1, 2004 with the Final Report due January 1, 2005.

During the subsequent discussion, two friendly amendments were accepted. The number of members on the Task Force will be “about 5”. The Board authorizes an operating budget of up to $10,000 (to be taken from the Klopsteg Fund) providing for a stand-alone, face-to-face meeting of the members of the Task Force.

The motion passed unanimously.

Iona accepted his appointment as Chair of the Task Force.

30. Nominating Committee in 2005.
The Section Representatives in January 2004 selected two members to serve on the AAPT Nominating Committee in 2005: Jane Flood and Francis Tam. The Board authorized Jim Nelson as AAPT President to appoint three members to the committee from a prioritized list of members. In addition, Nelson will designate one member to be chair. Monroe will send Nelson a copy of the letter recognizing the appointment of the members to the committee.

31. 2004 Election Tellers.
The Board recommended the appointment by the President of Joe Meyer as Election Teller and Lila Adair as Assistant Teller for 2004.

32. Award Stipends.
Holbrow, as Chair of the Awards Committee and in consultation with the members of the committee, presented in writing to the Board the following motion with detailed rationale:

The AAPT Awards Committee moves the AAPT Executive Board authorize and instruct
Part 1: that the award stipends are ranked as follows:
  • That the Oersted award continue to be designated the AAPT’s most prestigious award and have the largest monetary stipend.
  • That the Richtmyer, Millikan, Klopsteg, and Phillips monetary awards be equal to each other and less than that of the Oersted award.
  • That the stipends for the two Teaching Excellence awards be equal.
Part 2: that the AAPT Executive Officer
  • undertake to raise money from vendors to support the Teaching Excellence award stipends
  • establish an endowment fund for the Phillips award and for the Oersted award and actively solicit contributions from AAPT members and other possible donors with the goal of fully endowing these two prizes by 2007.
Part 3: that effective July 1, 2004 the stipend amounts be as follows:
  • $10,000 for the Oersted award
  • $7,500 [each] for the Richtmyer, Millikan, Klopsteg, and Phillip awards
  • $3,000 each for the Teaching Excellence awards

Holbrow explained that the proposal was essentially the same as presented to the Board during its January 2004 meeting. He emphasized that the Awards Committee was quite serious about the fund raising aspects of the proposal. Khoury expressed that the fund raising aspect would require a dedicated developments staff. He did not feel this was a realistic goal. Holbrow advised that in the opinion of the committee members the endowment for the Oersted and the Phillips Awards could be obtained with help from the AAPT membership and even previous award recipients. The Board asked Khoury to research and report possibilities for attaining these funds.

Khoury commended Holbrow and other members of the Awards Committee for the preparation of the report, saying it was very analytic. The motion passed unanimously.

33. Exams Director.
Nelson as Chair of the Search Committee for an AAPT Exams Director reported that the committee would soon present its recommendation to the Board for formal action. (See January 2004 Minutes of the Executive Board, Item 21.)

34. Structure of National Meetings continued.
D. Peterson, in consultation with Carol Heimpel, prepared three motions concerning the structure of national meetings. (See these Minutes, Item 12.) The motions were presented individually.  D. Peterson moved that the

  1. Board support staff and program chair efforts to reduce the number of invited sessions proposed by each area committee. Chabay seconded the motion. D. Peterson described the several pressures exerted on the program chairs in the scheduling of sessions for the Sacramento meeting were due to the good job of the area committees and the host committee in preparing sessions. Khoury asked that some context be provided in the report of this motion. Holbrow explained that the motion intended to reduce the congestion produced by an increasing number of invited papers, which undermines the quality of the meeting. Heller added that the motion sought to address the membership frustration experienced at previous meetings while maintaining the quality of sessions. The motion passed with a vote tally of 8 yes and 3 no.
  2. Number of “first author” papers presented at each national meeting be limited to one. Poster papers and coauthored papers will not be limited. R. Peterson seconded the motion. Chabay asked how the motion would be enforced. D. Peterson explained that while the Program Chair is responsible for the preparation of the meeting schedule, Heimpel is the one who keeps track of the presentations and presenters. When problems are detected, she contacts the Program Chairs. These Chairs can make exceptions. The motion passed with one abstention.
  3. Board support efforts to encourage the number of poster papers and increase their visibility and prestige within our meetings. Robertson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

35. PER Electronic Journal.
In January 2004 the AAPT Committee on Research in Physics Education asked Bob Beichner to investigate the possibility of working with the APS to publish an all electronic PER journal, possibly under the Physical Review umbrella. In subsequent conversations among Beichner, members of the APS Editorial Office, B. Khoury and Jan Tobochnik, it was agreed that a joint effort of the APS and the AAPT possibly could address the needs of the PER community for an additional journal. In an effort to keep AAPT Board members informed of PER activities, Khoury shared a draft document outlining a plan for initiating an electronic PER journal. 

The proposed electronic PER journal, Physical Review Special Topics – Physics Education Research, would be published by the APS and jointly sponsored by the APS Forum on Education and the AAPT. This journal would not replace the publication of PER articles within AJP. The document proposed that classroom and curricular applications of PER would be published in AJP and technical articles would be published in the electronic PER journal. The electronic journal would not have a subscription fee, but contributing authors would be charged $500 per article. 

During the Board discussion of the proposed electronic PER journal, Khoury pointed out that the document did not include a viable business plan to maintain the publication. He opined that the community needs more convergence on the matter before asking AAPT for co-sponsorship of the publication.

Tobochnik expressed that it was a big problem that the PER community could not converge on the issue of an all-electronic journal. With respect to publications within the AJP he reported that he had not seen evidence for a large number of PER papers. He and Karen Cummings, the new PER Section Editor, are consistent in their thinking. They agree that PER papers published in the main body of the AJP and in the PER section of the AJP should appeal to a general audience, not just the PER community.

Heller advised that the PER community is very diverse and will continue to have differences. Therefore, he recommended that one should not use the term “PER community”. Chabay stated that the public needs to know that the AJP only accepts 25%-30% of its submissions while research journals accept 70%.

Mamola asked if the proposed electronic journal would be free of charge. Khoury answered yes, and gave two reasons: (1) many libraries would not subscribe to the electronic journal if there were a fee attached and (2) the proposed journal was being modeled after the national labs journal that is distributed free. He added that the originators of the proposed journal wanted to make a wide impact. Tobochnik said it was important that the AAPT be involved with this effort, not just the APS.

36. Judy Franz.
Judy Franz, Executive Officer for APS, arrived during the Board’s discussion of the electronic PER journal and therefore she began her report with comments addressing this issue.

  • PER Journal. Franz explained that the APS did not initiate the effort to create the electronic journal. The idea had been brought to Marty Blume in the APS Editorial Office and the APS was taking the proposal seriously. It was the feeling of the APS that the effort should be a cooperative effort with the AAPT. While leaders within the PER community were talking about forming a topical group within the APS, it will be up to the APS Council to make this decision. Franz said that if 200 people petition for the formation of a PER topical group, she could not see the Council turning it down. No previous requests for new topical groups had been denied.

    Franz stated that the PER community is developing some leaders and some structure to the group. She advised the AAPT to think on its role in this development. Heller advised that the PER community was trying to establish a governance but at the present time there were really no one who could speak as a representative of the community.

  • APS and AAPT Joint Efforts. Franz reported most everything the APS is doing in physics education is a joint effort with the AAPT. She noted that Joe Redish, a member of the APS Committee on Education and active AAPT member, upon receiving a list of cooperative activities between APS and AAPT from Khoury, was surprised by the number. Nelson asked Khoury to provide the Board with a copy of this list. Khoury explained that he had also sent a copy of this list to Sue Otwell, APS Board, upon her request. Robertson suggested that the list should be published in the journals of both organizations.

  • PhysTEC. Franz announced that Fred Stein, Education Director and Principal Investigator for PhysTEC, would retire September 1, 2004. She asked for help in identifying good candidates for this position. 
    Franz reported that PhysTEC was doing well and its leadership team seemed pleased. The APS is running a capital campaign for funds to support new PhysTEC sites. The campaign had raised almost 50% of the funds sought. Nelson inquired why the AAPT was not a part of this effort. Franz explained that there had been many problems during the previous fund raising activities by both the APS and the AAPT. Although these activities were before her time as CEO, some APS members had memories of these difficulties. Nelson expressed thanks for Darlene Logen’s involvement in helping to get campaign funds for PTRA. Franz advised Nelson to also seek financial help for PTRA from the AIP.

  • Joint Commission on Graduate Education. Franz described the Commission on Graduate Education as the most recent joint effort between APS and AAPT. The commission has nine members with some members serving for special reasons. One member is a plasma physicist and another is a bio physicist. Biophysics is really an interdisciplinary study and the needs of its graduates are very different from traditional physics graduate students. Therefore, it was important to have this person on the commission. The response to this need will be an important issue. Franz wrote a letter to the chairs of the 25 elite physics departments and asked for their reaction to the formation of the commission. Their feedback is forthcoming. 

  • Congressional Lobby Efforts. APS has set up a lobbying group of about 30 physicists. When these physicists are in town, the APS arranges for them to visit with Congressional members. The lobbying effort is also conducted during the New Faculty Workshop. APS had found the effort to be mutually informative. Franz advised the AAPT to do something similar. In response to a question from Stone, she said the topics discussed depended on what items were on the national budget, but they normally tried to ask for specific things. 

37. APS Forum on Education.
Nelson appointed C. Holbrow as AAPT representative to the APS Forum on Education.

38. 4U Task Force.
Holbrow explained he had not received a report from the Task Force on Four-Year Colleges and Universities, although one had been requested for this meeting of the Board.

39. Interdisciplinary Conference.
Although Khoury reported discussions with leaders of science organizations concerning physics first and high school laboratories, the conversations had not sought the leaders’ interest in organizing an interdisciplinary conference. Hein reported that he had attended a conference addressing high school laboratories and felt that this could be one issue addressed during the conference.

In response to a question from Heller, Nelson explained that NSF would like for science organizations to share what they have learned with regard to how students learn science. During the Officers’ visit in December 2002, the NSF suggested that the AAPT might help convene an interdisciplinary conference for this purpose. In response, the AAPT Executive Board approved the organizing plan for an interdisciplinary conference prepared by a subcommittee of the Board and authorized an operating budget of $5000 from the Klopsteg Fund. (See August 2003 Minutes, Item 33.) Monroe commented that in her opinion the AAPT had not acted in a timely manner to make this effort happen.

40. Long-Term Pricing Strategies for Library Subscribers.
Library subscriptions to AAPT’s electronic journals give physics faculty at colleges and universities access to the online versions of AJP and TPT without a need to have a personal subscription or personal membership in the AAPT. Khoury in his report to the Board stated that collected data indicate that thousands of individuals are using the electronic versions, often through campus libraries. The AIP and the APS, in an effort to minimize their income losses, have implemented “tier pricing”. Tier pricing adjusts the rate for a library subscription to the number of users that may have journal access through that library. Although the AAPT journals are very different from those of AIP and APS, the AAPT staff are monitoring the effectiveness of the economic strategy.

During Board discussion, Khoury explained while tier pricing is tied to the level of research activities conducted on university campuses, it is not clear what basis AAPT would use for its tier pricing. Tobochnik was not aware of associations comparable to the AAPT that have implemented tier pricing. He added that the AAPT membership and journal subscription are tied much more closely than other organizations. The AAPT needs to identify other reasons for membership in addition to journal subscriptions. Heller commented that people should join the association as a credential for being a member of the physics teaching community. Hein expressed that physics departments should make AAPT membership a requirement of tenure.

Iona recommended that the AAPT should identify journals published by other organizations, not necessarily with an education base that are comparable to the AJP and TPT. R. Peterson asked if the AAPT had information that would report downloading usage of library subscriptions. His perception is that a person who downloads online journals prefers the print copy of the journal. Tobochnik explained that the reports given to him indicate popularity of articles, not usage by institution size and type. At the conclusion of the discussion, Nelson asked Khoury to research journals and organizations comparable to the AAPT and to collect data correlating usage of online journals to institution by size and type.

Monroe and Hein, CoPIs, reported that the project directors were completing the Final Report of SPIN-UP/TYC. Ten Case Studies of exemplary physics programs at two-year colleges and Findings of the AIP Background Survey were published in booklet form and disseminated. Board members were given copies of these during their January 2004 meeting.

The project will submit a request for a second no-cost extension to January 2005 in order to conduct additional site visits to technical colleges with successful physics programs and collect information regarding the success rate for physics student transfers from community colleges to four-year institutions. 

42. ComPADRE.
Khoury reported that the ComPADRE proposal asking for a continuation of funding was submitted to the NSF by its April deadline, subsequent to Board authorization. Final copies of the proposal are available upon request. 

43. Response to Five-Year Announcer Review.
During the AAPT Winter 2004 meeting of the Executive Board, Tom O’Kuma presented the report from the Announcer Review Committee (O’Kuma, Chair; Gerald Taylor, Ann Brandon). Following discussion of the report, the President asked Khoury, Announcer Editor, to prepare a response. The written response was included in the April 2004 Board Packet (See Packet, Item IIIG.) 

Khoury expressed that he agreed with all recommendations and in his written response, he addressed each recommendation. In his oral summary of the response, he highlighted the following changes to be made:

  • AAPT project directors will be invited to write articles describing their accomplishments.
  • Khoury will broaden the topics by reporting issues not in competition with the AJP or TPT.
  • Khoury will work with AAPT members in other countries to report their country’s activities in physics education.
  • All of the content of the Announcer is printed on the AAPT website but is not organized by the same format as the print copy. Khoury will talk with O’Kuma to determine if the committee felt the web presence should be a reflection of the print copy. Robertson suggested that AAPT could add a picture of the Announcer and provide links from the Announcer’s Table of Contents.
  • The review committee recommended that the Editor should be a physicist in the national office. Khoury explained that that is now the case since he is the Editor. Khoury’s impression of the recommendation was that the review committee wanted to make sure that additional staff used to address the committee’s recommendations was a physicist. D. Peterson expressed that parts of the review seemed to imply that the editor should be a staff physicist.

Nelson asked Khoury to prepare for the Board a summary of recommendations emanating from this discussion that were not included in the report from the review committee. Khoury will prepare a summary of the review, in consultation with O’Kuma, to be published in the Announcer. The review summary will also express thanks to the members of the Announcer Review Committee.

44. CCLI Program continued.
Holbrow presented the following resolution to be communicated by letter to the CCLI program of the NSF:

“The AAPT Executive Board has discussed the prospects of changes in the NSF’s CCLI program. 

The Board believes that this program has been of unusual benefit in upgrading and innovating undergraduate physics teaching/learning in physics programs of two-year colleges, four-year colleges, and universities. CCLI has been especially valuable for improving laboratory and hands-on experiences of students. 

The AAPT Executive Board on behalf of it’s members strongly urges NSF to see that changes in the CCLI program continue to strengthen support for these aspects of the program’s contribution to innovation at the local level as well as at the national level.” 

Heller objected to the word “innovation,” saying that once this term is used, one has to ask what is new in the physics program. Almost nothing is an innovation and NSF is trying to get away from this view. The Board should convey that its members value the impact of CCLI in the past. The members want support for activities within their own contexts; things done before with a new twist. Holbrow replied that the resolution was asking for NSF support of local innovations. 

Khoury saw two approaches in preparing the letter to the NSF. The first, and possibly more attractive. approach was to write an upbeat letter reflecting how the CCLI program improves physics teaching. The second approach, somewhat more subtle, was to state what should be emphasized and what should be tweaked. Holbrow explained that the NSF has cut back its support on exactly what he tried to describe in the draft resolution. He emphasized that it was urgent that the NSF protect and expand its support of local innovation. 

It was agreed that Holbrow and Heller would prepare a letter expressing these views. The letter would be mailed to the NSF after Board members had been given an opportunity for review and comment.

45. World Year of Physics, 2005.
Stone reported that a lot of promotional materials for the World Year of Physics had been prepared for the commemoration. The materials have been well received. Credit was given to the APS. Stone attended two preparation meetings for the WYP. He noted that 70 people from 30 different countries attended the second meeting and shared their commitments and projects planned for 2005. As one example of planned activities, members of the North Carolina section were going to see if MacDonald’s would print the WYP logo on Happy Meals as they had done for the World Olympics. 

Robertson reported that the members of the Bauder Fund committee were considering the provision of $1000 awards for the preparation of physics demonstrations related to the WYP themes. The funding could be announced in the Announcer and by special email blast. Iona asked about the status of the traveling demonstration show planned for 2005. Stone said the idea was nixed. The APS had been unsuccessful in its requests to the NSF and DOE for $ 800 K to fund such an activity.

46. Board Retreat continued.
Nelson recommended that the Board delay its retreat to June 2005. The recommendation emanated from Board discussion. A 2005 retreat would better fit, time wise, a five-year cycle for Board retreats and would allow the Board more time to prepare for the retreat. No objection was expressed. Nelson suggested June 23-26, 2005 allowing almost two full days for the retreat. The agenda will focus on the directions the AAPT should take during the next five years.

47. NSTA Regional Meeting.
Nelson reported that the decision had been made to organize the AAPT Strand Day for the NSTA regional meeting to be held in Richmond, VA.

48. Adjournment.
Nelson thanked the Board members and guests for their time and contributions. The meeting was adjourned.

Mary Beth Monroe, AAPT Secretary