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Executive Board Minutes - April 2003 (Part 2)

April 12-13, 2003 (Continued)
College Park, MD

26. AAPT 75th Anniversary.
The AAPT will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2006. Khoury suggested that the AAPT might parley this anniversary with the World Year of Physics. He added that as ideas emerge concerning how the AAPT should commemorate this year, he would share them with the Board.

Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics at Two Year Colleges SPIN-UP/TYC was funded by the NSF in June 2002. The project’s primary goal is to identify and describe best practices among two-year college physics programs. Monroe reported that ten site visits to successful physics programs at two-year colleges would be completed in May. As of Board meeting time, six visits had been completed and two were occurring the same weekend as the Board meeting. During the project’s Writing and Planning Conference scheduled for June 26-29, about seven physics faculty who attended the SPIN-UP/TYC Training Conference in 2002 will meet with the PIs to review the Case Studies developed from the ten site visit reports and prepare the initial draft of the Project Report. In addition the participants will help define the appropriate next steps for the two-year college community.

Stone asked Monroe to describe how the PIs selected the community colleges to visit. Monroe explained that the PIs very early in the project defined what was meant by a successful two-year college physics program and the selection criteria for the sites to be visited. Based upon these two guidelines, the PIs developed a Site Selection Instrument and invited all two-year colleges to complete and submit the electronic survey. About 80 campuses responded. The project directors then selected the ten sites based on the received responses.

28. BSCS Proposal.
During the January 2003 Board meeting, Joe Taylor of BSCS and Kim Bess of the San Diego City Schools discussed recent efforts to provide professional development opportunities for cross over teachers, who are science-trained teachers expected to teach physics for the first time. This effort was directly connected to the recent San Diego decision to require that all 9th grade students must study Active Physics. The Board, at that time, requested Chiaverina and Khoury to continue conversations with BSCS toward the development of a possible partnership involving the design and development of a model university-based program to provide training to cross over teachers.

Khoury distributed to the Board members an outline of a project to develop a model for a cross over teacher program at Kansas State University. The outline was prepared by Taylor and Janet Powell, BSCS, after conversations with Chiaverina and Khoury. Khoury explained that BSCS would be the fiduciary agent for the proposed project and that the AAPT and Kansas State University (KSU) would be partners in the project. The role of the AAPT would be to assist in the involvement of cross over teachers as part of national and regional communities of physics teachers, the identification of resource people to help in the curriculum development and teaching efforts, the identification of regional centers, and the integration of the new project with existing programs and web-based activities within the AAPT. Khoury further explained that if the Board gave its encouragement of the effort, Chiaverina and Khoury would continue to work with BSCS and KSU to develop a preliminary proposal to be submitted to the NSF by May 12. The Board would receive an electronic version of the prelim proposal and a motion authorizing its submission prior to the May deadline.

The project outline described a five-year effort among the BSCS, the AAPT and KSU to help cross over teachers obtain a teaching credential in physics as well as a masters degree in science/physics education. During the five-year period, three cohorts of physics teachers would complete a two-year academy experience providing the teachers with content knowledge and pedagogical skills. Khoury explained that BSCS has a fair amount of experience in helping teachers and that the organization had worked with the San Diego school system to train forty teachers not certified in physics and forty teachers who had not taught 9th graders. The project would look for about five other universities to replicate the efforts of KSU. The proposal would request about $5 M, of which the AAPT would get about $500 K to fund its partnership activities.

Nelson pointed out that the San Diego school system did not approach the AAPT for help, even though Art Eisenkraft, editor of Active Physics (AP), was an AAPT member. He added that the image of the association is not projected enough so as to attract school administration. Chiaverina expressed that our involvement in this project would help improve the AAPT’s public image. Nelson stated that if the physics first movement becomes more pervasive, the need for teacher training will increase and therefore he would like to see the AAPT have a stronger involvement in the project.

Fehrs asked for an explanation of the $5 M budget. Chiaverina explained that the fundin would pay for the travel, room and board, and instructional materials for each of the participating teachers in the two-year cohorts.

Nelson expressed concern about who would deliver the instruction and felt that there should be an involvement of PTRA in the project. Chiaverina explained that in the proposed project 150 teachers will come from different locations but would receive training based on their individual school’s curriculum. The BSCS activities are tailor made for a school’s curriculum and in the case of physics first that would be either the Hewitt curriculum or the AP curriculum. Chiaverina added that the BSCS success is embedded in its ability to provide training connected to a particular curriculum. Nelson commented that he had a concern that if the project were funded that PTRA leaders initially serving as project consultants and resource people would lose their identity with PTRA over time. Consequently at some future point the school systems would seek help from BSCS instead of the PTRA or the AAPT. Khoury and Chiaverina agreed to remain cognizant of this possible eventuality if the Board encouraged the development of the prelim proposal.

Iona encouraged the project leaders to involve other universities involved with teacher training, besides KSU. He also expressed that PKAL (Project Kaleidoscope) was a valuable resource to teachers.

Fehrs moved that the Board support this endeavor and requested that Nelson be added to the project’s planning team. Chiaverina also expressed his support, as this project is a concrete action addressing the needs of cross over teachers. There was general agreement among Board members to give BSCS encouragement to complete the development of the preliminary proposal in consultation with Khoury, Chiaverina and Nelson. Holbrow clarified that a formal motion was not necessary at this time, but that it was necessary to have had this discussion prior to the Board’s formal consideration of the submission of the pre proposal to NSF by electronic ballot.

D. Peterson asked if NSF-DUE would be hesitant due to the biology aspect of the BSCS name. Iona stated that the name is actually BSCS and that its efforts have gone beyond biology and have addressed other sciences.

29. Interdisciplinary Conference.
Iona reviewed the action of the Board in its January 2003 meeting creating a committee (Iona, Rice, Fehrs, Monroe and Nelson) to lead the initial work of a planning committee to outline a conference dealing with some common issues across various science disciplines. He explained that the charge to the committee was not well defined and asked the Board to give the committee more specific direction.

Iona specifically asked the Board if the goal of the conference addressed physics first or if the conference was to be considered a general meeting providing an exchange of information across the science disciplines addressing four areas (common curricular goals, areas of curricular overlap, content specific educational reform efforts, and needs of new, cross over and veteran teachers in STEM areas). He explained that the committee proposes a working format for the conference, which would convene selected educators and/or teachers from biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences and mathematics. He added that the committee needed to understand the direction before it could proceed to develop funding recommendations for the conference.

The ensuing discussion did not produce a convergence as to conference goals. Fehrs stated that she perceived the conference goal to address the content needs for physics first that would prepare 9th graders for chemistry and biology in high school. Holbrow also expressed a need for the AAPT to talk with representatives from other science disciplines to learn what the other sciences are teaching in high school. Monroe reminded the Board that Liz Teles had suggested to the officers during their annual visit to NSF that the AAPT might want to convene a meeting with other science disciplines to exchange information regarding curricular reform efforts. Khoury described the NSTA Scope and Sequence project that did not have far reaching impact and suggested that possibly the conference should address general topics and not the specific topic of physics first. Holbrow stated that it was a reasonable goal to bring together people who have developed or implemented inverted curriculum. Nelson contributed that the interdisciplinary conference could be a pre conference to a NSTA regional meeting. Iona concluded the discussion stating that the committee would continue its planning of the conference and prepare a report for the August Board meeting.

30. Role of Exams Editor.
Monroe explained that Courtney Willis had reported to her as Chair of the Publications Committee that his current term as Examinations Editor would end in 2004 and that he would not seek reappointment. She explained that after reporting this to Khoury, he had raised the question if the AAPT should continue to have an Examinations Editor.

Khoury explained that the role of “examinations editor” was established when the AAPT had an active role in the creation and publication, in conjunction with NSTA, of an introductory physics examination. These exams were published, sold and used over an extended period of time. Therefore it was reasonable to have an “editor” for these products. However, the AAPT no longer creates and publishes an introductory physics examination. The exams developed under the supervision of the Exams Editor are the multiple choice tests used in the first screening for the International Physics Olympiad and the multiple choice exams used in the PhysBowl. Khoury recommended that as these exams are not sold, it is not necessary to retain an editor for these. He felt that the Board implicitly recognized this fact when its members decided to eliminate the AAPT examinations from the regular five-year review process provided to other edited AAPT materials. However, the development of these exams constitutes an important service provided by the AAPT. Khoury therefore recommended that the person with responsibilities for the development and administering of these exams be called “AAPT Examinations Director” and that the person would not serve as a member of the AAPT Publications Committee.

D. Peterson commented that the position had some aspects of an editorial position and asked how the AAPT reward this person. Khoury recommended that the position not be a one-year appointment and that a search be conducted for the individual.

Monroe asked that the discussion be moved to the Publications Committee meeting in August, allowing her time to discuss this proposal with Willis before the Madison meeting. Holbrow tabled the discussion, asking the Publications Committee to bring to the Board a recommendation concerning the position of Examinations Editor.

31. Adjournment.
Holbrow adjourned the meeting of the Executive Board.

Mary Beth Monroe, AAPT Secretary