AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers

Executive Board Minutes - January 2003

Jan. 11-12 and 15, 2003

Austin, TX


Members Present: Chris Chiaverina, President; John Hubisz, Past President; Charles Holbrow, President-Elect; Jim Nelson, Vice-President; Mary Beth Monroe, Secretary; Charles Robertson, Treasurer; Steve Iona, Chair of Section Representatives; Francis Peterson, Vice-Chair of Section Representatives; Mary Fehrs, At-Large Member; Deborah Rice, At-Large Member; Carolyn Haas, At-Large Member; Karl Mamola, Editor of The Physics Teacher (TPT); Jan Tobochnik, Editor of the American Journal of Physics (AJP); Bernard V. Khoury, Executive Officer


Guests: Sina Kniseley, Carol Heimpel, Valerie Evans, Roxanne Muller, Dick Peterson, Leonard Jossem, Matt Potts, Warren Hein, Maria Elena Khoury, Bruce Mason, Thad Laurie, James Stith, John Layman, Herb Gottlieb, Arthur Eisenkraft, Kim Bess, Joe Taylor, Chuck Stone, Randy Peterson


1. Welcome and Call to Order. Chris Chiaverina called the meeting of the Executive Board to order and welcomed all members and guests.


2. Additions to the Agenda. M.B. Monroe requested that SPIN-UP/TYC and Status of the Metric Committee be added as discussion items to the agenda.


B. Khoury commented that as some of the Board members had early flights on January 15, the Board should possibly try to complete its business by 4 PM. M. Fehrs expressed that an early adjournment in her opinion was not warranted, as it was the independent choice of some Board members to leave the meeting early. It was agreed that efficient use would be made of time, possibly allowing the meeting to end early. 


3. Approval of the November Minutes. Monroe reported corrections made to the Minutes since the mailing of the Board packet. Chuck Stone noted some additional spelling and typo errors. Jim Nelson moved, and John Hubisz seconded, that the November Minutes be accepted as corrected. The motion passed unanimously. 


4. Officers’ Reports.


  • Chiaverina expressed congratulations to the newly elected members of the Board and thanked the retiring members of the Board for their contributions to the AAPT.


  • The President reported that he, Holbrow, Monroe and Nelson (visitor) conducted the Executive Officer Review December 6-7 and the confidential report of the EO Review had been left at the hotel desk for Board members when they checked in. He added that the discussion of the review would be held during Executive Session II.


  • Chiaverina reported that he, Holbrow, Nelson, Khoury and Monroe visited the National Science Foundation, December 6. The AAPT officers met with different program officers of the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) and the Physics Division, and the NSF Director, Rita Colwell, but without an explicit agenda. During the visit, the NSF program officers summarized what was happening at the Foundation and the AAPT officers in turn shared what they saw occurring within the physics and physics education communities. 


Khoury explained that the discussion with the program officers primarily addressed the non-funded mandates put on NSF by Congress. A large percentage of this year’s funding will target the Math Science Partnerships. In addition, NSF program officers urged the AAPT officers to help them solicit physicists to apply for rotator and program officer positions. Holbrow expressed that he had received the impression that the physicists in DUE were nearing retirement and that the issue of finding new physics rotators was a serious one. Khoury listed recent program officers from the AAPT community, including Ken Krane, Karen Johnston, Jack Hehn, and Ruth Howes. Khoury added that the AAPT officers had had a spirited discussion with the physics program concerning why physics departments were not more successful in recruiting minorities into physics studies.


Nelson added that the NSF officers had expressed a desire to see more project proposals addressing physics education research, as well as proposals which would improve the content preparation of teachers. The NSF would like to see more cooperative efforts between the science and education communities targeting the preparation of teachers as a response to the “No Child Left Behind” legislation. Monroe explained that she perceived the NSF program officers suggesting that the AAPT should take the lead in organizing an interdisciplinary conference, which would address both of these issues. 


  • Under the guidance of Jim Nelson, the Day Long Strand of AAPT papers had been presented during the regional meeting of the NSTA. Typical attendance for the sessions was twenty-five. Special presenters for the activities included C. Chiaverina, George Amman, Karen Jo Mastler, and Steve Eaton. Carol Heimpel had arranged for vendors to provide giveaways as well as provide special lunch for participants. Nelson added that he felt that the NSTA meetings, owing to their large size, provide more diverse activities for teachers than do the AAPT meetings. He encouraged the association to continue this cooperative effort, adding that the AAPT is able to reach a community of teachers at NSTA meetings who do not attend AAPT meetings.


  • Chiaverina visited the SCI office of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) organization in Colorado. He met with Joe Taylor, SCI Professional Development Associate, to discuss the development of a collaborative effort between our two organizations that would address teacher preparation. Chiaverina referred Board members to his report of this visit in the Board Packet. He also announced that Taylor would visit with the Board during its Wednesday session. (See these Minutes, Item 22)


  • Chiaverina reported that the following AAPT members have been appointed to the Committee on Commercial Ventures: Mary Fehrs (Chair), Alex Dickison, C. Holbrow, C. Robertson, and B. Khoury. The committee has had one phone conference and one face-to-face meeting. (See Committee Report, Item 11)


  • Chiaverina informed Board members that the AAPT would honor Robert Resnick during the Exhibitors’ Reception with a special cake commemorating his eightieth birthday.


  • The AAPT will have a special reception for AAPT student members in the President’s Suite on Tuesday night. Students will have an opportunity to visit with Nobel Laureate Robert Richardson, who is one of the plenary speakers for the Austin meeting.



Holbrow reported that the appointment of new members and chairs to the AAPT Area Committees was almost complete. The Chairs to the Women’s Committee and the Committee on Laboratories had not yet been appointed. Holbrow added that he would be visiting committee meetings for the purpose of identifying members who would be willing to serve in these positions.



  • Nelson summarized the difficulties encountered when trying to define an appropriate physics theme for the 2003 Summer Meeting in Madison. He expressed that some members perceive the practice of “theme meetings” as restricting the number of topics for different sessions. Therefore, he suggested that this perception might warrant a future discussion concerning this recently implemented practice. He added that the AAPT staff had requested that the program chairs designate the themes of future meetings sooner, allowing AAPT staff more lead time to publicize the theme sessions.


  • Nelson highlighted a few other items for Board consideration and possible discussion. He expressed a desire for the AAPT to reinstate the Visiting Fellow program. He reported that he had asked Steve Gilbert for a copy of the NSTA document addressing the revision of teacher standards. Nelson concluded his report by stating that all was in readiness for the summer PTRA Program. 


Past President:

Hubisz asked Board members for their input concerning the submitted reports from Area Committees to the AAPT Review Committee. He added that although the deadline had passed, many committee reports had not been received. D. Peterson inquired if changing the deadline to an earlier date would help resolve the difficulty. Hubisz opined that it would not. 



  • Monroe reminded Board members that many of their committee assignments would change at the close of the Austin Meeting. Therefore, she distributed copies of the committee assignments for Board members from the AAPT Officers’ Handbook, 1996-revised edition.
  • Monroe explained that Board members are asked to sign Conflict of Interest forms each year. She referred the members to the 2003 forms in the Board packet, asking them to complete the forms, sign them, and submit them to her.



Robertson reported that RoweCom, a European subsidiary of the subscription service, divine, Inc., was filing bankruptcy papers. (This report was made in follow-up to the email message from Khoury to Board members concerning the actions of RoweCom.) The AAPT could potentially lose about $100K and the AIP could realize a $6.8 M loss in income. A possibility existed that a second subscription service might buy RoweCom. This subscription service agency is one of three major agencies. Khoury explained that the other two agencies appear to be stable. 


Robertson asked Board members to discuss if the AAPT should honor year long subscriptions to those who had paid their subscriptions to RoweCom. Tobochnik expressed concern that current library subscribers might want to quit subscribing to the AJP and the TPT if their subscriptions to this agency were not honored. V. Evans explained that the problem really concerns the identification of new subscribers who had paid their fees to RoweCom, not the current library subscribers. The identity of many of the current subscribers is known and the AAPT can continue to mail them the association’s journals. Haas and Holbrow proposed that the AAPT honor the claimed subscriptions if the libraries agreed to subscribe to the journal for an additional year and that a letter clarifying this gesture accompanies each subscription.


Khoury explained that it is very important that the AAPT honor a subscription if a library claims it paid the fee through RoweCom, although it is not clear how the association will implement this policy. The AIP has stated that it will provide electronic copies only to libraries claiming subscriptions through RoweCom. Khoury clarified that this problem presented two questions to be addressed: identifying who had paid their subscriptions to this service and pinpointing when the agency had stopped providing the journals. Frank Peterson moved that the AAPT continue to provide journals to libraries subscribing through the RoweCom agency. Robertson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 


Fehrs asked how this AAPT loss of subscription money compared to the AAPT loss in the stock market. Robertson explained that the loss in subscriptions is more significant as it is a loss in income for operations. Khoury added that in the accounting sense losses in investments are recorded but are unrealized losses.


Chair of Section Representatives:

Iona reminded the Board that the Section Representatives would elect a new Vice-Chair of Section Representatives and due to the pending resignation of Frank Peterson, the Section Reps would also elect a new Chair. 


Iona advised the Board members that there would probably be a motion presented during the Council meeting to set the dates of future AAPT Annual meetings to coincide with the dates of the Martin Luther King holiday. Fehrs expressed that this action would stabilize the dates for the Winter meeting. Some Board members asserted that holding meetings over the MLK holiday might be construed as disrespectful to the memory of Dr. King. Khoury reminded the Board that it had been the practice of the association to move the meeting dates around during January so as to minimize inconvenience to any one teaching community. Holbrow also suggested that such action might complicate the AAPT efforts to find sites and dates offering the best prices.


Vice-Chair of Section Representatives:

F. Peterson had no report.


Executive Officer:

Khoury outlined the special events of the Winter Meeting for the Board members. Carol Heimpel reported that 48 members had signed up as First Timers’. Pre registration for the meeting was 865 and at the time of her report, the registration count was 885.


Khoury highlighted the following reports from his Report to the Board distributed in the Board packet.


  • The Investment Advisory Committee was still considering investing some long-term reserves in Vanguard. The Board had authorized the investment during its November meeting, if the committee felt the full proposal from Vanguard appeared to meet the objectives of the long-term reserve.   


  • The NSF has formally rejected the proposal for the Revision of Active Physics. Khoury explained that A. Eisenkraft, Principal Investigator, would visit with the Board later in the week to discuss the revision of the Active Physics curriculum and the Board’s reasons for denying his request for funding for his Active Physics workshops. The NSF reviews rated the proposal with four “goods” and one “fair”. C. Haas asked to see the reviews before Eisenkraft’s visit to the Board.


  • Ztek and the AAPT have signed the contract for converting Cinema Classics to DVD format and, therefore, the AAPT would realize royalties from this venture through July.


Khoury presented the additional reports not appearing in the Board packet. 


  • Former AAPT President, Ron Edge, urged the AAPT to help sponsor the international young physicists’ tournament. Khoury explained that each participating country could send five high school students to the competition. This competition is quite different from the Physics Olympiad. Edge had made the same request to the Executive Board five years earlier, but no action was taken.


  • Using money from the Bauder Fund, the American Physical Society has organized a “Physics on the Road” workshop. The workshop, to be held in February at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, invites university faculty to meet and provide demonstrations to high schools. The conference is an invitational only meeting. Khoury added that if we would like to have special representation at the meeting, it could probably be arranged. Hein reported that the invitation list was about 50. D. Peterson strongly urged the Board to consider what activities the AAPT could contribute to this meeting and possibly send a representative from the Board to the conference. It was agreed that C. Stone would attend this conference as representative from the AAPT Board.

In response to a question from Fehrs, Khoury reported that free one-year memberships in the association had been given to participants to the 2002 New Faculty Workshop (NFW). No gifts had been rejected. Twenty-two of the approximate eighty participants were already AAPT members.