Executive Board Minutes - October 2004Oct. 8-9, 2004
College Park, MD
Members Present: Jim Nelson, President; Dick Peterson, President Elect; Ken Heller, Vice President; Charlie Holbrow, Past President; Mary Beth Monroe, Secretary; Chuck Robertson, Treasurer; Steve Iona, Chair of Section Representatives; Randy Peterson, Vice Chair of Section Representatives; Debbie Rice, At-Large Member; Chuck Stone, At-Large Member, Ruth Chabay, At-Large Member; Karl Mamola, Editor of The Physics Teacher (TPT); Jan Tobochnik, Editor of the American Journal of Physics (AJP) and Bernard V. Khoury, Executive Officer.
Guests: Warren Hein, Steve Turley, Ted Hodapp, Marc Brodsky, Jim Stith, Joe Redish, Stamatis Vokos (via phone), Jack Hehn, Valerie Evans, Fran Smith, Maria Elena Khoury, Carol Heimpel, Sina Kniseley, Roxanne Muller
1. Welcome and Call to Order. Jim Nelson called the meeting to order at 8:30 AM. He welcomed Board members and introduced guests.
2. Revisions to the Agenda. Holbrow requested that the report from the 4U Task Force be added to the agenda.
3. Executive Session I (with B. Khoury). Jim Nelson called the Board into Executive Session I. W. Hein, as Associate Executive Officer, was asked to attend.
4. Approval of the Minutes. The motion was made and seconded to accept the Board Minutes for July 31, August 1 and 4, 2004 as corrected. The motion passed.
5. Report from the Executive Officer. Khoury highlighted the following items appearing in his Report to the Board (See Board Packet, Officers’ Reports) and invited discussion regarding his report.
6. Chair of Section Representatives. Iona had no report at this time.
7. Vice Chair of Section Representatives. R. Peterson reported that the Alabama AAPT section would hold its first meeting in six years later in October. The Kentucky section has contact people attempting to identify a host for a local meeting. R. Peterson added that it was important to reactivate the Louisiana section since physics is required in every high school in that state. However, he had not been able to identify anyone interested in assuming this local leadership.
8. Treasurer’s Report. Robertson’s report appears under other agenda items.
9. Secretary’s Report. Monroe had no report.
10. Report from the Past President. Holbrow had no report.
11. Report from the Vice President.
Monroe and Chabay both expressed the need for committees to spend part of their meeting time on matters relating to the committee charge. Rice suggested the need for an editorial in the Announcer explaining the role of AAPT committees. Stone added that committee chairs should be reminded that the committees have charges apart from helping to plan the AAPT meeting program.
Heimpel suggested using some of the lunch time for committee meetings, particularly since attendees can take their lunches with them to these meetings. Heller suggested the possibility of providing box lunches for sale.
In connection with scheduling conflicts, R. Peterson requested that the Book Giveaways not be scheduled in the same place as the Poster Session. During the Summer 2004 meeting, the Giveaway had interrupted the interaction time between the poster authors and attendees. He also requested that the meetings of the Section Representatives and Council not be scheduled at the same time as area committees.
12. AAPT Prizes. Heller expressed the need to better publicize the AAPT and its competitions. He cited as one example that the Apparatus Competition does not tend to give many first place prizes, which loses some publicity for the event. The award of a 2nd place prize does not generate very much publicity. Chabay countered saying that the photo competition had received good coverage. D. Peterson also pointed out that in some instances the people best qualified to run the competition are not necessarily the best qualified to publicize the event. Heller expressed the need for a special group of people, aside from the Programs Committee, to be responsible for the publicity of AAPT prizes. Nelson asked Heller and Khoury to prepare a proposal along these lines for the Board’s consideration in January 2005.
13. Report from the President Elect. D. Peterson delayed his report to coincide with the Board discussion of Area Committees.
14. PEREOC Proposal. Khoury initiated a preliminary discussion among the Board members regarding the report from the PER Election Organizing Committee. During the 2004 Summer meeting, the AAPT Area Committee on Research in Physics Education (RIPE) recommended to the Executive Board that it approve the formation of a coordinating body for PER within the American Association of Physics Teachers. The proposal submitted to the Board described the plan for the formation of this special interest group. (See Board Packet Item IIB) Due to the busy schedule of the Board during its Summer meeting, consideration of and action on the proposal was delayed until the October 2004 meeting. Khoury explained that Joe Redish and Stamatis Vokos (via phone) as representatives of the PER Organizing Committee would join the Board later in the day for its continued discussion of the proposal.
Lillian McDermott sent a memo in May 2004 to the group considering the PEREOC proposal. (See Board Packet Item IIB) She expressed reservations about the formation of PER sub community of AAPT, saying that she did not feel the PER community was large enough or strong enough to create an effective and self-sustaining organization. McDermott proposed that the interests of the PER community would be better addressed if the AAPT President, with informed suggestions from the Nominating Committee, would appoint good representatives from the PER community to the RIPE committee.
Mamola asked if there had been a response to the comments from McDermott. Nelson responded that after studying the proposal he was inclined to accept the recommendation from the Organizing Committee. He further explained that it was not clear to him how many PER members McDermott spoke for. Khoury clarified that McDermott’s memo had been sent to the 6-8 people on the Organizing Committee and he had included the memo in the Board packet because he felt that she had made some good comments.
Chabay opined that she was not sure that McDermott was correct about the motivation for the proposal. In response to a question from D. Peterson, Heller (also a member of the PER community and referenced in McDermott’s memo) explained that the proposed organization would not replace the AAPT RIPE committee. Heller further explained that his reaction to the proposal was that the PER community was a large group of people who disagreed among themselves as to who are “PERers” and who are not. He said this tension was normal for a growing group. Based on his understanding of the proposal, Heller said the primary goal of the proposal was to enable the PER community to organize and publish proceedings of meetings independent of the AAPT national meetings. Currently this is not a function of the AAPT RIPE committee.
Holbrow asked if this goal was the function of the AAPT. Chabay and Heller both responded that the Board needed to make this decision. Holbrow expressed that he felt the AAPT should help the PER community in its development, particularly since the AAPT has a history of incubating the PER community. However, he felt that the name of the group should not include “AAPT” in its title, as this would imply that this group could speak for the association. He also did not feel that the organization should direct some of the Executive Officer’s time. In reaction to his first comment, Chabay asked if the APS Forum on Education spoke for the APS. Heller explained that the “AAPT” had been included in the title because the group wanted to emphasize that it wanted to be a part of the association, not to speak for the association. He also felt that the APS Forum on Education might be a good model for what the PER community was trying to establish.
Robertson then asked if the PER community would prefer to publish in the AJP rather than the APS electronic journal under development. He reminded the Board that the formation of the APS electronic journal occurred because the AAPT publications had not addressed the needs of the PER community. Heller said in his opinion part of the PER community should be in the APS and part should be in the AAPT. However, he did not think the petitioning committee wanted this to happen.
Tobochnik asked how the PER tandem meetings were organized. Chabay explained that the RIPE committee had organized these but that some PER members questioned if the current RIPE committee could organize future meetings. Khoury clarified that there had been some objection to the members appointed to the PER committee. Chabay and Heller characterized the PER community as a group divided as to purpose: one subset of the PER community consists of younger faculty seeking tenure who have a need for organizational structure and to publish; another subset of the PER community consists of older, more experienced faculty members.
Tobochnik expressed that it was not clear to him how the RIPE committee and the PER organization would co function within the AAPT. Chabay argued that the community should be allowed to try to develop such an organization. Khoury expressed that he did not see that the AAPT was taking a whole lot of risk in supporting this effort, adding that there were more reasons to support it than not. He added that he felt a sense of responsibility for the maturation of this group. In response to a question from Robertson, Khoury explained that the formation of this group did not require a change in the AAPT constitution or by-laws.
Holbrow also expressed support for the effort but also stated that he wanted some changes in the proposed document. Nelson ended the discussion saying that the Board would discuss the matter later in the Board meeting after the Board had had a chance to discuss the proposal with Redish and Vokos.
15. DodgeBuilding. C. Robertson reported that the sale of the Dodge Building had financial implications for the AAPT. The consummation of the sale was scheduled for late October, following the completion of a 45-day study period by the buyer followed by a settlement. The contract sale price is $900,000.
Robertson estimated that the AAPT would earn net proceeds of about $850,000 after payment of taxes, attorney fees, real estate agent fees, and administrative costs. He pointed out that the AAPT assets would also decrease by about $200,000, this being the reported value of the building in the AAPT financial records. The net worth on the Balance Sheet will therefore increase by $650,000.
Corresponding with the completed sale of the Dodge Building, the AAPT will lose an annual rental income of $150,000. In addition expenses will be reduced by about $90,000 ($50,000 for utilities, taxes and maintenance and $40,000 for depreciation costs). Overall the AAPT annual net operating income will decrease by about $60,000. Robertson explained that this would make it more difficult for the AAPT to balance its budget each year. Chabay pointed out that the invested proceeds from the sale should generate interest and Robertson replied that the Investment Advisory Committee was thinking along these lines.
Khoury suggested that the Board should consider how the AAPT could use some of the sale proceeds to continue to pay tribute to Homer Dodge. He proposed that AAPT establish a Homer L. Dodge Fund, using $250,000 dollars from the sale. Robertson advised that the Dodge Fund should be more targeted than the Klopsteg Fund. Khoury stated that the primary goal of the fund was to keep Homer Dodge’s name visible within the AAPT. The question was raised if the Klopsteg Fund could be renamed. Monroe explained that the Board had defined the purpose of the Klopsteg Fund and Endowment. She will research their history recorded in the 1994 Officers’ Handbook and report her findings to Robertson.
Holbrow moved, and Robertson seconded, that the AAPT establish the Homer L. Dodge Fund using $250,000 from the proceeds of the sale of the DodgeBuilding. During discussion of the motion, Khoury reported that he had discussed the potential sale of the building with the members of the Dodge family and they were comfortable with this action. The motion passed unanimously.
16. Investment Advisory Committee Report. Robertson reported that the Investment Advisory Committee had met on October 8 with Mike Kowalkowski, a representative from TIAA-CREF. The AAPT had accomplished its goal to acquire one year’s operating expenses ($ 5 million plus) in its long-term reserve and the committee was exploring how the AAPT could use some of the reserve’s growth for funding AAPT activities and special projects. Kowalkowski presented various options for the committee to consider.
Based on the discussions of these options, the committee recommended a spending plan of 4%/year. This is designed to maintain the purchasing power of the AAPT long-term reserve, which will remain equivalent to the AAPT annual operating expenses. The committee further recommended that of this 4%, 3% of the undesignated long-term reserve be allocated to the AAPT annual budget and 1% to the Klopsteg Fund. These percentages would be applied to the 3-year running average of the undesignated long-term reserve.
In discussion of the motion, Tobochnik asked the source of money to cover a loss. Khoury responded that positive cash flows create the long-term reserve. Heller asked for more explanation regarding the 4% impact on the size of the long-term reserve. Robertson explained that the plan would maintain the purchasing power of the reserve and that currently the AAPT was making 6% on the account. Heller suggested making the withdrawal a fraction of the income. In response, Robertson said the financial advisor, after studying the market, had said that the AAPT had a 30% chance of causing the account to decrease in size.
Nelson called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed.
17. Marc Brodsky. Brodsky, CEO of the AIP, reported on the changes in advertising and publishing services taking place within the Institute.
18. Jim Stith. Stith, Director of the AIP Physics Resources Center, presented a short report of the activities under his supervision.
D. Peterson asked about the attendance preregistered for the Industrial Physicist Forum. Stith responded that they were not getting the attendance they wanted and solicited the AAPT’s help in this.
19. PER Electronic Journal. During its Summer 2004 meeting, the Executive Board formally acknowledged its support, in principle, of the creation of an all-electronic PER journal to be published as the APS Physical Review Special Topic – Physics Education Research (STPER). Preliminary plans for such a journal have been initiated by Bob Beichner. The electronic journal will be free to all readers with authors expected to pay significant page charges to provide the financial support for the new publication. The electronic journal will include multimedia presentations as well as traditional presentations.
Subsequently Nelson appointed Tobochnik, Monroe, Chabay and Khoury as a committee to work with Marty Blume, APS Editor-in-Chief, to resolve issues associated with the journal. These issues include questions regarding the viability of the described business plan for the electronic publication and a specific definition for the formal role of the AAPT in the publication of the APS journal.
Khoury reported that the plan is proceeding and that the APS is enthusiastic about the publication. Blume especially likes this idea because the APS previously passed a resolution encouraging 4U physics departments to have a PER person as one member of its faculty. The APS governance structure also approved in principle support for the new journal, but the final go-ahead would require authorization from the APS Council scheduled to meet in November 2004.
In his report to the Board (See Board Packet IIC), Khoury explained that the APS had received a proposal from the AIP under which the AIP would provide technical services using its online electronic journal platform, Scitation. This service would cost $20 K a year. However, Khoury learned in a conversation with Blume just prior to the Board meeting that Blume anticipated housing the publication at APS, which would have a startup cost of $30 K. AIP would still be expected to do the composition and preparation of the pdf files at an estimated cost of $35 a page. The APS staff estimated that the costs for the electronic journal would be covered by mandatory page charges of $100 per page and Blume would like to assess the page charges before the journal is actually composed and before the page count is confirmed.
With respect to financial support from the AAPT for STPER, Blume asked that AAPT consider three commitments:
1) The AAPT could subsidize ten articles per year at a cost of up to $10 K.
2) The Editorial Office might require from the AAPT $10-15 K per year.
3) An annual meeting of an editorial board could cost $5 K for five AAPT appointed members.
In addition, the AAPT could incur additional costs by contributing PER Section articles from the AJP to this electronic journal. Khoury emphasized that no commitments had been made at that time.
Chabay noted that at some point a stipend would have to be paid to the editor, this relating to item 2 listed above. Tobochnik expressed concern that the real costs for publication would be high and that not many authors would be able to pay the required page charges. Chabay said that authors with grants would be able to pay these charges and suggested that this feature might become a regular part of future grant proposals. She added that the unknown factor was who was doing this research without funding. Khoury also reminded the Board that during her visit to the Board in the Summer 2004, Karen Cummings expressed that she did not think the journal could get the 50 articles proposed for the journal.
In subsequent discussion, Khoury expressed that there needs to be an understanding regarding what kind of editorial control (who will choose the editor and members of the editorial board) the AAPT will have. Tobochnik also stated that the Board needs to see the latest proposal addressing details of the financial arrangements and what the AAPT will be subsidizing. In closing, Nelson asked Khoury to convey the substance of this discussion to Beichner.
20. PEREOC Proposal continued. (See these Minutes, Item 14.) Holbrow summarized for Joe Redish and Stamatis Vokos (via phone) the concerns of the Board regarding the proposal from the PER Organizing Committee: (1) Some Board members had reservations concerning the name of the AAPT in the title of the sub community. (2) The Board did not feel that the PER community should have to ask the Board for authorization to use PER dues money. (3) Members of the Board did not feel that the Executive Officer’s time should be tied up doing PER community business. Vokos replied that he had no philosophical objections to these. He explained that the name of the AAPT had been included in the group’s title to help convey that the group did not want to be perceived as splitting from the association.
Holbrow asked about the relationship between the PERLOC (PER Leadership and Organizing Committee) and the RIPE committee. Vokos suggested that the Chair of RIPE be a voting member of PERLOC, adding that the group wants to preempt any thought that PERLOC wanted to split from the AAPT. He further explained that including the RIPE chair as a member of PERLOC would preserve communications between the two structures and would help the RIPE committee be a better representative voice of the PER community. In addition, with PERLOC in place, the RIPE committee could get back to its normal business.
PERLOC membership will be open to any AAPT member who pays the $25 membership fee. In response to a question from Robertson, Vokos clarified that AAPT membership was a requirement. In addition all PERLOC meetings would be open to all AAPT members. Vokos outlined the procedure leading to the first election. Following notification of the approval by the Board of the PER proposal, electronic notices will be posted and instructions for collecting membership fees will be communicated by email.
Once a few hundred people paid their fees, the PERLOC the Election Organizing Committee will conduct low-tech elections.
Further discussion addressed the advantage of defining a threshold number of paid members to initiate the election process. It was agreed that the election would be held when 100 members had paid their dues and a time period of approximately two years would be defined for the collection of these dues. It was also agreed that the AAPT would collect the dues on behalf of PERLOC and that PERLOC could spend the money without AAPT Executive Board approval, as long as the accounting and collection of the dues were consistent with the AAPT policies. The spending procedures will be developed by PERLOC. The Board agreed to send a copy of the PER proposal with Board comments to Vokos accompanied by a statement of official Board endorsement.
Following the Board discussion with Vokos and Redish, Nelson asked Holbrow and Heller to make the changes in the proposed document as agreed upon and submit the revision for Board consideration later in the meeting. (See these Minutes, Item 24.)
21. Non Member Survey. Valerie Evans, Director of Membership and Benefits, reported that Monalco had not been able to complete its study of the responses to the 2001 AAPT Member Survey due to difficulty in receiving the data from AIP. Evans explained that the delay was also due to a change in personnel at Monalco overseeing the reanalysis of the 2001 survey data. The report from Monalco will be rescheduled for the January 2005 meeting of the Board.
Included in the Board Packet (Item IIIA) was the Executive Summary of the 2004 Survey of Non Member Physics Teachers prepared by Monalco. Tobochnik commented that by percentage, the membership of the AAPT is larger for the high school community than the 4U faculty. Evans stated that about 3000 AAPT members are high school teachers. She added that a marketing plan would be developed by the AAPT directors based on the findings of this survey.
Iona inquired if special initiatives were being developed; this question stemming from his observation that the 2005 Budget Assumptions allowed for a 10% increase in AAPT membership. Evans replied that special populations would be targeted, such as NSTA listed members, registrants of the CAST meetings in Texas, and teachers whose AAPT memberships had lapsed within the last 3-5 years.
22. Report from Membership and Benefits. Iona referred Board members to the report from the Membership and Benefits Committee (M&B Committee). He explained that the four motions prepared by the committee related to the membership concerns being discussed:
Motion 1: The Executive Board is directed to provide the M&B Committee information concerning pricing and contact options regarding offering an annual CD containing the print and/or online version of AJP, TPT, and/or the Announcer.
Motion 2: The Executive Office is directed to provide the M&B Committee information concerning options for offering only electronic journal subscriptions as part of joint memberships or limited AAPT only memberships (e.g. emeritus, student, foreign).
Motion 3: Encourage the Executive Board to review the information from the Non Member Survey to consider additional interactions with NSTA.
Motion 4: The Executive Office is directed to explore ways to expand joint membership options with NSTA.
Chabay asked what the NSTA offered that the AAPT did not. Nelson replied that NSTA is a generic organization with multiple disciplines. Their journals are not focused on one science discipline. Rice commented that the NSTA meetings have very little physics and the membership is primarily pre college. NSTA is also cheaper to join. In conclusion the motions were accepted as directives to the Executive Office and the Board.
23. Press Coverage for AAPT Awards. Khoury reported that he had met with AIP to discuss publicity for AAPT awards and award winners. Another meeting was planned with AIP to develop a strategy to better publicize the AAPT awards and to identify outlets for improving the visibility of these awards and award recipients. Nelson asked if there were a way to archive the presentations made by award recipients, such as video recording. Rice advised that the presentations could be put into a DVD format at a premium cost to membership. Board members expressed different opinions regarding the quality of the video that users would expect, but agreement was reached that the quality would probably not have to be high tech. D. Peterson suggested that at the end of the year the AAPT could prepare a collection of the award winner presentations along with some of the presentations by the plenary speakers. Khoury said the costs for doing this would be prepared.
Khoury opined that maybe the AAPT should change its practice of not publicizing award winners until a time closer to the AAPT meeting and that instead, the AAPT should provide publicity for the awards as quickly as possible once the names of the award recipients were confirmed. Heller added that the announcements should be constructed in a way to explain the significance of the AAPT.
24. PEREOC Proposal continued. (See these Minutes Item 20) Holbrow and Heller presented the formulated motion concerning the PERLOC proposal for Board consideration. The Executive Board endorses the formation of the Physics Education Research Leadership and Organizing Council (PERLOC) by the means and with the constitution described in the attached document. Further, the Executive Board authorizes the Executive Officer to provide the services to enroll and keep track of PERLOC membership and to provide necessary and adequate fiduciary controls of the funds collected and expended by PERLOC. A friendly amendment offered by R. Peterson was accepted. The motion is contingent upon the election being conducted by the end of the Summer 2006 AAPT meeting.
During discussion of the motion, three changes were made to the PER document attached to the motion: The statement “the majority of PERLOC members must approve any expenditure over $50” was deleted in two places on page 2 of the document (sentence 2 under Administration of the PER Membership Fee and Item 2 under the Scope of Action and Activities for PERLOC). The name “PERLOC Chair” appearing in the paragraph under Initial Elections was changed to “PEREOC Chair”.
The motion passed unanimously.
25. Budget Assumptions. The Board reviewed the Tentative 2005 Budget and the Budget Assumptions for 2005 included in the Board Packet as Item IIAb. Specific points in discussion of these follows:
Holbrow asked if he were fair in saying that the proposed budget was optimistic regarding revenues. Hein in response said the staff, in preparing the budgets, typically estimate low revenue and high expenses, resulting in budgets operating in the black by the end of the year. He went on to explain that the deficits appearing in the Comparative Balance Sheet Summary for August 2003 and 2004 and the Current Investment Schedule as of August 2004 were due to unforeseen authorized expenditures by the Board. Holbrow opined that 2005 would be a tough year. F. Smith replied that she did not think it would be that tough since the budget in the past had been based on prior years rather than projected activities for AAPT. She went on to say that the surplus in cash reserves was due to conservative estimates of budgets.
Holbrow expressed his appreciation for the budget presentation saying that it helped the Board to see the status of the association. Hein said that the new budget package software would allow better tracking of the AAPT funds and that was the goal of the AAPT staff for the coming year.
In the recent past, the Board formally accepted the Budget Assumptions presented to the Board in the Fall. However, Holbrow stated that the 2005 assumptions were not the assumptions of the Board. Board members then discussed if it were necessary to approve the assumptions. Khoury explained that the assumptions were presented to stimulate discussion among the Board members before the budget figures were presented to the Board in January. (No vote was taken on the 2005 Budget Assumptions.)
D. Peterson inquired about the reported salaries of AAPT staff. Hein explained that the salary report assumed the filling of two empty positions at a rate that is market competitive. The current salaries were down because of two vacant positions in Sina Kniseley’s department. Kniseley explained that she had been operating with temporary help. When asked why the positions had not been filled, she explained that she had not been able to find qualified help for the advertised salary. However, next year with the new salary schedule in place, she will have a market competitive salary.
26. Executive Session II (without the Executive Officer).
(Nelson adjourned the Board for the day. On Sunday morning, he reconvened the Board into Executive Session II. )