AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers

Executive Board Minutes - October 2004

Oct. 8-9, 2004
College Park, MD

27.  Executive Officer Report continued.  (See these Minutes Item 5.) Khoury continued his report to the Board.

  • Two additional awards were given to AAPT sections to encourage local activities addressing teacher preparation.  In compliance with the award criteria, the AAPT had received 2.5 section reports describing the local activities and these had been shared with the Teacher Preparation Committee.  Khoury reminded the Board that it had authorized $5,000 for these awards and Len Jossem had given $6000.


  • Teach.Spin will no longer be an exhibitor at the AAPT meetings.  The reason stated in a letter to Khoury was that the audience for the apparatus was not among the AAPT participants. 


  • John Fitzgibbons, Chair of the International Committee, in a memo to Khoury reported that the Danish physicists had expressed an interest in attending an AAPT meeting. The Danes would also like for American AAPT members to attend some of the activities within the Scandinavian countries.


  • From August 22 – September 12, 2004, the ACP staff experienced an outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness attributed to the norovirus.  The University of Maryland had had a similar outbreak about a month earlier, but this was determined to be caused by a different strain of the virus.  A lot of money was spent to deal with the viral contamination and the extra measures taken to relieve the anxiety of the building staff. The incident attracted a lot of local media attention.  Khoury reported that the problem was over, but that the ACP lunch room manager had been so stressed that he resigned. This was causing short-term difficulties associated with the catering of meetings and workshops hosted at ACP. 


28. 4U Task Force Report. The AAPT 4U (four-year college and university) Task Force, appointed in the Summer 2003, was charged to

1)      identify the needs of college and university physics faculty that the AAPT could address and services which the association could provide to these faculty,

2)      look for ways that the AAPT could cooperate with the APS in this effort, and

3)      define ways that the AAPT could add physics content to its national meetings and better publicize the physics content in its meetings.

Ken Krane (Oregon State University) served as the chair of the task force. Other members included Peter Collings, Swarthmore College; Stephen FitzGerald, Oberlin College; Thomas Glasmacher, Michigan State University; Daniel Kleppner, MIT; Elizabeth Simmons, Michigan State; and Jan Tobochnik, Kalamazoo College. Copies of the report were distributed to Board members. 


Tobochnik explained that the task force members never met together. Each member provided input and Krane collated and edited the information. Holbrow said he was reasonably impressed with the report and thought it was a good idea to keep the recommendations limited. Following a short discussion of the recommendations from the task force, Holbrow moved that the AAPT Executive Board accept the report from the 4U Task Force and express its thanks for the good work. He further moved that the Board direct the Executive Officer to present to the Board in January 2005 an implementation plan for the recommendations in the report. The Officer was asked to share the 4U Task Force Report with the appropriate area committees and to publish the report in the Announcer. The motion was seconded. 


During discussion of the motion, R. Peterson expressed disappointment that the report had not said anything about laboratories. Tobochnik commented that he felt that the report should have addressed areas on experimental physics. Heller said he also felt it was important to discuss the role of experimental physics in undergraduate physics. Khoury asked advice concerning how he should publish the report and also mention the areas not included in the report. Tobochnik volunteered to make these changes to the report and send it to Krane. He went on to remind the Board that the task force had been charged with developing mechanisms that the AAPT could use to involve 4U faculty, not to address the problems of the 4U teachers. The Board accepted an amendment to the motion stating that Tobochnik would add some suggestions regarding experimental physics to the recommendations and that the revision would be shared with Krane. 


Heller asked if the discussion among the task force members addressed how the AJP could better serve this community. Tobochnik explained that it had not. Heller then asked about the relevance of the TPT to the 4U community. Tobochnik replied that the general feeling was that the TPT was important at the introductory level. Mamola expressed his hope that the TPT was of help to the university faculty who taught the introductory physics courses. However he explained that some members of the physics community perceive the TPT as a resource only for high school teachers. He does not know how to best change this perception. 


Nelson called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 


29. Board Retreat in 2005. During the Summer 2004, the Executive Board voted to have a retreat in June 2005. Subsequently D. Peterson sent a memo to Board members expressing his concern that at this late date the Board had not clearly defined the goals, intent and scope of the retreat. He pointed out that in 2005 the Board would initiate three major reviews (national meetings, Five Year Review of the Executive Officer, and the Five Year Review of the TPT). D. Peterson asked the Board members to reconsider the dates for the retreat as he felt that it would be hard to incorporate the findings of these three reviews into the retreat agenda. He added that even if the Board should decide to delay the retreat to 2006, the Board should begin its planning now, not later. D. Peterson handed out a listing of 6-8 possible sites for the retreat.


Holbrow moved that the Board have the retreat in 2006 and that D. Peterson would be in charge of planning logistics. The Board will provide advice concerning the site for the retreat, but the AAPT staff would make the final decision. D. Peterson seconded the motion. 


Hein asked if the Board intended to invite AAPT directors to participate in the retreat. D. Peterson replied that there had been some discussion of this but that no decision had been made. He added that there were arguments on both sides. Holbrow expressed that the Board needed to review the agenda for the retreat before making this decision. D. Peterson then expressed that the Board needed to think about the scope of the retreat as well as who should be the facilitator. He recommended that a group of 30 strong leaders be invited. 


The motion passed with a vote tally of 10 yes and 1 no.


30. Ted Hodapp. As a self-introduction to the Board, Hodapp explained that he came from Hamlin University in Minnesota and during the last two years had served as a program officer at the NSF, working with Duncan McBride in the DUE division and also with the NSDL division. Hodapp succeeded Fred Stein as APS Director of Education and Outreach in late September. In this new position he acquired the responsibility of Principal Investigator of the PhysTEC Collaborative. Hodapp explained that he was trying to get a flavor for what was going on in PhysTEC. In addition to meeting with the CoPIs of the project, he planned to visit eight Primary Participating Institutions by Thanksgiving and would review the mentoring component of the project. He commented that the formation of the Coalition was going to be a big challenge. Hodapp expressed that it was important to have strong connections between the APS and the AAPT. He announced his intent to apply for another FIPSE grant in a few weeks. The NSF had asked the APS to conduct an evaluation of the project and Hodapp asked the Board for recommendations of members (names, institutions, and reasons why they were recommended) to serve as evaluators. In response to a question from D. Peterson, Hodapp explained that the FIPSE proposal would be a joint proposal concerning assessment. The full proposal will be due mid March. 


31. Five-Year Review of the TPT. Monroe distributed a handout regarding the Five-Year Review of the TPT. She recommended the following:


The [Review] Committee will prepare a report to the Board to be submitted to the AAPT Secretary by January 1, 2006. The Secretary will distribute the report to Board members for their review prior to the Board’s January 2006 meeting. The Board may want to consider a preliminary report to be presented by the Committee Chair during its Summer 2005 meeting.

Main Points of the Charge: 

  • The Committee will judge the effectiveness of The Physics Teacher in meeting its primary goals (as perceived by the Review Committee) and report these conclusions to the Executive Board.
  • The Review Committee can serve to advise the Editor and the Executive Board regarding specific ways the TPT can improve in the future. (The Committee will serve as a grader of present performance and as a creative source for new directions and priorities in the future.)
  • The Committee will be free to proceed in the manner it deems most effective.
  • The Secretary will help in any way possible but will give no unsolicited advice or direction beyond the initial charge. The Editor, Karl Mamola, may suggest specific issues or questions that may provide help for the committee’s review but otherwise will not participate in the actual review of the TPT. The Committee will be encouraged to gather information from the TPT Editorial Board (past and present) as well as current and past members of the Editorial Board and the Publications Committee. However, the Committee will also be encouraged to seek representative input from the broad readership. 
  • The Committee will also work with the editor to prepare an announcement of the review in the TPT and the Announcer as early in 2005 as possible. All comments should be directed to the Committee Chair.
  • The AAPT staff, while providing some assistance in routine tasks associated with the review, should not be used to collect or organize responses/input from TPT users. Data given in the report should be in summary form only so as to maintain anonymity.



The Board will authorize $3000 for Committee expenses including travel, duplication costs, phone conference calls and postage needs. 


In discussion of these recommendations, Holbrow expressed surprise that the AAPT did not have a mission statement for the journal. Khoury said he was hesitant to ask the Review Committee to define this. In response, Mamola explained that the journal has an editorial policy, which functions as a mission statement.


Some discussion by the Board concerned the non-specific nature of the charge. D. Peterson explained that such statements gave the committee freedom to conduct the review as they thought best.. 


Monroe moved that the Board accept her recommendations regarding the timeline, charge to the committee and the budget. Holbrow seconded the motion. The motion passed.


Monroe explained that she had not completed the identification of members to serve on the Review Committee, but that she would bring her recommendations to the Board at a later date. 


32. Executive Board Meeting with the APS Forum on Education. Monroe reported that she had transcribed her notes from the meeting and had sent these to Holbrow. Holbrow agreed to prepare a report to be posted electronically. Iona urged the Board to make specific responses to the six ideas identified for cooperation between the two organizations. (See Summer 2004 Minutes, Item 38.) Nelson delayed this discussion until the Board meeting in Albuquerque. 


33. Options for Fundraising. In a handout prepared by Khoury, he described five options for fund raising activities for AAPT awards.

1)      The Current Level of fund raising (donations obtained with renewal notices) produces about $10, 000 annually.

2)      Informal Fund Raising by Board and Staff would involve the preparation of letters to past officers and textbook authors.

3)      Volunteer-Led Fund Raising would involve the identification of a high-level group of volunteers who would seek significant donations from select members of the AAPT community.

4)      Volunteer + Outside Counsel would combine the high-level volunteer committee concept with outside counsel to guide the volunteers. (This model was used by the AAPT and the APS in the early stages of the Campaign for Physics.)

5)      Creation of an AAPT Development Office would constitute a commitment by AAPT to systematically raise funds from AAPT members and other benefactors. (This model has been used by both the AIP and the APS for the last ten years.)


In discussion of his report, Khoury suggested for the time being a narrow focus on the Oersted and the Phillips Awards. Along the lines of seeking individual donations rather than a full endowment, he recommended the following approach. 

“Khoury will work with the AAPT presidential chain to identify a group of two or three prominent AAPT members who would talk at the past officers’ lunch in Albuquerque to seek assistance by that group in raising funds adequate to endow the Oersted and Philips awards. They would then approach specific members of that group (as well as other AAPT members) asking for specific donations.”


Holbrow stated that past officers are a good source for fundraising. He proposed designating two or three past officers as honorary chairs with past officers also serving as target identifiers. 


Chabay explained in most fundraising cases there is a dollar target and such efforts typically first obtain seed money, about 1/3 of the target amount, before announcing the fundraising activity. Holbrow said he thought it was a good idea to start with past officers, then involve vendors and then larger donors. It was agreed that Khoury would contact donors concerning the collection of seed money and would report this action during the Past Officers’ Luncheon in Albuquerque.


Holbrow moved that the Board accept the recommendation from Khoury (reported above) to proceed to set up the structure to collect $1 million to endow all awards. Robertson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 


34. National Meetings Task Force. In his report to the Board (Board Packet, IIIK) Iona, Chair of the National Meetings Task Force, reported the purposes of meetings identified by Board members during a brainstorming activity in Sacramento: (1) to professionally network with colleagues, (2) to receive new ideas related to content, pedagogy, technology, and other, and (3) to influence the direction of physics education (K-20). Iona also included in his report the responses from the surveys of First Timers, Area Chairs and Section Officers Groups during the Sacramento meeting. In addition to these he indicated that both members and non members would be surveyed and invited specific thoughts from Board members regarding the survey questions. Copies of the draft survey were circulated.


35. Area Committees.  D. Peterson reported that the Nominating Committee had completed its appointments to area committees, except for a couple of problems. His appointments of area committee chairs and a third member to each committee would be completed in a couple of weeks.


The draft agenda for the Area Chairs Meeting in Albuquerque was included in the Board Packet (Item IIID). D. Peterson indicated that he would like to put “more teeth” into the committee visit conducted by each Board member. He would like to establish a procedure that would provide input from the area committees to be seriously considered by the Board. Such an effort could lead to a written document. D. Peterson suggested that maybe committee forms could be developed by Board members that would prompt discussion in subsequent Board meetings. 


36. AIP Governing Board. Khoury explained that Holbrow would be retiring as a member of the AIP Governing Board and that traditionally the Board appointed the Vice President to fill this vacancy. Nelson moved and Holbrow seconded that Ken Heller be appointed to the AIP Governing Board. The motion passed unanimously. 


37. AIP Committees. Following a review of vacancies on AIP committees and preliminary discussion of these, Nelson asked Board members to submit their nominations for these committee positions, along with supporting documentation, to him. Nelson, Monroe and Khoury will prepare the nominations and Monroe, as AAPT Secretary, will submit these to AIP by the December 17, 2004 deadline.


38. SPIN-UP/TYC. Monroe explained that a report of the findings of the ten site visits to community colleges conducted during the two-year term of the AAPT project was in the hands of the editor, Dr. Jay Norton. It was anticipated that the report would be published and ready for distribution in January 2005. Three additional site visits (two to physics programs servicing technical programs and one to a Historical Black Institution) were scheduled for later in the Fall 2004. A report of these additional findings would be published, most likely as an appendum to the major report. The term of the NSF-funded project will end January 31, 2005.


39. PhysTEC. Hein, CoPI, expressed that he was encouraged by Hodapp’s actions thus far as the new PI for the project. Jack Hehn, a CoPI from the AIP, voiced agreement with this comment. (A status report for the Board was included in the Board Packet, Item IIIG.)


40. ComPADRE. Hein reported that the AAPT had received informal word that the project had not received additional funding from the NSF. Only three awards were given. However, NSF was encouraging the AAPT to resubmit a proposal in April 2005.


Concerning the status of the project, Hein explained that there was enough money to maintain the effort for about another year. All ComPADRE collections will be accessible in the next month or two. Consequently the advertising at future professional meetings would be more aggressive. 


Jack Hehn explained that it was significant that the physics community had not been deeply involved in the NSDL program and as a result the reviewers for the ComPADRE proposal were not from the physics community. Hehn advised that the physics community had to build a constituency for electronic publication. He went on to say that it was clear from the politics that the big projects were the ones that got funded and these have broad constituencies. In response to a question from D. Peterson, Hehn stated that it appeared that the PSRC was not a large-enough effort in the eyes of the reviewers. 


41. World Year of Physics. Stone gave a progress report on the various activities planned by the AAPT for the World Year of Physics celebration. He noted that the Sigma Pi Sigma Congress, the kick-off event for the year-long activities, would be occurring during the next week. Monroe has been asked to report to the Congress about the special activities planned by the community colleges. D. Peterson and Warren Hein would also be attending the meeting as representatives from AAPT. 


Stone explained that the physics societies had done a good job in getting members of the physics community involved, but they were now directing their attention to involving the general public. 


42. BAUPC. Khoury reported that everything seemed on track as the AAPT assumes administration of the Boston Area Undergraduate Physics Competition (BAUPC). Richard Olenick, AAPT Exams Director, is excited about the new program and has been in touch with Dave Morin concerning the transition. For the next few years, the problems will be written by the faculty at Cambridge and the exams will be distributed in paper copy. It is not clear how the grading will be handled. The money for the cash prizes is a small amount and therefore does not pose a problem. Some thought was being given to developing a NSF grant to provide funding for multiple exam sites across the country. 


Hehn invited Khoury and Olenick to talk to him and Gary White, SPS Director, about involving the Society of Physics Students, in this activity. 


43. Adjournment.

Mary Beth Monroe, AAPT Secretary