Oct. 29-30, 2005
D. Peterson asked the Board if they were ready to present Plan A on the Revitalization of Winter Meetings to Council. There was general agreement among Board members. Board members expressed a desire to keep the Council apprised of Board discussions and decisions although approval from Council is not needed to implement the plans. D. Peterson explained that the Board thoughts regarding Plan A would be presented to Council in the same vein that Khoury presents recommendations for future meetings to Council. R. Peterson said he would find ways to engage section representatives in a review of Plan A prior to Council meeting in Anchorage. Generally he found that many representatives would not read documents circulated prior to a meeting.
In response to a question from Holbrow, D. Peterson explained that while there had been some discussion that some vendors might not attend future Winter meetings, it was not clear at this time that the vendors would not be in Anchorage. Roeder then asked if exhibitors would be at future joint meetings. Khoury explained that each participating organization brought their own vendors and if there were an overlap, the two organizations would negotiate regarding these logistics. Khoury also pointed out that organizations meeting jointly also had to negotiate regarding registration fees for members, particularly taking into account differences in membership dues.
Leff then asked Board instruction regarding how much power he had as Program Chair to change the number of oral presentations. He wanted to know in short if he could implement the proposal. Khoury and Peterson replied that he could. Khoury explained that Leff would have to work with the area committees in developing the call for papers.
D. Peterson advised Leff to implement the changes in small steps, possibly first having a discussion of the plan in Programs I, followed by asking the Board to pass a resolution expressing its support for the plan. Heller also added that area committees need to be persuaded that posters are more effective than oral presentations. Once this is done, Leff could slowly limit the number of talks so as to allow for the meeting culture to change.
Heimpel reported that guidelines for good poster presentations were almost ready for posting on the AAPT website. Chabay asked that examples be posted as well. Roeder suggested the creation of an award for a best poster.
In summation of the Board’s discussion regarding Winter meetings, D. Peterson said that he would bring to the Board a draft charge to the meetings committee. (See these Minutes, Item 15.) In Council he would only report an intent by AAPT to be more flexible in the time and format for Winter meetings. He said that the Board had reached consensus on many elements of the meeting plans, but certainly not on regional meetings. Khoury will probe with Council its willingness to meet in February and to meet jointly.
Hein reported that the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) has a Summer meeting at the same time as AAPT and so talks have been initiated with them. The MAA has expressed an interest in doing a workshop/presentation exchange. Discussions with the Optical Society of America (OSA) concerning a possible joint meeting have also been scheduled.
7. June 2006 PELC Retreat.
Maria Elena Khoury presented a short report describing the facilities reserved for the June 2006 Retreat. The retreat site will be at the Belmont Conference Center, Elkridge, MD, which is about nine miles from the BWI airport. The Retreat will begin Thursday evening, June 22 and end at Noon on Sunday, June 25. M.E. Khoury estimated the costs for 30 attendees to be about $36 K.
D. Peterson reported his appointments to the Retreat Planning Committee: C. Robertson, Randy Peterson, Dick Peterson, M. B. Monroe, and John Roeder.
Discussion with Retreat Facilitator.
Karen Johnston thanked the Board for the trust it had placed in her as retreat Facilitator. She described the retreat at the start of an adventure that would not end in 2006. She explained that her purpose in visiting with the Board was to start the discussion that would lead to defining the goals for the retreat, the topics to be addressed, and who would be invited to attend. She described her role as one (1) to ask questions and listen, (2) to help the Board develop the structure for the retreat, (3) to help the Board interpret the retreat outcomes and (4) to communicate to AAPT members what happened at the retreat. The Board will establish the program and define the outcomes. However, Johnston said that she did not have a comprehensive view of the role of the Board.
Johnston asked the Board to be mindful of certain points as the planning proceeds. Since the AAPT is engaged in a search for a new Executive Officer (EO), the Board needs to insure that the planning of the Retreat mitigates any risk in the search for a new EO. In addition, the Board needs to make sure that priorities and action plans emanating from the Retreat will not be in conflict with what is the mind of the incoming EO. She advised the Board to look at the influence of the AAPT in the bigger world and to be mindful that AAPT is a partner in a physics community. Johnston also observed that we are experiencing some threats to the viability of the organization because we have a small membership.
Karen Johnston described the work she had done as she prepared for this first discussion with the Board. She had a conference phone call with Dick Peterson and with the Executive Officers, reviewed Board Minutes, Announcer reports, some reports from the area committees, conducted phone interviews, reviewed the mission statement of the AAPT and the missions of other organizations, reviewed the historical information regarding AAPT awards, and reviewed information regarding the APS Forum on Education and its minutes. Among her phone interviews, Johnston talked with each member of the Executive Board, asking them to (1) describe their vision for the June retreat, (2) comment on what they believed to be the critical issues facing AAPT today, in particular if AAPT still faced the same critical issues identified during the 2000 retreat, (3) rank the strategic priorities identified in planning meetings of the Board in 2001-2003 and to add or delete from this list, and (4) identify one significant accomplishment made by the AAPT within the last three years. To date, Johnston had not talked collectively with the Board planning committee.
To facilitate the first face-to-face discussion with the Executive Board, Johnston distributed a “discussion document” having an stated overview to address two questions: (1) What are the anticipated outcomes for the 2006 retreat? (2) How will AAPT activities/operations/role in various communities be different after the retreat?
The document highlighted (1) what Johnston had learned from the discussions with individual Board members, (2) her statements summarizing these discussions, (3) questions to guide the face-to-face discussion with the Board, and (4) areas that she recommended for continued reflection by the Board. In addition Johnston distributed copies of a graphic depicting the number of journal subscriptions from 1977 to the present, a list of the NSF awards to the AAPT beginning with the first award in January 1959, a chart summarizing the proceedings and post-retreat outcomes of the AAPT Board retreats in 1981, 1990, and 2000, and copies of the AAPT webpage “About AAPT”.
Johnston reviewed the three points emerging from phone conversations with the Board (reported in the discussion document): Members of the Board would like (1) the retreat and the retreat processes to set in motion a variety of ACTIONS that would address some persistent concerns; (2) the AAPT to be recognized as the leader in physics education…at all levels; and (3) the retreat and the retreat processes to provide the impetus for the AAPT to become a thriving organization. On the last point, Johnston explained that she had not gotten the sense from any Board member that they thought the AAPT was thriving.
Johnston commended the Board for its pre planning for the retreat, saying that pre planning is what makes a successful retreat. She advised the Board to identify participants in the near future and emphasized that the Board needs to determine, in cooperation with her, how to engage the participants in preparation for the retreat. She added that she would help us finalize the topics for the retreat during the Spring. The Board will need to agree on the leadership for specific discussions planned for this retreat. In her phone conversations with the Board, members voiced a wide range of ideas for the structure of the retreat, some convergent (specific, concrete actions for the next five years) and some divergent (big ideas with action plans to be developed later).
Johnston reported that she had found no evidence of an AAPT retreat prior to 1981. The three AAPT retreats had differed in content focus and how the work of the retreat was organized. She opined that that the structure for the retreat in 1981 might work well for the problems facing AAPT now. She explained that she would work with the Board planning committee to determine the organization of work for the 2006 retreat and what people should develop each area of the work plan. Johnston commented that the Board had been very faithful to complete the work done by the retreat in 2000, adding that some of the white papers prepared for that meeting were web ready and some not.
The planning for the retreat also needs to consider post retreat activities. Judy Franz reported the 1990 retreat outcomes in her Retiring President’s Report. Johnston advised the AAPT to publish a report of its 2006 retreat that would persuade members to work with us to achieve these outcomes.
Johnston referred to the ideas for retreat focus listed in the discussion document. She commented that changing the core value of AAPT as a service organization was suggested in several phone conversations. It was not clear to her what the change should be. She also added that the lack of synergy between sections and the national organization was an important concern mentioned in many of the conversations.
Johnston advised the Board to keep the AAPT mission in mind during its planning of the retreat, to consider if there was a logical connection between the mission and the activities of the AAPT. She also advised the Board to reconsider its critical issues. She explained that her review of the AAPT webpage did not reveal the connection between the critical issues and the posted activities of the AAPT. Johnston reported that the Board members commented that the critical issues were too broad or too vague. Their suggestions for missing critical issues were more concrete. She referred the Board to the list emanating from the phone conversations. The suggestions indicate that all Board members are concerned about AAPT outreach. Johnston asked how the fourth critical issue came about since the last retreat only produced three critical issues. D. Peterson and Khoury explained that the addition of the last issue was the result of a petition from the PER community to the Board.
D. Peterson asked Johnston to explain her meaning of “missing physicists” appearing in the list of missing critical issues. She explained that it referred to physicists in four-year colleges and universities who are not part of our organization. She added that the term could be extended to include industrial physicists who are interested in how we educate new physicists.
In her comments regarding core values, Johnston explained that the core values of experienced high school teachers would not necessarily be that of a young faculty at a college trying to get tenure. Therefore the core values of AAPT should be values that align with all members. Johnston expressed the hope that in planning the retreat outcomes we would consider if how the AAPT presents itself to the community matches our core values. Her review of the AAPT website disclosed that top priorities to be AAPT’s relations with other societies and teacher preparation/professional development. She stated that she had not been successful in connecting strategic priorities to critical issues. She said that if we define a strategic priority, we need to put a plan underneath it so that the Board and office can interpret it. Khoury pointed out that the Board Packet listed reports describing how each planning initiative (strategic priority) was being addressed, but this report did not appear in the Minutes. Johnston responded that she did not have access to the Board packet, which exemplifies that such information is not available to the general membership. However, Johnston explained that she did know that the Board selected an action item for each critical issue from the 2000 retreat.
Johnston noted that in all AAPT retreats, there was expressed concern about the membership tied to journal subscriptions. She reported that one Board member had expressed a strong concern about the decline in association members and the loss of journal subscriptions. She explained that the graphic reporting journal subscriptions is an example of the visual information we want to share at the retreat that would quickly bring the guests up to speed.
Tobochnik expressed that it was his understanding that the loss in non-member subscriptions is due to institutions not having multiple subscriptions; they now primarily have one. Probably 80% of online use is overseas (an estimate based on the number of hits and downloads), but he guessed the income to be about 10%. He added that currently the loss of subscribers is not a problem because it has been a slight loss. Johnston advised the Board to figure out what this graphic is saying and how can we make it say to the participants what we want them to consider. If we show a graphic at the retreat we need to capture enough data to insure that we can talk about it in the right way and if numbers are presented, we need to make sure the people with the right numbers create the graphic.
Johnston asked Khoury if the office could provide a graphic showing membership profile and the shift in membership profile. Khoury said yes, commenting that the membership profile had not significantly changed. He explained, as Gibson had observed, a change had occurred in the visibility and leadership from the constituencies (for example, three current Board members represent the high school community). Khoury also pointed out that some studies reveal that when an organization reaches a 2K membership there is a tendency to fractionalize, which had been the case with the PER community. Johnston also pointed to the example of the PIRA group.
Johnston reported that the Board members did a good job describing AAPT success stories. For example the Board is proud of its PER community. However she remarked that this community would continue to grow. The Board will need to consider how it can maintain its support of this group, such as support for the ST-PER publication.
Referring to the list of NSF awards, Johnston asked if the association still thought it was important to get outside funding to target particular audiences. As an example she asked what would happen if funding for PTRA went away. Nelson replied that the high school membership and responsibilities within AAPT have grown in the last twenty years. He postulated that the loss of funding to this community would result in a loss of leadership training for high school teachers. Johnston then asked Nelson if he had data from the PTRA program addressing this issue that could be shared at the retreat. Both Khoury and Nelson replied that this information was available. A short discussion then followed concerning how the PTRA could become self-sustaining.
Johnston asked the Board to consider what in the association’s infrastructure could be improved that would help sustain the success stories identified by the Board. She alluded to the preparation of young two-year college faculty for leadership in the AAPT, the long-term financial health of the organization, and the visible role of AAPT within the physics community. Board members indicated during their interviews that PhysTEC and ComPADRE have yet to reach their potential. Johnston asked what in our infrastructure would allow us to help these efforts.
Johnston highlighted two topics from the list of threats compiled from her interviews with the Board. About 1000 people attend each AAPT national meeting. For the Winter meeting, approximately 500 attendees are members and only about 700 members attend the Summer meetings. At present the sections have a minimal function within the association. Johnston advised the Board to consider the role the sections should have in the retreat and what synergy we want down the road between the sections and the national organization.
Johnston explained that she would work with the planning committee to develop a 1-2 pager that would provide an overview for the retreat. She then led a discussion regarding the title for the retreat. Prior to this Board meeting, the June meeting had been called a leadership conference. She pointed out that the term conference implies an open meeting, whereas retreat implies an invited meeting. At the conclusion of this discussion, the Board decided that the name would be the AAPT Board Planning Retreat, 2006. There was some concern that using “Board” in the title could make guests feel unequal as contributors and participants. Johnston advised the Board to make sure that this was not the case.
D. Peterson explained that due to the size of the retreat facilities, the upper limit for the number of participants should be about 30. Johnston asked the Board to consider how it would involve the section representatives and the area committees in the retreat.
Johnston then asked the Board if they wanted her to talk with the staff directors to learn their ideas concerning the retreat. The Board replied that they did.
Johnston explained that the one pager would be presented to the section representatives and to the area committees in Anchorage. She views the one pager as an internal document.
In conclusion, Johnston said she would work with the five-member planning committee to identify what issues would be discussed at the retreat, the number of participants as well as who would be invited, and the format for the retreat. She asked the Board members to continue to reflect on four areas:
1) Identification of AAPT Activities/Initiatives.
2) Cost-Benefit Analysis in your own language.
3) What can AAPT “give up doing” in order to undertake new initiatives?
4) What issues would you like to take a leadership role in during the retreat?
Johnston clarified that cost-benefit was not referring to dollars.
8. Advanced Lab Initiative. Leff reviewed the background leading to preparation of a proposal to form an Advanced Labs Task Force (Item IID in the Board packet). He explained the rationale for the membership for the Task Force, the charge and working timeframe for the committee, and the cost estimates for the proposed budget support. Leff then moved that the Executive Board approve the formation of the Advanced Labs Task Force (ALTF) as described in the proposal with a budget up to $ 9 K to support the work of the Task Force. John Roeder seconded the motion.
a. Identify ways for AAPT to provide more extensive, ongoing help to upper division laboratory teachers, in order to improve their courses and better prepare their students for subsequent graduate-level research.
b. Specifically address all items in the list of ideas identified below, along with other relevant thoughts generated for improving the teaching of advanced labs.
o Bring people who have developed excellent advanced labs together with those seeking to do so. This could be at AAPT meetings, special regional meetings, or by campus visits.
o Create databases of (i) quality lab experiments and (ii) “tricks of the trade” including, but not limited to, where to buy and how to fabricate needed equipment.
o Develop a mechanism to recognize excellence in advanced labs, perhaps with an endowed AAPT Award.
o Develop an ongoing mechanism for people to present ideas on advanced labs. This might be done with annual workshops and/or other sessions at AAPT meetings.
o Develop strong, effective lines of professional communication among those involved in upper division labs. This might be accomplished using a computer listserv or bulletin board.
o Seek NSF and/or other funding to meet AAPT goals.
o Create standing AAPT, APS, and joint AAPT/APS groups to focus on advanced laboratory issues.
c. Report in writing to the AAPT Executive Board: (1) on progress toward development of a set of action-oriented recommendations by March 20, 2006 (prior to the March 25-26 meeting of the Board), and (2) with its final report and recommendations by July 17, 2006 (prior to the AAPT Board meeting in Syracuse).
D. Peterson, R. Peterson and Leff will add names to the list of membership candidates and D. Peterson will make the appointments. The support money will be taken from the Klopsteg Fund. The motion passed unanimously.
9. Investment Advisory Committee. Robertson reported that the Investment Advisory Committee had met with a TIAA-CREF representative, Mike Kowalkowski. He gave the committee a very good description of the economic outlook for the next year and how that might apply to AAPT investments. He presented four options for our Growth and Income Fund. Of the options, the Committee voted to move our domestic large cap equity investments from the TIAA Growth and Income Fund to the S&P 500 Index Strategy Complemented by Active Mid Cap Equity.
Robertson also reported that Leonard Jossem had indicated that he would like to retire from the committee in light of his long tenure on the committee. Robertson asked the Board for their suggestions concerning a replacement for Jossem.
10. Executive Session I (with the Executive Officers, Holbrow and Johnston).
D. Peterson called the Board into Executive Session I to consider the PhysTEC report and to review the request from the temporary committee on Teacher Preparation.
(D. Peterson reconvened the Board into open session.)
11. PhysTEC Project. D. Peterson advised the Board that John Layman had submitted his letter of resignation as CoPI for AAPT to the PhysTEC project. The Board accepted the resignation with regrets, acknowledging the contributions made by Layman to PhysTEC on behalf of the AAPT. The Board expressed its thanks with a round of applause. J. Nelson moved that the Executive Board request B. Khoury to appoint a CoPI to the PhysTEC project in the proper time, with approval by the Board. Roeder seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
12. Temporary Committee on Teacher Preparation. Robertson moved that the temporary committee on Teacher Preparation be made a permanent committee. Mamola seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
13. World Year of Physics Activities. Hein reported that he was optimistic that the NSF proposal submitted in August, 2005 would be funded by the NSF. (See these Minutes, Secretary’s Report.) The funding will support the participation by six U. S. students and students from five other countries (Cameroon, Ghana, Tanzania, Argentina and Indonesia)in the Young Ambassadors’ Symposium, the culminating activity for the WYP Physics Talent Search. The event will be held in Taipei, Taiwan, December 31, 2005 – January 4, 2006. Beverly Karplus Hartline is the International coordinator for this event that has been organized through IUPAP.In response to a question from D. Peterson, Hein said the program would require about 5% of M. E. Khoury’s time. Andy Gavrin is working on identifying the student representatives from the U.S.
14. Ben Franklin Commemoration. Gibson reported that the High School Committee is sponsoring a workshop and session in Syracuse in coordination with the Ben Franklin Commemoration, which commemorates Franklin’s 300th birthday, January 17, 2006. The celebration will run from the Fall 2005 through 2006.
D. Peterson adjourned the Board until Sunday Morning.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Members Present: Dick Peterson, Ken Heller (arriving late), Harvey Leff, Jim Nelson, Mary Beth Monroe, Chuck Robertson, Randy Peterson, Al Gibson, Chuck Stone, Ruth Chabay, John Roeder, Jan Tobochnik (leaving early), Bernard V. Khoury
Guests: Roxanne Muller, Maria Elena Khoury, Warren Hein, Charlie Holbrow, Jim Stith (AIP Physics Resources Center), John Layman
(D. Peterson called this session of the Board meeting to order.)
15. Committee on Meetings. D. Peterson read a draft of the charge to the committee on meetings, which he had prepared overnight. He will send each Board member a copy by email and following their input, he will polish the statement. R. Peterson inquired about the membership of the proposed committee. D. Peterson said he envisioned a seven-member committee comprised of members having three-year terms without stipends but with some travel support. Members could possibly be past Program Chairs, the Senior Staff Physicist, AAPT staff person, and the President Elect. D. Peterson suggested that three members would be at-large members selected from among the area committee chairs who would have staggered three-year terms. He invited input from the Board concerning the committee membership, especially from Hein and Khoury.
16. Report from the Senior Staff Physicist. C. Holbrow expressed that he felt soberly responsible for the task assigned him, viewing it as both an honor and a labor. In an effort to publicize to the general physics and science community that the AAPT Board is attempting to reach to college and university physics teachers, he communicated with organization leaders and 4U physics faculty. These included Duncan McBride at the NSF, Norman Fortenberry at the National Academy of Engineering’s Center for Advancement of Scholarship in Engineering Education, and prepared a press release that was circulated to key people in AIP, APS, AAAS, IOP, and individuals in particular colleges in the northeast United States, especially in the Boston area. He anticipated expanding his communications to the Midwest where he has personal contacts.
Holbrow described four tactics in his October 2005 report to the Executive Board (distributed to Board members prior to the meeting).
1) The first tactic addresses outreach to physics teaching assistants (TAs). He proposes to develop a context in which graduate teaching assistants in physics can meet and discuss common experience and problems. Holbrow will convene a local meeting in Boston of lead TAs from Harvard, Tufts, Boston University, Northeastern University, and University of Massachusetts in February 2006. The purpose of this meeting will be to plan a workshop for a larger number of physics TAs in September 2006. Holbrow explained that most institutions now provide some TA training and that it is important to get these trainers to talk to each other. Hopefully they will realize that AAPT can provide this forum. Holbrow will explore NSF funding opportunities for the workshop and possibly a second proposal to NSF that would establish a program for TAs analogous to the PTRA program.
Gibson suggested that Holbrow might involve AAPT sections in this initiative by getting TAs involved in the sections with the hope that the university faculty would follow. D. Peterson suggested that Sigma Pi Sigma would be good contact for this initiative since its members frequently are TAs. Chabay commented that this effort would be perceived as a service from the AAPT. Holbrow responded saying the difficulty was that the AAPT did not know how to provide the service and so we have to learn. Heller projected that as many as 10% of the TAs become teachers to which Holbrow reported that 400 TAs are hired as teachers each year. Holbrow added that he needed to add the tact of establishing a TA award of the year. Monroe asked if any thought had been given to recognizing successful TA trainers. Holbrow proposed that the AAPT ought to give certificates to TAs upon the completion of the workshop.
2) The second tactic addresses topical conferences. Holbrow, in his effort to identify ways that the AAPT can open channels between physics research and physics education, had discussions with Syracuse faculty Gianfranco Vidali and Peter Saulson. Saulson is also a member of the LIGO collaboration. The discussions focused on the possibility of LIGO serving as the backbone of a small topical conference to precede the AAPT Summer meeting in Syracuse. The topic would be how to integrate general relativity into undergraduate education. The target audience for the conference would be a small number of faculty from leading colleges and universities. In addition Holbrow will work with Bruce Mason to see about getting the conference proceedings published.
Tobochnik asked Holbrow to inquire if there was an interest in a conference for physics chairs of small colleges. One topic could be how to interject physics research into the undergraduate courses at these colleges and another could address the relationship between teaching and research. D. Peterson added that there are horror stories describing the difficulty in hiring physics faculty at small colleges. B. Khoury suggested that the meetings of the elite R1 chairs could be a model for a conference of chairs from small colleges.
3) Holbrow’s third tactic is the establishment of a forum for physics faculty at research (RI) universities. He explained that while 60% of the AAPT membership are 4U faculty, participation at the AAPT meetings has a different percentage. He also explained that there was a need for faculty at R1 universities to learn of each other’s innovations in physics teaching, such as the TEAL program created at MIT by John Belcher. Holbrow emphasized that while the R1 faculty present talks at AAPT about their major reform efforts, the AAPT meeting is not really the appropriate audience. Reform for a program of 600 students is different than reform in small colleges. Holbrow projected that the AAPT could provide the platform that would give R1 faculty opportunities to talk to each other. Holbrow also expressed a need for the RI university faculty to learn about education reform occurring in engineering. During his visit with Fortenberry, Holbrow learned that some engineers are way ahead of physicists with respect to science education innovations. Holbrow described his proposed conference as addressing both concerns. He also expressed his hope that the conference organizers would become the core of a panel of advisors to AAPT.
Heller expressed that he thought physics faculty at R1 universities realize a need for physics curriculum conference. He said that the organizers for this conference should bring a wide range of viewpoints to the conference, but that it would be difficult to find the people who would do this. Holbrow replied that gathering information about the people and the institutions that have implemented innovations is very time consuming.
4) Holbrow explained that his fourth tactic addressed demonstration teaching. He explained that lecturing to faculty on how to achieve better student learning is not very effective. Therefore he attempted the method he described as demonstration teaching. He asked faculty to observe him teaching two class periods of an existing course and then to analyze and critique what he did. It was his hope that this discussion would help the faculty indirectly address problems they were facing as teachers. Although the results were not what he wanted, he explained that he was going to give it another try.
In conclusion, Holbrow asked the Board’s help in identifying ideas and people who could be resources for these initiatives In response to a question from Stone, Holbrow explained that he had prepared his own distribution list for the press release announcing his appointment and job description.
17. AIPPhysicsResourcesCenter. Jim Stith, AIP Physics Resources Center, presented a status report on the activities under his supervision.
B. Khoury expressed that the AIP would like for the AAPT to regularly provided funding support for the publication of DBIS. He asked the members to consider this request and be prepared at some point to make a decision concerning this. pointed out AIP request to regularly contribute funding to DBIS. BK asked the Board to think on and at some point make a decision on this request.