AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers
2006 Announcements
Below are the news items of that ran on the AAPT.org homepage and in AAPT NEWS in 2006.

December
Planning Action Group (PAG) Update 2
AAPT Begins Listserv on Advanced Labs
"Physics To Go" Redesigned

November
National Election Results
October Board Meeting Summary

October
Planning Action Group (PAG) Update 1
From Teachers to Teaching—A Stronger AAPT

August
Graduate Education in Physics Report (Revised)

July
2006 Photo Contest Winners Announced
Advanced Laboratory Task Force Final Report

May
Toufic Hakim to Lead the American Association of Physics Teachers


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Planning Action Group Update 2Toufic Hakim
December 2006
By Toufic Hakim

Toward its goal of developing a strategic framework that will govern AAPT's future development and decision making, the Planning Action Group (PAG)has so far completed two weekend study sessions. In these sessions,members of PAG developed a draft statement of vision and values, discussed the AAPT membership model and benefits, reviewed the governance structure of the association, evaluated the relationship between the national organization and its sections, and started laying out ambitious impact goals (general physics education goals that AAPT should strive to fulfill). PAG will meet again in January and March to continue its deliberations.

PAG invites all those attending the January meeting in Seattle to visit its posters by the AAPT booth and react to the draft vision and value statements.

This is the second phase of the planning process, which started over one year ago. During the first phase a series of data-gathering and analysis activities and a number of focus group discussions were conducted, leading to a June 2006 retreat of members of the boards, select former officers and leaders of the organization.

PAG consists of a subgroup of the Board (Ruth Chabay, Dwain Desbien, Alan Gibson and Dick Peterson), in conjunction with the Executive Officer (Toufic Hakim) and Associate Executive Officer (Warren Hein) and is assisted by Karen Johnston, Momentum Group, and a former President of AAPT. External reviewers will also be involved in the latter phases of the process.

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AAPT Begins Listserv on Advanced Labs
December 2006

A new listserv on Advanced Physics Laboratories has been created. Its purpose is to facilitate communication between people who teach or are otherwise interested in undergraduate advanced physics laboratories, and to foster improved teaching by the sharing of information on successes and failures. The listserv will bring a sense of community to teachers of advanced labs, many of whom teach in isolated environments. Topics are whatever people want to discuss, including among other things, condensed matter physics, optics, atomic and molecular physics, electronics, nuclear physics, equipment choices, and specific teaching techniques. The listserv is located at: http://lists.aapt.org/cgi-bin/lyris.pl?enter=advlabs-l


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"Physics To Go" Redesigned
December 2006

Physics To Go is an outreach website—part of the ComPADRE collection-that is valuable for both physics teachers and students. Recently redesigned, it now incorporates two images in the categories "Physics in Your World" and "From Physics Research." Physics To Go is also a digital library in informal physics learning, with about 300 sites in the collection at this time.

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National Election Results
November 2006

We are pleased to announce the results of last month's vote:

  • Vice President: Alexander K. Dickison, Seminole Community College, Sanford, FL.
  • Secretary: Steven Iona, University of Denver, CO.
  • Four-Year College Representative: Gordon P. Ramsey, Loyola University Chicago, IL.
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October Board Meeting Summary
November 2006

The AAPT Executive Board met October 28-29 and passed more than a dozen initiatives. President Ken Heller summarizes the meeting in this memorandum to members. For a specific list of the actions, please see this memo from Mary Beth Monroe, Secretary.

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Planning Action Group Update 1
October 2006

The AAPT Planning Action Group (PAG) met October 28-29. Executive Officer Toufic Hakim gave this summary of their session:

Building on the outcome of the June planning retreat, and one year's worth of interviews and data collection, the second phase of the AAPT planning process is well on its way. The first planning session by the Planning Action Group (Ruth Chabay, Dwain Desbien, Alan Gibson, Dick Peterson, and myself as convener) took place at the end of October at ACP. The Group was joined by Warren Hein, Associate Executive Officer, and Karen Johnston, who is serving as Senior Physicist Advisor for Planning throughout this six-month process. Her role is to assist in research and material development, facilitate communication with members on issues of planning, and advise the Executive Officer on the mechanics of the process and on all issues relating to planning as needed.

In that first, nine-hour session, the focus was on organizational vision, values, and impact goals. Three other meetings will follow in December 2006, and January and March 2007, to discuss planning issues relating to membership, governance, programs, communications, and publications.

The objective of these sessions is to produce a strategic framework that will guide the work of the Association across the next 6 to 12 years. A working plan will be produced, complete with the AAPT context and principles, impact goals for physics education, internal goals for AAPT that allow the Association to meet these impact goals, strategies, and timelines, as well as lines of responsibility and related budgetary projections.

We invite (and expect!) the membership at large to engage in this process. Between the PAG's meetings, there will be planning updates and communiqués with various groups to describe progress and seek input. In the meantime, our dedicated mailbox for suggestions remains open and is monitored actively-send your suggestions to future@aapt.org. Once vetted through the membership, the plan will be brought forward for discussion and endorsement at the Board's April 2007 meeting.

Once final, the plan will serve as a guide for organizational decision making in the short and intermediate terms.

Once again, I hope you will participate actively in this important process.

In service of physics education,
Toufic Hakim

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From Teachers to Teaching-A Stronger AAPT
By Ken Heller and Toufic Hakim
October 2006

Organizations, like organisms, must adapt to their evolving environment. This is especially true in today's socio-political, technological, and academic setting. With the prospect of significant changes in funding support for science education, in electronic publishing, and in global competition, AAPT must constantly review its priorities and initiate actions that reflect its core beliefs.

Our tradition gives us a rich heritage as an association that values the teaching of physics, and knows how to do it. AAPT must remain a vibrant membership-based association, serving the professional needs of its members, while at the same time increasing its role as a dynamic resource for all physics educators and becoming a leading voice of physics education. Motivated by our passion for physics, our experience in teaching, and our knowledge of physics education, we will find new ways to expand the reach of our programs and services. We must be a strong contributor-and soon the leader-in a national effort to improve physics education.

Together we must work to broaden and deepen the impact of AAPT and the influence of its members on physics education. To this end:
  • We must analyze the effect of our many significant initiatives, programs, and publications and disseminate widely the most successful among them.
  • We must continue to support the new ideas and techniques in teaching that our members have produced and work to combine these best practices in ways that could precipitate systemic change in the nation’s schools and universities.
  • We must increase the effectiveness of communications to and among our members while reaching out to a much larger community of scientists, educators, administrators, and policymakers.
  • We must facilitate public dialogues on science education that lead to meaningful conversations on issues of regional and national significance.
To realize this vision, AAPT is embarking on Phase II of a comprehensive planning process that, when completed, will establish AAPT's strategic directions and refine its agenda to effectively address them. AAPT will establish ambitious goals and develop the appropriate infrastructure to meet them. All stages of this planning process will engage the membership and leadership of the Association.

Our AAPT of the twenty-first century will build on the strengths that characterize its growth through the twentieth century. It may become larger and more international. It may have new types of members and turn some of its attention to national policy. It will surely engage in fundraising and be widely recognized by scientists and educators as the voice of physics education. Above all, AAPT will continue to be anchored in our knowledge that good physics is at the core of effective physics teaching. In turn, effective physics teaching is critical to advancing physics research and development, as well as the physics literacy of our entire population so necessary for survival in an increasingly technological world.

Your Board at its October meeting embraced this vision. A number of key decisions were made (see the upcoming AAPT News) which will help shape AAPT into a stronger organization that provides tangible benefits to those teaching physics, while advancing the "cause" of physics education.

As you will see, your Board addressed issues in communications and publications, governance, meetings, development, teacher preparation, awards, and programs for new teachers. The minutes of the meeting will soon be posted on AAPT.org. We urge you to review these areas of emphasis, let us know your ideas, and consider where you would like to contribute.

We are moving toward a vision of AAPT as a leading voice for physics education and a leading resource for physics educators. We invite you to join us on this journey that promises to be exciting and challenging. The rewards for AAPT are significant. The rewards for physics education are greater. We can only get there if we work together. After all, the dedication of our members who rise to a challenge is a hallmark of AAPT-a characteristic that the National Office will wholeheartedly support.

Ken Heller, President
Toufic Hakim, Executive Officer

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Graduate Education in Physics Report
August 2006

A revised edition of the report of the Joint AAPT-APS Task Force on Graduate Education in Physics is now available. See our Teaching Resources section or download a PDF of the report.

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2006 Photo Contest Winners
July 26, 2006

Winners in the 2006 AAPT/Lexmark High School Photo Contest were chosen yesterday. First Place in the Natural Category went to Marina Autina of Treasure Valley Math & Science Center in Boise, Idaho (Teacher:DaNel Hogan). In the Contrived Category, First Place was awarded to Kevin Rosenquist of West Chicago Community High School in West Chicago, Illinois (Teacher: Annette Rubino). View the entire list of winners (pdf).

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Advanced Laboratory Task Force Final Report
July 19, 2006

For the past six months the members of the Advanced Laboratory Task Force (ALTF) have been engaged in responding to the charge given to it by the AAPT Executive Committee. In telephone conversations and e-mail exchanges we have discussed a wide range of topics, including the current advanced laboratory curriculum at member institutions; member experiences of developing and teaching the advanced laboratory; and ways AAPT might improve advanced laboratory instruction. The members of the ALTF represent a broad range of institutions, including research universities, large state universities, and small private colleges. Members of the ALTF included both instructional staff and regular academic faculty. This breadth of experience was important to the ALTF mission, because advanced laboratory instruction differs greatly by institution. Local conditions-staff and faculty expertise, equipment resources, financial resources, and departmental commitment-determine to a great extent the quantity and sophistication of advanced laboratory experiments. Much of the content of the undergraduate physics curriculum is the same across a broad range of institutions, but the content and conduct of the advanced laboratory course varies widely and is now, and likely will remain, idiosyncratic. We did not seek recommendations that would benefit advanced laboratory instruction at a certain kind of institution, such as at the hypothetical ideal physics department, but rather we sought to suggest ways AAPT could assist the entire, highly heterogeneous, advanced laboratory community.

Read the entire report: HTML or PDF.

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Toufic Hakim to Lead the American Association of Physics Teachers
May 22, 2006
Toufic Hakim
The American Association of Physics Teachers announced that Dr. Toufic M. Hakim, Director of Research and Sponsored Programs at Kean University, New Jersey, will serve as its new Executive Officer. The AAPT is the nation's leading physics education organization with 10,000 members from over 30 countries. Its goal is to enhance the understanding and appreciation of physics through teaching. The AAPT supports the development of effective teaching resources and professional enhancement programs for physics teachers in universities, colleges, community colleges, and high schools.

Dr. Hakim will join the AAPT offices at the American Center of Physics in College Park, MD, in September and will succeed Dr. Bernard Khoury, who earlier had announced his planned retirement after 16 successful years at the helm.

"I am very enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with the large number of dedicated staff and volunteers who are passionate about, and committed to, physics teaching and learning," said Hakim. "I am honored to be chosen to serve AAPT, an organization whose mission I highly value and respect and whose impact cannot be understated. After all, advances in our national and global economy and enhancements in our quality of life depend in large measure on physics, the mother of modern science."

According to Dr. Kenneth Heller, President of the AAPT and the Morse-Alumni Professor of Physics at the University of Minnesota, "His experience and persona fit our needs for the next AAPT Executive Officer. His creativity and dynamic personality will maintain and enhance the range and effectiveness of AAPT programs and will help the association become a more powerful presence in physics education. Dr. Hakim has demonstrated through his years of teaching and student research engagement that he cares deeply about student learning and physics development."

Dr. Khoury, the current AAPT Executive Officer, remarked that Hakim is "ready to advance AAPT to a more visible presence in science education.  I like the balance of his experiences and his forceful presence and vision."

Hakim holds B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics, as well as an M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering. He was professor of both physics and engineering at Jacksonville University, Florida. There he developed successful undergraduate research programs and an international studies department. He was recognized by the university with its highest award for faculty. Hakim served as the President of the Council on Undergraduate Research, as an American Council on Education Fellow, and as Assistant to the President at the College of New Jersey. Among his awards, he was the 1997 Florida Professor of the Year.

At Kean University, Hakim provided leadership that energized the research environment and external funding activity, resulting in a substantial increase in funding. He also participated in a national project to evaluate all undergraduate research projects funded by the National Science Foundation.

In his new position, Hakim will channel his experiences in education, development and marketing to support the efforts of AAPT's members to improve the teaching of physics. He expressed his desire to "protect and build on the collegial environment of this wonderful organization. I am inspired by my colleagues’ work and hope to be inspiring through my interest in physics, public relations, even poetry-and yes, there is a lot of poetry in physics."

The AAPT Executive Board expressed its appreciation for the efforts of the Search Committee that nominated Dr. Hakim: Ken Heller, Chair, Mary Beth Monroe (Physics Instructor, Southwest Texas Junior College, and AAPT Secretary) and AAPT Past Presidents Charles Holbrow (Dana Professor of Physics Emeritus, Colgate University), Ruth Howes (Professor and Chair of Physics, Marquette University), Jim Nelson (formerly at University High School, Orlando, Florida) and Jim Stith (Vice President, Physics Resources Center, American Institute of Physics). The search was ably facilitated by Jane Gruenebaum, Vice President and Director of Isaacson Miller, Inc and her staff.  Isaacson Miller is a national firm that specializes in executive searches for non-profit organizations.


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