2022 National Board of Directors Election Candidate for Vice President

Gabriel SpaldingGabriel Cooper Spalding

Department of Physics, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL 61701

A.B. Washington University, 1983, Physics & Mathematics summa cum laude; Ph.D. Harvard University, 1990.

Professional Experience
University of Minnesota, Post-doctoral fellow, 1990–94; Haverford College, Visiting Assistant Professor, 1994–96; Univ. of St Andrews (Scotland), Visiting Scholar, 2002–03, Summer ’15; Univ. of Bordeaux (France), Invited Prof., Summer ’07; Univ. of Dundee (Scotland), Invited Prof., Summer ’09, ’10, ’12; Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison (LOCI) Visiting Prof., 2009–10; Univ. of Glasgow (QuantIC), Sponsored Researcher, 2015–16; Illinois Wesleyan University, Professor of Physics, 1996–present

American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Distinguished Service Citation, 2014; American Physical Society (APS) Award for Excellence in Advanced Laboratory Instruction, 2014; Fellow, SPIE - an international society advancing an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light, 2014; Fellow, American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), 2014; Fellow, American Physical Society (APS), 2013

AAPT Activities

  • Board of Directors, American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), January, 2019 – January, 2022 (Elected Director at Large)
  • Advisory Board, Partnership for Integration of Computation into Undergraduate Physics (PICUP), 2015–present
  • Board of Directors, Advanced Laboratory Physics Association (ALPhA), 2007–January 31, 2018 (Elected President of the Board, 2007–10)
  • Representative, American Institute of Physics (AIP) Federation, on behalf of AAPT (2022)
  • AAPT Review Board for Area Committees and NSF grant participation (2020-until end of AAPT-WM22)
  • AAPT Programs Committee, 2010–12, 2017–19
  • AAPT Audit Committee, 2019-until end of AAPT-WM22
  • AAPT Venture Fund Committee, 2019-until end of AAPT-WM22
  • AAPT Finance Committee, 2021-until end of AAPT-WM22
  • AAPT Awards Committee, 2021-until end of AAPT-WM22
  • AAPT Philanthropy Committee, 2015–19 (Chair, 2018-19)
  • AAPT Nominating Committee, 2012–13
  • AAPT Committee on Publications (2019-20)
  • AAPT Committee on Graduate Education in Physics (ex officio, as AAPT Board Member, 2019-until end of AAPT-WM22)
  • Chair, AAPT Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education, 2018-19 (Member 2015–19; Vice-Chair 2017– 18; ex officio, as AAPT Board Member, 2019-until end of AAPT-WM22)
  • Chair, AAPT Committee on Laboratory Instruction, 2011–12 (Vice-Chair, 2010–11; Member 2009–12)
  • Advisory Committee, Chicago State University NSF IUSE: “Connecting Physics & Engineering through Modernization of the Advanced Laboratory Curriculum” (CPSMALC)
  • Steering Committee, 2018 conference on laboratory instruction Beyond the First Year of university (''BFY3'')
  • Vice-Chair, 2015 AAPT/ALPhA new conference on laboratory instruction Beyond the First Year of university (''BFY II'')
  • Chair, 2012 AAPT/ALPhA conference on laboratory instruction Beyond the First Year of university (''BFY'')
  • P.I., for AAPT/ALPhA, of NSF DUE-1122993, ''Improving Beyond-First-Year Physics Laboratory Instruction,'' 2011–18
  • co-P.I., for AAPT/ALPhA, of NSF DUE-1106928, ''ALPhA Immersion Program,'' 2011–13
  • Chair, ALPhA single-photon detector initiative (2010–2017)
  • Organizer & Steering Committee Member, 2009 AAPT/APS/ALPhA Topical Conference on Advanced Laboratories
  • Many Invited Talks on resources for physics instruction in the laboratory
  • Organizer of many sessions at AAPT meetings

Additional Leadership Positions
Vice-President of Board of Directors, Jonathan F. Reichert Foundation for Enhancing Advanced Laboratory Physics Instruction, 2014–present; OSA Photonic Detection Committee (2018–2020); Optical Trapping & Optical Micromanipulation (OTOM); Chair (with G. Rutherford), Zone 8, 9, 11 Society of Physics Students Research Conference, 1998; Chair, 2004– present; IWU Young Scholars Camps, Founder & PI, 2014–2017

American Association of Physics Teachers; Illinois Section AAPT; Sigma Xi; Phi Beta Kappa; Phi Kappa Phi; American Physical Society; IEEE; IEEE Photonics Society; Physics Instructional Resource Association (PIRA); Advanced Laboratory Physics Association (ALPhA, an official AAPT affiliate group).

My emails conclude, “All of us, together, make a difference,” which is intended as a call towards greater engagement with one another. I see AAPT as “The Big Tent” for all who are interested in physics education, and am interested in working to enhance the ways in which AAPT can provide timely assistance (and resources) for the wide spectrum of people we aim to serve. I have just completed a term on the AAPT Board, joining at the time that our current strategic plan was approved. I can contribute towards a shared understanding of the contexts from which that plan emerged, but our shared implementation (and ongoing evolution) of those goals will involve a lot of listening, and I am committed to ensuring that all voices are heard! We are a community of individuals grappling with a very wide range of challenges. Understanding that diversity of needs (and, critically, how to rapidly nurture supportive connections) will demand further steps towards “active inclusion.”

In addition to my service at AAPT, I was the first President of ALPhA, which is a community of university instructors and staff members charged with developing and delivering lab instruction beyond the first year of university. ALPhA’s faculty/staff development programs have now impacted more than (1/3) of all undergraduate physics programs in the country (and had some impact globally). Some of the lessons learned from our experience with that focus group are generalizable, and so opportunities exist for AAPT to nurture a higher level of co-mentoring between the many sub-communities and interest groups that, like ALPhA, already exist within AAPT, as well as between those established communities and several new groups, which could soon emerge. I will work with the Board to develop a strategic role for further nurturing communication between these sub-communities and groups. I would also like to help AAPT to communicate, both to current and potential members, the ways in which such groups offer efficient support that addresses many of the needs that teachers face, by providing clear points of contact and a heightened awareness of the opportunities for focused, just-in-time dialog and curricular materials.

The recent AAPT Member DEI Survey calls for us to improve belonging across the organization, to create diverse “on ramps” into dialog, participation, and program creation, and that we work harder to “share opportunities for leadership and other roles in ways that allow all interested members to be aware of them,” actively seeking out the voices of our younger members and, critically, the voices of those who have not always been made to feel fully welcomed. There is a sense that we’ve just begun to learn important lessons from programs such as Step Up and the Bridge Programs. Better understanding of those lessons is likely to improve our programs dealing with all levels of instruction. The AAPT Member DEI Survey summary also asks AAPT leadership to help members understand the importance of DEI for the future of Physics as a discipline and Physics Education; e.g., because of the many problems facing today's world, society can ill afford to exclude huge sections of our population from critical engagement; that issue is, arguably, our most critical “supply chain” issue, but it is clearly only one of many reasons why AAPT must assist our members with our “next steps up” in our shared commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the delivery of physics curricula and programs: the opportunity gap has sometimes been called America’s greatest social injustice. With each facet, there is clearly significant room for growth, and enormous potential from leveraging the power of our community. All of us, together, will make a difference.