2018 National Board of Directors Election Candidate for At-Large Four-Year College Representative

Spalding - Election 2018 - 4YC Rep BioGabriel 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

Leadership Positions

Jonathan F. Reichert Foundation for Enhancing Advanced Laboratory Physics Instruction, Board of Directors (Vice-President), 2014–present; OSA Photonic Detection Committee (2018–present); Optical Trapping & Optical Micromanipulation (OTOM), Chair, 2004–present; IWU Young Scholars Camps, Founder & PI, 2014–2017


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


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

AAPT/APS Activities

  • Advisory Board, Partnership for Integration of Computation into Undergraduate Physics (PICUP), 2015–present
  • Board of Directors of the Advanced Laboratory Physics Association (ALPhA), 2007–January 31, 2018 (Elected President of the Board, 2007–2010)
  • P.I., for AAPT/ALPhA, of NSF DUE-1122993, ''Improving Beyond-First-Year Physics Laboratory Instruction,'' 2011–18
  • Lead, advisory group on Photonic Detection, ALPhA 2017–present
  • Chair, AAPT Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education, 2018-19 (Member 2015–19; Vice-Chair 2017–18)
  • Member, AAPT Programs Committee, 2010–12, 2017–19
  • Chair, AAPT Philanthropy Committee, 2018–present (Member, 2015–17)
  • Steering Committee, 2018 conference on laboratory instruction Beyond the First Year of university (''BFY3'')
  • Advisory Committee, Chicago State University NSF IUSE: ''Connecting Physics & Engineering through Modernization of the Advanced Laboratory Curriculum'' (CPS-MALC)
  • Vice-Chair, 2015 AAPT/ALPhA new conference on laboratory instruction Beyond the First Year of university (''BFY II'')
  • Member, AAPT Nominating Committee, 2012–13
  • co-P.I., for AAPT/ALPhA, of NSF DUE-1106928, ''ALPhA Immersion Program,'' 2011–13
  • Chair, AAPT Committee on Laboratory Instruction, 2011–12 (Vice-Chair, 2010–11; Member 2009–12)
  • Chair, 2012 AAPT/ALPhA conference on laboratory instruction Beyond the First Year of university (''BFY'')
  • Chair, ALPhA single-photon detector initiative (2010–2017)
  • Organizer & Steering Committee Member, 2009 AAPT/APS/ALPhA Topical Conference on Advanced Laboratories
  • Chair (with G. Rutherford), Zone 8, 9, 11 Society of Physics Students Research Conference, 1998
  • Many Invited Talks on resources for physics instruction in the laboratory
  • Organizer of many sessions at AAPT meetings


I am interested in working to enhance the ways in which AAPT can provide timely assistance (and resources) for the wide spectrum of the teachers we aim to serve. I was the first President of ALPhA, which is a community of university instructors and staff members charged with developing and delivering lab instruction. 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 ALPhA are generalizable, and so one opportunity, for AAPT, lies in nurturing a higher level of co-mentoring between those sub-communities and interest groups that, like ALPhA, now exist within AAPT, as well as between those established communities and several new groups, which could soon emerge. As a member of the AAPT Board, I would have a strategic role to play in supporting these sub-communities. 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. All of us, together, make a difference.