Joe Heafner 2017 Election Bio

Paul Paul J. Heafner

Physical Sciences, Catawba Valley Community College
2550 Highway 70SE, Hickory, NC28602


B.A. Astronomy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1989;
M.S. Physics,University of North Carolina Greensboro, 1991.

Professional Experience/Membership/AAPT Activity

Astronomy and Physics Instructor,1992 - present;
Education/Public Outreach through Catawba Valley Astronomy Club and LucileMiller Observatory, 1992 - present;
Active member of American Association of PhysicsTeachers;
Active member and past officer of North Carolina Sections - American Association of Physics Teachers;
AstroNotes editor for The Physics Teacher, 2014 - present;
Past Chair of Area Committee on Space Science and Astronomy;
Past Chair of Area Committee on Physics in Two-Year Colleges.


Named AAPT Fellow, 2015;
AAPT Homer L. Dodge Citation for Distinguished Service to AAPT, 2014;
Best Pedagogical Paper at NCS-AAPT Spring 1999 and Fall 2006 meetings.


I am honored to once again be asked to serve AAPT. The two-year college environment has changed drastically since I began teaching twenty-five years ago, and not all of the changes have been positive. Two-year college faculty are supposed to meet many disparate needs across the educational spectrum with fewer resources nowadays, and it is not easy. We serve diverse student populations with equally diverse needs, and as a result we sometimes suffer from an identity crisis. 

While many of my TYC colleagues enjoy the benefits and protections of collective bargaining and tenure, too many of us do not. As a member of the Board of Directors, I will do my best to represent two-year college faculty interests and to give voice to my colleagues who otherwise feel they have no voice. I would like to encourage AAPT to explore relationships with other professional organizations to advocate for TYC physics and astronomy faculty, particularly on issues related to job security. I will explore ways to find funding for more TYC faculty to attend national meetings while also encouraging colleagues to be active in various chapters across the country. I will also explore ways to get research based physics and astronomy instruction more widely entrenched in two-year colleges.

Representing my fellow physics and astronomy faculty on the Board of Directors would be an honor and responsibility I will not take lightly. I believe in the mission of AAPT, and I believe being active in AAPT benefits our professional community. I look forward to working with the Board to make AAPT even better.