R Steven Turley 2017 Election Bio

Turley_webR. Steven Turley

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602


Ph.D., Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1984)
B.S., Physics, Brigham Young University (1978), Summa Cum Laude, University Scholar

Professional Experience
Professor of Physics (2001-present), Brigham Young University
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education (2003-2008)
Chair, Department of Physics and Astronomy (2000-2003)
Associate Professor of Physics (1995-2001)
Senior Research Staff Physicist, Hughes Research Laboratories (1976-1995)

National AAPT Activities
Treasurer, 2013-Present
Committee on Graduate Education, Member 2007-2009, Chair 2008-2009
Committee on Undergraduate Education, Member 2001-2006, Chair 2002-2004
Nominating Committee, 2010-2011 (Chair, 2011)
Chair of Ad Hoc Physics Resource Letters Review Committee (abt 2005)
Distinguished Service Award, 2011Other Professional Activities and Honors
American Physical Society   Member, Committee on Education, 2012 - 2014   Member, Forum on Education   Acting Chair, Four Corners Section Meeting, 1998
National Physics REU Leadership Group, Member 2008-present, Chair 2012
Advisory Board, Physics REU Site Directors Conference
Advisory Board, National Physics New Faculty Workshop, ~2000-present
Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
  Webmaster, Board Member, 2009-present
  President, 2007-2009
Chair, Division of Physics Sciences, 2001-2005
Associate Affiliate Director, Utah Space Grant Consortium, 2005-present
Karl G. Maeser General Education Professorship, Brigham Young University
Alcuin Teaching Fellowship, Brigham Young University
Hughes Doctoral Fellowship


Through careful management of the Executive Office and prudent decisions of the Board, the AAPT has moved out of a difficult financial situation to a point where we now have a healthy endowment. It will take continued careful oversight by the Executive Board and careful management by the National Office to avoid similar difficulties in the future. At the same time, we need to think strategically about how to carefully utilize these endowment funds to meet the objectives of AAPT and position ourselves for the future. I have been an active member at the national and local level of AAPT since beginning my teaching career. With my strong personal interest in the organization, I will help AAPT continue to be a viable leader in promoting, sustaining, and advancing physics education. I believe I can continue to make a significant contribution as AAPT Treasurer.

My experience as chair of a Physics Department with 32 full-time faculty, associated staff and 360 physics majors gave me organizational and budget experience which has been helpful in this position. I refined that experience as president of the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters;as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education at BYU;and as PI on educational, mentoring, and research grants. Through these experiences and my current experience as AAPT Treasurer, I've learned the importance of careful financial oversight to accomplish the goals of technical organizations.

One of the strengths and challenges of AAPT is its diverse membership. We welcome K-12 teachers, teachers from two year colleges, teachers from primarily undergraduate institutions, teachers from graduate institutions, and retirees. We have both a thriving and active Physics Education Research community and a group who are interested in keeping abreast of teaching innovations, but not formally involved in education research. As an Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education, I learned to bring together groups from across our campus with diverse interests. As an Executive Board member I will continue to help AAPT remain an organization where all of us with an involvement in physics teaching can find a place where our interests are represented and promoted.

There are a number of upcoming issues central to the operation of AAPT which involve financial issues:

  • We need to find ways to make our national meetings affordable with continued high quality.
  • AAPT journals are an important avenue for disseminating research on improving our teaching and also a significant source of revenue. With increasing pressure for open access publications and decreasing institutional subscriptions, we need to find creative solutions to maintain avenues for quality, peer-reviewed publications and covering AAPT operating costs.
  • AAPT awards are good ways to promote and recognize outstanding individuals and activities making significant contributions to physics education. Since these awards are generally funded by endowment income, we need to continue to expand funding for these awards and carefully manage our current endowments.
  • We have had a continued decline in membership in AAPT. We need to find creative ways to expand both the number and types of our members.
  • There are increasing opportunities for AAPT to promote projects which further particular aims of AAPT.
  • As Treasurer, I will continue to help the Executive Board find ways to approach each of these issues which will ensure that AAPT continues its role as an influential leader in physics education.