AAPT Council Minutes - February 14, 2009

February 14, 2009
4-5:30 PM Regent Ball Room
Chicago IL

Guests: Mary Beth Monroe, Larry Kirkpatrick, Roxanne Muller, Cerena Cantrell, Jim Nelson, representatives from the Mexico Section, representatives from the St. Louis and Southern Nevada Section

Section Representatives Substitutes: Ray Polomo (NJ), Joss Ives (BC), John Hubisz (NC)

There were no Section Representatives present from: Alaska, Montana, Nebraska, Northern California, Western Pennsylvania, or Puerto Rico

Call To Order

President Adair called the meeting to order at 4:00 PM.

The agenda was approved: P. Keefe made the moved, T. O’Kuma offered a second, the motion passed with a unanimous vote.

Approval of Minutes

Several members present offered small corrections to the minutes.  The amended minutes from the Baltimore Council Meeting, January 2008 were approved. S. Harople made the motion, J. Zwart offered a second, the motion passed with a unanimous vote

President’s Report

Lila Adair reported on the work of COGS (Committee on Governance Structure).  COGS was established to follow up on the discussions that took place during a retreat involving Section Reps and Area Chairs in May 2007. One focus of COGS was to develop ways to strengthen the relationships between the National Office and the Sections and the Section Representatives. During 2009, COGS will address interactions between the National Office and the Area Chairs/Committees. She also expressed her thanks to Mary Beth Monroe and the Governance Review Committee (GRC). This group has reviewed the governing documents and policies of AAPT to assure consistency. This review is part of the Board’s intention to clarify critical issues for AAPT to address during the next few years.  Finally, Adair indicated that AAPT is working to establish more relationships with the National Societies of Black and Hispanic Physicists including a statement on Diversity.

Treasurer’s Report

Paul Zitzewitz, the Treasurer, reported that in 2008, AAPT reserves we about $3.4 million including both long and short-term reserves. This represented a loss of all investment gains during the past six years. The loss was due to some withdrawals to cover special projects and a loss of $1.4 million due to market conditions.

The 2009 budget was approved with a $373k deficit. The hope is that the deficit will actually be less based on some staff attrition in National Office and by careful control of expenses.  The 2009 Budget includes a projection of an 18% increase in membership.

The 2007 audit was delayed primarily due to having three different CFOs during the year. Fortunately, the 2008 audit is well underway and should be completed in a timely manner and is expected to be a “clean” audit. 

Questions from the audience included costs associated with grants. Responses included that grants often do not cover all types of expenses, so some expenses must be covered within the operating budget.  The 18% increase in membership assumption was questioned based on the past history in the Association. The follow-up question wondered when the Association would need to implement a retrenchment policy?  Zitzewitz expressed his overall optimism for the budget indicating that the National Office is working to keep expenses as low as possible, as well as looking for ways to increase revenue.

Section Representatives Report

Alan Gibson, Section Representative Chair, reported on the Section Representatives elections.

  • Vice-Chair of Section Representatives: Marina Milner Bolotin (Ont) (2011)
  • Secretary of Section Representatives:  David Weaver (AZ) (2010)
  • Membership and Benefits Committee:  Richard Gelderman (KT), Harold Stokes  (2012)
  • National Nominating Committee:  Stan Jones (2011), Greg Pushkar (2011) (Selecting candidates for election in 2010)
  • Section Representatives Nominating Committee: Myra West SR(OH), Mario Belloni (NC), Ling Liang (SE-PA) (2010)

Executive Officer Report

Warren Hein, Executive Officer, reminded the group that AAPT is a membership organization and that it offers programs initiated by its members; therefore, we all need to share the enthusiasm for the Association and the benefits it provides.

Specifically, Hein reported on AAPT grants including the following:

Active grants

  • Rural PTRA has residual funds
  • NFW has residual funds to help support reunion activity at the APS March meeting

New Grants

  • Enhancing STEM Student Learning Through Faculty Development Workshops for New Physics and Astronomy Faculty
  • Building Undergraduate Programs for the 21st Century: SPIN-UP Regional Workshops
  • The Physics Classroom: Stewardship of Physics Education Resources on the Web
  • PhysTEC Noyce Scholars
  • Physics Education Research Users Guide
  • Physics Teacher Education Coalition II (PhysTEC II)

Grants Being Developed

  • Enhancing STEM Student Learning Through Faculty Development Workshops for Two-Year College Physics Faculty
  • Topical Conference for the Advanced Laboratory Course
  • PER Users Guide

Hein highlighted AAPT’s ongoing successful programs including the following:

  • International Physics Olympiad  (winning 4 gold, 1 silver in 2008), Physics Bowl, Photo and Video Contests, Team America Rocket Challenge, International Science and Engineering Fair award.
  • Grant program to offer workshops for new pre-college teachers
  • High school teacher grants, physics Days at NSTA, AAPT_PTRA Professional Development Institute NSF, DoE, and MSP
  • Lotze Scholarship
  • AAPT/SPS Intern, student memberships
  • ComPADRE digital library
  • National taskforce on teacher preparation
  • Biannual physics chairs (with APS)
  • Participate with PhysTEC, PER-Topical group, Bauder Fund for physics outreach,
  • Departmental review, topical conference (advanced lab, PERC)
  • AJP, TPT
  • National meetings
  • eNnouncer, Scitation TOC
  • Community’s module
  • Website redesign – pod cast, speakers bureau,
  • Awards funding via endowment

Hein also acknowledged that the finances indicate the need for increases in income and reductions in expenses. He challenged the group to collaboratively work toward helping increase membership income from $60k in 2007 to $230k in 2009. He stated that this membership challenge could be met considering that roughly two-thirds of Section memberships are not currently AAPT national members. So there are many Section members who are not national AAPT members. By utilizing resources such as those found on the membership recruitment web page at aapt.org including brochures, Power Point presentations, pod casts, the Section “Box,” and by requesting (e)mailing lists, this goal can be realized. The incentive grants offered for recruiting new Associate Members and new Full Members can also be used to support the membership goals of increasing membership by 18%.

Questions/comments included the need for additional sponsorships for meetings since the meetings typically loose money. 

Meetings Committee Report

Richard Peterson, Chair of the Meetings Committee, described the general purpose of the Meetings Committee. The Committee is to help the National Office Meetings and Conferences Department to select and evaluate potential meeting sites. They also help establish contacts with the local the physics departments. Recently, they have coordinated the assessment of the meetings.

[Pres-elect, Debbie Rice (07-08), Dickison, others]

Peterson continued by highlighting several ongoing questions that the Committee is wrestling with:

  • How important is it to have the Summer Meeting be centered at a university?
  • What is the role of the AAPT Winter Meeting and which meeting – Winter or Summer - should be the Annual Meeting?
  • What are the differences between the Winter and Summer Meetings?
  • What are the advantages of participating in joint Winter Meetings?

The Committee is seeking a meeting site in the New England area for summer 2012.

Site possibilities for future meetings include: Houston, New Orleans, San Antonio, and Glendale, AZ.

Petitions for New Sections:

Steve Iona, Secretary, highlighted the Constitutional requirements for Section formation including a request made by at least ten AAPT members, a Section Constitution, and a new geographic area or a release by an existing Section.

Four requests were received that met these requirements. The motions were combined and seconded by J. Fitz-Gibbons.

The Council approves the formation of the Mexico Section of AAPT.
The Council approves the formation of the Quebec Section of AAPT.
The Council approves the formation of the St. Louis Section of AAPT.
The Council approves the formation of the Southern Nevada Section of AAPT.

The motion(s) passed with one nay.

D. Cameron (CO-WY) asked a question about how the budget allocation for the Section Representative travel and subsistence total is established.  Hein indicated that it was based on the number of Sections: using an average cost for travel, housing, and subsistence. Cameron made a motion regarding linking Section formation with the travel reimbursement process. The motion was not seconded.

Cameron encouraged the Council to enact fiscal restraint and to strongly participate in recruitment efforts.  He also reminded the group that AAPT lost $2.2 million during 2008, and that we needed to be mindful of income versus expenses during 2009.


Adair recognized Dwain Desbien and Harvey Leff for their service on the Executive Board.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:30 PM.