Executive Board Minutes - August 2003Aug. 2-3 & 6, 2003
Members Present: Charles Holbrow, Jim Nelson, Dick Peterson, Chris Chiaverina, Mary Beth Monroe, Charles Robertson, Steve Iona, Randy Peterson, Mary Fehrs, Deborah Rice, Chuck Stone, Karl Mamola, Jan Tobochnik, Bernard Khoury
Guests: Warren Hein, Carol Heimpel, Valerie Evans, Matthew Potts, Roxanne Muller, Len Jossem, Maria Elena Khoury, Aimee Foster, Jack Hehn, John Layman, Harvey Leff, Juan Burciaga, Ted Hodapp, Bruce Mason, Sina Kniseley
1. Call to Order.
2. Additions to the Agenda.
3. Approval of the Minutes.
4. Officers’ Reports.
Robertson asked why more applications for funding support for teacher preparation activities were not submitted by the AAPT Sections. Khoury explained that he did not know the answer. Announcements of the $5000 funding to Sections in support of teacher preparation activities were sent to all Section Representatives. Four Sections (South Dakota, a joint effort of A-O-K and Nebraska, Southern California, and Southeastern Pennsylvania) were received and each was given a $500 grant. In addition, Khoury received verbal commitments from sections but written proposals had not been received. S. Iona will again announce the funding opportunities for sections during the meeting of the Section Representatives.
Khoury announced that EBSCO had bought the residual assets of the RoweCom subscription agency, which had recently filed for bankruptcy. The AAPT’s financial exposure is about $100 K. Khoury added that the residual assets are being rapidly depleted by attorney and court fees. The association might recover a small percentage of this money.
Khoury reported that he was having conversations with his counterpart at the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) concerning a possible joint meeting between the AAPT and the MAA. The MAA likes to meet on college campuses, with about 1000 participants attending their meetings. Unlike the AAPT, the math association does not have members from the high school and two-year college communities. The MAA headquarters is in Washington, D.C. Khoury noted that the MAA also has the same planning horizon for meetings as the AAPT. The Board members encouraged Khoury to continue these discussions. In addition, R. Peterson suggested that Khoury should pursue similar conversations with the engineering education association. R. Peterson explained that he had talked with members of this association during a meeting in Nashville and they expressed an interest in meeting jointly with the AAPT.
Brian Greene, NOVA, will visit the AAPT the latter part of October as background to a documentary program under development by NOVA.
Khoury asked on behalf of Judy Franz, APS, if the AAPT agreed to co sponsor sessions at the 2004 APS April meeting. The Board informally agreed to work with the APS in preparing the content of these sessions. Khoury will report this decision to Franz.
The AAPT will again cosponsor the Department Chairs’ Conference with APS, scheduled for Spring 2004. The meeting will be held at the ACP and a local hotel will be contracted for the participants’ accommodations. The planning committee anticipates about 100-150 participants and discussions will need to occur concerning visas for international participants. Khoury asked for suggestions of members to serve on the organizing committee. Khoury also pointed out that a pattern of meetings appears to be emerging: the department chairs meet every other year and in recent years the department chairs of the top 20 research universities meet in between.
In response to a question from Iona, Khoury explained that the meetings are self-supporting and that the AAPT does not realize any out-of-pocket expenses. Mamola asked how the top 20 research universities were selected. Khoury explained that Carl Wieman, in his role as a member of the National Task Force for Undergraduate Physics, had been the originator for these meetings and thus the selection had fallen to his purview. R. Peterson asked if thought had been given to inviting the top 10 or so undergraduate departments. Khoury said that he could not encourage this suggestion, given the purpose of these meetings.
Khoury reported that Yale University had withdrawn as a site for a future AAPT meeting. The AAPT staff will search for new sites and will necessarily bring recommendations to the AAPT Council for consideration and action. He explained that he did not know the reason for the withdrawal. Khoury also reported that the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio would not be able to accommodate a future national meeting and so a replacement site would need to be authorized by Council. He explained that in this instance the Convention and Visitors Bureau had put pressure on the university physics department to agree to serve as meeting host. The AAPT staff learned subsequent to the action taken by Council that the resources at Dayton could not accommodate the needs of the AAPT meeting and the physics faculty was therefore reluctant to serve as hosts.
In response to these reports, Iona expressed that more caution should be exercised in the future before making recommendations to Council about possible meetings sites. Since the representatives from Dayton Convention Bureau gave a promotional presentation with a lot of glitz to Council, he anticipated that the Section Representatives would be displeased with the withdrawal of Dayton as a meeting site. Khoury agreed with the suggestion, adding that Carol Heimpel, in that instance, had not been able to make a site visit before the Council meeting. Holbrow suggested that the AAPT should say that it would not consider any site until the AAPT staff has had a chance to visit the site. Iona felt that the suggestion should be presented to Council as a proposed operating procedure.
Chair of Section Representatives:
Vice-Chair of Section Representatives:
Holbrow asked if Robertson was continuing to move funds from the short-term account to the long-term account as was done in recent months. Robertson said that such was not being done at the moment. He added that he was trying to isolate the designated accounts to learn what percentage they are earning.
Iona questioned the reason for the apparent $86 K loss in short-term funds. Robertson explained that in April 2003 he transferred $100 K from that fund to the Operating Fund. Responding to a question from Stone, Hein explained that once all expenses were completed, the financial reports would reflect that the expenses for the Winter 2003 meeting and the Summer 2003 meeting were approximately equal.
An electronic copy of the preliminary proposal was sent with the motion. The preliminary proposal was subsequently submitted to the NSF.
Monroe explained that in response to a request from Robertson, she would report to the members of the Executive Board the list of candidates for the AAPT Fall elections upon receipt of the report from the Nominating Committee. The AAPT formally announces these candidates to the general membership in the Summer publication of the Announcer.
Letters of appointment have been mailed to members serving on the 2004 Nominating Committee. This committee will select candidates for the 2004 AAPT elections and will appoint two new members to each Area Committee. Terms of the elected candidates and the committee members will begin at the close of the Winter 2005 Meeting. Members of the AAPT 2004 Nominating Committee are:
John Mallinckrodt (Chair), California State University at Pomona
Joe Meyer and Lila Adair will serve as election tellers for the AAPT 2003 national elections.
Monroe reported that she had received the APS nomination form for members to its committees and asked the Board’s input regarding appropriate nominations.
Peterson noted that about ten years ago the AAPT provided $4 K for plenary speakers for each Winter and Summer meeting. Currently the AAPT only designates $2 K for the Winter Meeting and $3 K for the Summer meeting. He suggested that the AAPT might want to increase this amount to help facilitate the efforts to increase the physics content in the national meetings. Peterson will bring this topic up again for future discussion by the Board.
The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation awards fellowships to young men and women who have received a bachelor’s degree in science, engineering or mathematics and plan to teach science and math at the high school level. The Foundation was hosting a meeting for its Fellows in tandem with the AAPT’s Madison meeting and therefore the AAPT would recognize the 2003 Fellows during its Ceremonial Session.
Holbrow reported that the AIP was looking for an AAPT liaison to serve on its Public Policy Committee. The Board accepted Holbrow’s offer to serve in this capacity.
5. Committee on Commercial Ventures.
Following a short discussion of the proposed statements, Nelson moved that the AAPT accept the Commercial Products Statement as modified during Board discussion (see policy below). Rice seconded the motion.
a) The AAPT should receive a royalty from the product.
The motion passed unanimously. It was agreed that the statement should appear in the Officers’ Handbook, the Announcer and the website.
During the discussion of the proposed policy, Fehrs explained that Item 3 reflected the committee’s feeling that a faculty member or a group of faculty might need the support of the AAPT in order to get funding for the initial development of a product. Mamola asked if statement 2 were part of statement 1. Fehrs explained that they were separate statements. Rice asked what the committee meant by the word “modification” appearing in 3c. Fehrs explained that the committee felt that the wording had to be broad to accommodate a range of unforeseen changes proposed for commercial products.
6. Active Physics.
With regard to the first issue, Khoury outlined a set of principles (See Board packet IIC) that might underlie a fundamental change in the AAPT’s relationship with Active Physics and the publisher It’s About Time (IAT). The abbreviated principles follow:
1. AAPT should ‘disengage’ from Active Physics now that it has been successfully launched.
Khoury asked for Board reactions to these.
R. Peterson expressed that this disengagement makes the AAPT’s stand on “physics first” much cleaner. Fehrs commented that the physics first curriculum needs to prepare high school freshmen for chemistry and biology and that this requirement is quite different from meeting state standards in California. Robertson asked if the AAPT could search for an author to develop “physics first curriculum”. Khoury responded that we could and that this experience would prepare us to better define our role at revision time.
Holbrow expressed some reservations. He said it was not clear that the AAPT could sell the copyright. He also stated that in discussion of policy principle 2 summarized above, Khoury suggested that “AAPT could work with It’s About Time and Arthur Eisenkraft to assure that the transition led to a desirable arrangement for all three entities.” Holbrow pointed out that the contractual agreement was not with Eisenkraft and that while IAT may give him first offer to do the revision, he does not have to do the revision. Holbrow also commented that we need to distance ourselves from statements about our relationship with Eisenkraft. He felt that the sentence in discussion of principle 3 about the AAPT’s gratitude to Eisenkraft should be removed. Holbrow explained that the subcommittee of the Board (Khoury, Rice and Nelson) was appointed to define what was meant by revision rather than how to proceed. He asked the Board to consider if the AAPT could sell the copyrights without the product disappearing. He suggested that another publisher could buy the textbook and place it on the shelf so that it would not compete with the publisher’s products.
With regard to financial issues associated with our sale of the textbook’s copyrights, Khoury presented two plans used to arrive at a dollar amount to be paid by IAT to AAPT in turn, for AAPT’s forgoing all of its future royalties from Active Physics. In turn, IAT would pay for future revisions. He reported that AAPT had received a royalty check for $22 K from IAT the previous week. This payment represented royalties owed AAPT through December 2002.
7. Executive Session I:
8. Executive Session II (without the Executive Officer):
9. Science Education Standards.
Hodapp became involved in the Minnesota effort in 1996 upon learning of the need to improve the licensure for science teachers and the content standards for the state, particularly in physics. At that time, the state teachers were having a hard time meeting the standards as the state had only one license for all science teachers. In March 1997 the SciMathMN group, of which Hodapp was a member, released the 1st draft of content standards for physics. The draft, while better than previous standards, still was not quality. Hodapp then worked with Russ Hobbie, Ken Heller and Pat Heller to draft standards for physics mechanics. Upon submitting this draft to the Minnesota Board of Teachers, Hodapp was asked to develop the teacher licensure standards for physics, grades 9-12. The Board wanted to license teachers from out of state as well as teachers in urban schools, which have different needs from other state schools. With help from about twenty people and reviews from high school teachers, a set of standards for all high school sciences was developed. These standards were accepted by the state of Minnesota, pretty much as written. Hodapp also reported that a year later, the Board of Teachers changed the teacher licensure, separating the license for science in grades 9-12 from the license for sciences in grades 5-8.
Hodapp, while a member of the APS Committee on Education, sought ways to involve people in this process at the state level. He circulated among the Executive Board members a spreadsheet identifying contact people in each state and information reporting the last date teacher licensure was updated and what future plans the states had regarding licensure. Hodapp reported that few APS and AAPT members are involved in state licensure. Hodapp is interested in learning how states identify people to develop the guidelines and what resources are given to them to accomplish the task.
In the discussion that followed, Tobochnik asked if there were a way to make one set of science standards rather than fifty sets. Hodapp answered that people who support state rights strongly oppose this option. However, he thinks the AAPT or sister organization could develop a single set of guidelines. He explained that the existing standards are not content standards. Chiaverina asked how the Minnesota standards were tested. Hodapp explained that tests are supposed to be developed which will probably be multiple choice with some discussion or essay. However, the development and implementation of the tests will depend on the state’s willingness to pay for the effort. He added that existing teachers are grand fathered and school districts have some flexibility with regard to hiring unlicensed teachers.
Khoury asked Hodapp why he believed that the AAPT could do a better job in the development of standards than other models, such as that used in Minnesota. Hodapp explained that the states have different licensure requirements and while various models could be used to develop state standards, he felt that one set of standards could be teased from among these that would appease all states. In response to a question from Stone, Hodapp explained that currently there is not a forum to bring experts together to address this need.
Holbrow asked Hodapp to describe how he felt the AAPT should proceed. Hodapp recommended that the AAPT should designate a liaison with the APS Committee on Education and Forum on Education, and possibly other societies, to identify people to produce a set of recommendations regarding how to develop a single set of standards. He suggested that AAPT might also seek input from the members of the Research, Evaluation and Communication program at NSF concerning the appropriate next steps. Hodapp felt that the AAPT was advantaged in not being a political organization. He suggested three tracks that the AAPT could pursue: (1) get AAPT members involved at the state level; (2) write a set of standards; and (3) find the people who are interested in this issue and get them together. Hodapp advised that the AAPT needs to obtain name recognition among those who have an interest in science standards.
10. ComPADRE and PSRC.
The deadline for the next NSDL proposal to NSF is April 2004. Mason reported that he would prepare a new proposal to be submitted to the NSF for additional funding. In discussion of the report, D. Peterson suggested that possibly more staff is needed in AAPT publications under the supervision of Sina Kniseley Robertson expressed a need to have some intellectual oversight for the electronic publications to insure that the AAPT does not go off helter skelter. In anticipation of a motion from the Publications Committee concerning its supervisory role of electronic publications, Robertson expressed a concern that the Committee may not be able to handle all aspects of these publications, such as accessibility and intellectual merit.
11. Publications Committee.
Monroe moved the appointment of Kris Davidson, University of Minnesota and James McGuire, Tulane University to the Resource Letters Editorial Board. The motion passed.
Monroe moved that the Board approve the appointment of Beverly (Trina) Cannon, Highland Park High School and John Hubisz, North Carolina State University to the AAPT Exams Editorial Board. The motion passed. Members of these review boards will serve three-year terms.
Monroe requested that the Board adopt a policy statement recognizing electronic publications as an area of responsibility of the Publications Committee. She explained that Khoury would present a plan to the Committee in January 2004 outlining how it could assume this supervisory responsibility. The motion passed.
In August 2002, the Executive Board reactivated the five-year review cycle of its publications upon recommendation from the Publications Committee. The review of the Announcer is currently underway and Tom O’Kuma, Chair of the Review Committee anticipates that the report will be completed in mid October. Monroe reminded the Board that two publications, the Resource Letters and the PSRC, are scheduled to be reviewed during 2004. Upon recommendation from the Publications Committee, she requested that, owing to the significant differences in the two publications, the Board authorize the creation of separate review committees, one for the Resource Letters and the other for the PSRC. The motion passed. Monroe will present for Board consideration during its October meeting tentative charges and lists of members for the two committees.
Tobochnik asked for a report of the negative comments given by the NSF reviewers. Nelson said some reviewers did not feel the proposed project had a robust research component. Another reviewer expressed that that the project should have been an AAPT led effort.
Nelson contributed that the PTRA project might be able to provide some type of activity to help crossover teachers. Holbrow suggested that possible activities could be developed by PTRA leaders but without the PTRA labels. Nelson opined that the BSCS project and the PTRA program are competing with each other. He will talk with Wayne Sukow at NSF and if he hears encouragement from the NSF program officer, he would like to see the AAPT move in this direction.
Holbrow asked if it were premature for the AAPT to fund an effort to prepare an NSF proposal addressing this area or even to prepare a prototype. He suggested that the AAPT might want to submit a proposal to a different program at NSF. Nelson commented that BSCS can provide expertise in research and experience in teaching strategies but it is the AAPT that brings in the physics infrastructure. The Board will consider next steps in this effort after hearing Nelson’s report.
13. Status of AAPT’s New Website.
Kniseley also reported that the staff have determined that Macintosh computer users are more likely to have difficulties accessing the website than PC users (the website server identifies the visitors’ computers) and that users with older versions of Netscape browser software will likely experience difficulties.
Holbrow asked how the AAPT staff monitor problems. Kniseley explained that the complaints are logged and sometimes she will contact members filing the complaints to determine if the problems have been corrected. She added that the Web Trends data did help provide information that helped in the redesign of the website and in understanding the traffic patterns. Robertson asked if the AAPT has a backup plan for access to websites in case power is lost to AIP. Kniseley responded that a fail safe plan is in place in case of disaster but that a mirror site is not available. In response to a question from R. Peterson, she explained that the primary sources of computer failures are spiders from servers and induced queries.
14. Exams Editor.
During its meeting in Madison, members of the Publications Committee discussed the role of the Exams Editor and heard suggestions from Willis regarding the proposed changed in position title. The members agreed that as AAPT exams are no longer published and sold as AAPT products, it would be appropriate to remove “editor” from the title of this supervisory position and have the new “director” report directly to the AAPT Executive Officer on a parallel with the Director of the Physics Olympiad Competition. Monroe, on behalf of the Publications Committee, moved that the Executive Board authorize the following changes to become effective in July 2004, at the end of Willis’ term as Exams Editor.
1. The title of Exams Editor will be changed to Director of Exams and similarly, the Exams Editorial Board will be changed to Exams Advisory Committee.
During discussion of the motion, Nelson explained that he had supervised the development of the first AAPT exams, during a time when the exams were published and sold. He expressed a desire to maintain the position as an editorial one, with the editor continuing to serve as a member of the Publications Committee. Khoury expressed that an absence from the Pubs Committee did not convey that the activities are unimportant. Tobochnik commented that the nature of the report from the Exams Editor was very different from reports of the journal editors and the interactions with Willis were very similar to those with Mary Mogge as Director of the Physics Olympiad. D. Peterson advised that the Board, if the motion passed, would need to strengthen the position of director and encourage the director to visit Board meetings. The motion passed with a vote of 5 yes, 3 no and 3 abstain.
Nelson moved that the Board authorize Holbrow to appoint a three-member committee to initiate a search for an AAPT Exams Director whose term would begin in July 2004. Fehrs seconded the motion. The motion passed. The search committee will prepare its report and recommendation for the Board in a timeframe accommodating the appointment of a Director of Exams whose term will begin in July 2004. In concluding discussion, it was agreed that at some future time if the AAPT again developed examinations for publication, the director’s position could be returned to that of an editorial position.
15. Gordon Research Conference.
Leff explained that the Conference provides a chair’s fund of approximately $23,000. The meeting typically has 22 speakers in 9 different sessions. The estimated registration fee for the Third Conference is $650. In an effort to increase the attendance by graduate students, post-doctoral associates and foreign participants and the interactions among all participants, the organizers are seeking additional funds estimated at $42,500. They reported encouraging discussions with the NSF and will submit a proposal in September. They have also sought financial support from the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society, and other private foundations, but to date they had not received any favorable responses. Leff explained that they plan to ask multiple funding sources, hoping that some can provide at least a fraction of the total budget. Therefore, he asked the Executive Board to consider an award of some funding, which in turn would help spawn contributions from other sources.
The breakdown for the requested funding is as follows:
In discussion of this request, Tobochnik explained that the attendance to the conference series was typically 100 and it was hoped that the third conference would attract about 130 participants. He opined that the registration fees would not cover all the expenses of the meeting. He reported that the AJP was helping to promote the conference with published advertisements.
Leff clarified that the meeting is not an open meeting as the organizers decide who goes to the conference and who will receive the funding support. They also stipulate that the participants must stay for at least 48 hours. Consequently, some funding sources will not provide support since the meetings are not open and publications are not produced.
Some Board members expressed the opinion that the allocated funds should target designated groups, specifically college and university faculty who teach and attend AAPT meetings and faculty who had attended the AAPT New Faculty Workshops. Tobochnik noted that three groups would be targeted: members of the physics education research community, researchers and teachers. He added that AAPT could give the conference chairs a small amount of leverage money initially and if necessary, Leff could request additional money later. Rice moved that the AAPT designate $ 2600 (registration for four participants) from the Klopsteg Fund to support attendance by college or university faculty who teaches mechanics. Chiaverina seconded the motion. The motion passed.
16. PTRA Private Foundation Proposal.
“The funds would be used to continue the support of the existing 25 urban AAPT/PTRA regional sites. If this request is approved the following procedure would be agreed to:
In his comments, Nelson explained that the continuation fund (money earned from the PTRA workshops) would be used to pay approximately $ 250 K for cost sharing of the rural PTRA effort. The PTRA Campaign money would provide three workshop leaders instead of two, some travel support and support for the development of new instructional materials. The PTRA leadership would like to seek $ 10 M from private foundations.
In discussion of the PTRA proposal, Iona asked if Nelson had considered indirect costs. Khoury answered saying that these are not reimbursed monies and therefore they would be paid from the money earned from the workshops. Holbrow expressed a concern regarding the close cooperation between the PTRA and the Executive Office. Robertson moved that the Board accept the proposal. Fehrs seconded the motion. The motion passed.
17. NSTA Strand Day.
Nelson reported that AAPT was committed to develop a Strand Day at the NSTA regional meeting in Reno in December 2003. Holbrow suggested that Nelson invite participation from Area Committees as these sessions are developed.
In response to the suggestion for continued involvement in NSTA meetings, Holbrow expressed that the AAPT needed to develop a plan for the organization of the Strand Day sessions and to specify a focal point person to supervise these activities. He added that the Board might want to begin to involve potential leadership in these activities now. Rice suggested that it would be helpful if Nelson, who has organized the recent Strand Day events, to develop a template for future coordinators in documented form.
18. Venture Fund.
20. Bauder Fund.
21. Commission on Graduate Education.
22. 4U Task Force.
The PhysTEC leadership sent a letter to all physics department chairs with a copy of the 1999 AAPT/APS/AIP Statement on the Education of Future Teachers. The letter asked departments to discuss the statement and to endorse it. 150 departments have formally responded with their endorsements.
Hein reported that PhysTEC and the PTRA program were cooperating in the development of a Mentoring workshop. John Layman, working with the PhysTEC Teachers in Residence and some PTRAs, presented a draft version of the workshop for the Madison meeting. Participants will help refine the workshop materials and activities.
24. Report from Chair of Section Representatives.
25. Memberships and Benefits.
Khoury commented that the suggestions pertaining to electronic journals were part of a bigger question. He asked the Board how he could justify to a member in the United States that he was sending a journal to a member in Malaysia at half price. Nelson commented that in his conversations with rural PTRAs, they had asked if they could join AAPT at reduced rates since they teach many courses in addition to physics. He expressed that this question of electronic journal only subscription speaks to this possibility.
26. Report from Vice-Chair of Section Representatives.
27. Executive Session I continued.
28. Executive Session II continued.
29. AGU Conference on Diversity.
The conference produced a “Statement on Increasing Diversity in the Earth, Ocean, Space and Physical Sciences”, which they wanted each participating society to endorse. However there was so much disagreement concerning the wording that the representatives were not ready to commit their societies. Consequently, the statement was withdrawn with the understanding that the conference leaders would develop a revised statement for participants’ consideration and society endorsement.
Burciaga explained that conference organizers had not been able to develop a satisfactory statement by the time of the AAPT Board meeting as suggested in his report to the Board. Burciaga explained that the effort to increase the diversity within these sciences requires more collaboration among the sciences. Some societies are not aware of what others are doing in this area. He expressed that something needs to be done to unite the efforts of the societies to this goal. He reported that discussion had occurred among conference leaders regarding how strongly AAPT members are committed to improving the diversity in the sciences. They suspect that while many see the lack of diversity as a problem, they do not think the issue should warrant top systemic effort. Tobochnik asked if the conference produced a consensus as to what should be done. “Is the problem knowing what should be done or is it doing what should be done?” Burciaga answered that there are numerous best practices but not one that could be regarded as a consensus. However, he added that there are clearly some practices that fall within the purview of the AAPT. These include workshops addressing diversity, the development of activities to produce more minority physics teachers, and the distribution of a list of best practices. Tobochnik proposed that the list could be printed in the TPT or the AJP. Burciaga added that some thought had been given to publishing a series of articles in one of the AAPT journals.
Hein asked if the conference leaders had given thought to the role that two-year colleges could play in this effort, citing the successes of Prince George Community College as a predominantly Black institution. Burciaga said that they needed to learn more about two-year colleges and their activities. He had only recently learned of the NSF Conference on Best Practices in Hispanic-Serving Institutions hosted by Estrella Mountain Community College two years earlier.
Holbrow asked if diversity should be a component of the ComPADRE collections. Burciaga expressed that he was working on a similar effort but felt that this idea was premature. He needs to review the ComPADRE collections to see if his website on diversity would fit with these. He added that the conference leaders were also working on how to archive the useful sessions of the conference although the conference papers were not yet posted on websites. In response to the suggestion of a newsletter, Burciaga explained that they are inundated with news bulletins concerning diversity. However, he added that people were reticent to post items on websites because their findings are part of unfinished research projects and it was hard to determine if you were on the right track.
Fehrs commented that while Burciaga’s report talked about best practices to persuade minority students to go on to college, some of the programs did not have follow up studies concerning entry level into college and some programs with follow up studies reported that students left STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) tracks. Burciaga said the problem was persuading minority students to go to college and to stay in college as a science major. Many minority students and parents of minority students do not regard the sciences as reasonable studies.
Burciaga explained that his chief purpose in visiting the Board was to field questions members may have regarding his report and to persuade the Board that AAPT needed an association wide initiative addressing the problems associated with diversity in the sciences. He would like for the association to inform the community, particularly new teachers, of best practices addressing diversity. In closing, he recommended that the AAPT might want to invite the National Society of Hispanic Physicists (NSHP) to jointly meet with the AAPT in Albuquerque, New Mexico as the society had done with the meeting in Austin in January 2003. The Board members unanimously accepted this suggestion and agreed to extend an invitation to the NSHP.
30. World Year of Physics.
31. AAPT 75th Anniversary.
32. Interdisciplinary Conference.
The first plan, “Physics First”, proposed that the interdisciplinary conference would bring together 30-50 select representatives (science educators and teachers) from biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences, engineering and mathematics to identify changes in physics content, staff development efforts, and teacher preparation efforts resulting from an implementation of a Physics First curriculum. The plan outlined specifically what leadership should be invited to the conference, the suggested stages of development and suggested conference format. The plan proposed that the AAPT would allocate a certain amount of money to develop a funding proposal for an interdisciplinary conference. The start up money would support feasibility inquiries by Khoury, conference committee preliminary work, and costs incurred by the writing team.
The second plan, “Areas of Interaction”, proposed that the conference would bring together select individuals from the same disciplines listed above to identify areas of common interaction involving the biology, chemistry, earth science, engineering, and mathematics communities. The group would then identify how to facilitate that interaction. The conference would
The plan identified what leadership should be invited, suggested stages of development and suggested conference format. This plan also called for authorization by the Board to allocate money for the development of a funding proposal.
Iona explained that different groups of participants were identified for the two plans but that the motion from the interdisciplinary committee was worded the same for each plan. The AAPT Board could accept one plan or both plans.
In reaction to the presented plans, Khoury said that about 8 representatives had been recently convened by Leon Lederman to consider implementing physics first in the high schools. Khoury had sensed an anxiety about this issue among the representatives from the other disciplines. Holbrow expressed that the reaction might be different if a physics first conference were convened on the premise that there are teachers who will be teaching physics first and will need training and curriculum to accomplish this. Nelson opined that it would be hard to convene the different disciplines for the single purpose of discussing physics first. He recommended that the AAPT should convene the “areas of interaction” conference to deal with common issues and that physics first might emerge as a conference outcome. Chiaverina asked what the long-range plan would be for the interdisciplinary conference. Iona answered that this would be defined by the planning committee.
Tobochnik suggested that the AAPT might want to organize an undergraduate conference addressing physics first where the issue could be discussed at other educational levels. He explained that the interactions conference could be broad involving several educational levels or it could target only one level like high school. Nelson expressed a preference for the interactions conference as it provided an educational research focus across the science disciplines and could engage all educational levels.
Fehrs expressed that if the Board were inclining toward the “interactions” plan, a representative from the physics education research community should be added to the planning committee. Iona said he would identify such a member. Robertson asked Iona to explain what timelines were envisioned for the proposed plan. Iona explained that the funding source could delay the timeframe but possibly some specifics could be identified by November. Khoury opined that the committee could present a plan in October.
In conclusion, of the discussion, the Board agreed to proceed with the development of an interdisciplinary conference as outlined by the “areas of interaction” plan. However based on Board discussion the interactions conference would also have a component addressing education research with the intent of building spheres of influence. The official motion from the interdisciplinary committee considered by the Board was: “The committee requests $ 5 K from the Klopsteg Fund to be spent in developing a proposal for funding of an Interdisciplinary Conference. The money will help support feasibility inquiries by Bernie Khoury, conference committee preliminary work, and costs incurred by the writing team.” The motion passed.