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Executive Board Minutes - January 2002

Jan. 19-24, 2002
Philadelphia, PA

Board Members Present: John Hubisz, Chris Chiaverina, Charles Holbrow, Ruth Howes, Mary Beth Monroe, Alex Dickison, Steve Iona, Frank Peterson, Carolyn Haas, Lila Adair, Mary Fehrs (by conference phone), Karl Mamola, Jan Tobochnik, Bernard Khoury.

Guests: Warren Hein, Matthew Potts, Valerie Evans, Carol Heimpel, Maria Elena Khoury, Leonard Jossem, Jack Hehn, John Layman, Roxanne Muller, Jim Nelson, Chuck Robertson, Deborah Rice, Sina Kniseley, Richard Peterson, Bruce Mason, Jim Stith, Fred Stein

1. Welcome.
President John Hubisz called the meeting of the Executive Board to order at 7:00 PM and welcomed newly elected Executive Board members and other guests. B. Khoury explained that due to recent surgery, Mary Fehrs was not able to attend the AAPT meeting but would participate in the meetings of the Executive Board by conference phone.

2. Approval of the Agenda.
Two additional Discussion Items were added to the Agenda: (1) Report from Bruce Mason concerning the proposal to the NSF National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Program and (2) Report from the Task Force on Physics Content by Dick Peterson. At the request of Warren Hein, Fred Stein’s name was added to the agenda concerning the discussion of the PhysTEC project.

3. Minutes.
Charles Holbrow moved that the Executive Board accept the Minutes of October 2001 as distributed in the Board packet
and Lila Adair seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

4. Officers’ Reports.
J. Hubisz reported that the American Physical Society (APS) Forum on Education was proposing the creation of an Education Award and APS had requested that the Executive Board review the award description for any possible conflicts with current AAPT awards. The description of the award, drafted by Ken Heller, October 2001, is as follows:
“The APS Award recognizes individuals with distinguished records of impacting education on the national level while also engaging in research that significantly adds to the fundamental understanding of the physical world. This award recognizes the culture in Physics that values members of our community who work at both the frontiers of our understanding of the physical world and the equally important frontier of communicating physics to future generations through this country’s educational system. The purpose of this award is to recognize the traditional connection between those who bring the same effort, insight, and rigor to the education of undergraduates, teachers, or K-12 students that characterizes their investigations of the physical world.”

In subsequent discussion, R. Howes and Khoury explained that this proposal was developed in response to a request within APS for a restructuring of APS awards. The proposed award carries an honorarium of $ 5K and some APS members would like to see the amount raised to $ 10K, although it is not clear where the funding will come from. Final decision concerning the establishment of the proposed APS Education Award will be made in April during the meeting of the APS Council. Initial reaction by the Board was that this award seemingly preempts the role of the AAPT. Holbrow suggested that the Board may want to recommend to APS that it consider giving the award jointly with our Association.

Hubisz noted that the AAPT program at the Winter Meeting showed a good presence by the Society of Physics Students (SPS). Monroe reported that following the action taken by the Board in its October Meeting, she had sent a letter to the Director of SPS, Gary White, asking him to attend and participate in the meetings of the AAPT Programs Committee.

C. Chiaverina reported that there had been a good discussion among the area chairs during their Saturday meeting concerning possible new strategic goals for the AAPT. He would present their suggestions for consideration and discussion later in the meetings of the Executive Board.

Chiaverina asked the Board members for help in setting the date for the Fall 2002 meeting. Following a short discussion, the tentative dates were set for November 9-10. (Carol Heimpel and Jim Nelson will decide the date for sorting abstracts for the 2003 Winter Meeting.)

C. Holbrow reported that about 380 papers were scheduled for the Philadelphia meeting, 200 were contributed papers, and 60 were posters. Final registration for the meeting was projected to be close to 1100. C. Heimpel reported that 60 “first timers” had registered for the meeting and in addition, 60 teachers were signed up for Martin Luther King Day. In addition, 128 had signed up for the Multicultural Luncheon, a new activity for the AAPT program. Overall, the meeting was rated very successful. Holbrow asked Board members to attend the two sessions dealing with the theme of the meeting, “physics first”, and report their reactions to him regarding the success of the endeavor. He expressed that the healthy discussion among area chairs concerning crossover teachers indicated that the theme addressed a perceived need among the AAPT membership.

The program for the Boise Meeting, scheduled for August 3-7, 2002, has a rough shape. Plenary speakers for the summer meeting include Leon Lederman (“physics first”) and Al Bartlett (updated version of the “Forgotten Fundamentals of the Energy Crisis”). In addition, the Chair of the Geology Department at the U of Idaho, will talk about the special geological features around the Boise area. The theme for the meeting will be “the nature and production of energy”.

Holbrow proposed that a special session be added to the summer meeting in which members could contribute papers describing their “best ideas” on teaching energy. He specifically asked each Board member to prepare a 15-minute presentation for this session.

Past President:
R. Howes had no report at this time.

Monroe reported that the Fall 2001 elections had been conducted and Joe Meyer, 2001 Election Teller, had confirmed the voting results. James Nelson was elected Vice President, Charles Robertson was elected Treasurer, and Deborah Rice was elected High School Member-at-Large.

The Board conducted an electronic vote in October 2001 concerning the submission of the Spin-Up/TYC proposal to the NSF for funding. Principal Investigators (PIs) for the proposal are Tom O’Kuma, Mary Beth Monroe and Warren Hein. Due to a conflict of interest declared by Monroe, the President conducted the electronic vote and he reported that the motion passed.

Monroe reviewed the AAPT committee positions that will be occupied by Executive Board members in 2002 and noted special committee appointments not yet filled for the coming year.

The Secretary also advised the Board that they would be receiving two copies of the Conflict of Interest forms for 2002. She asked them to sign one copy and return to her, keeping the second copy for their personal files.

A. Dickison had no report at this time. (Refer to Minutes Item7.)

Chair of the Section Representatives:
S. Iona had no report at this time. (Refer to Minutes Item 29.)

Executive Officer:
B. Khoury highlighted the following topics for discussion from his EO reports of November 2001 and January 2002, included in the Board Packet.

Although no word has been heard from NSF, Khoury anticipates funding for the submitted proposal requesting reimbursement for November 2001 New Faculty Workshops and support for future such workshops.

The editorials by Khoury and Hubisz in the recent issues of the Announcer concerning “physics for all” and “physics first” were generating good response and reactions. Fehrs recommended that readers should have been alerted to these special features in the publication. She explained that she was impressed with the articles but had not seen them until they were referenced in the Board packet. Khoury commented that he would consider how to better advertise issues of the Announcer with editorials and commentaries addressing topics of special interest within the physics education community.

The 2002 Physics Olympiad has been moved to a safer and calmer locale within Indonesia. Khoury, however, still believes that it would be wiser, in light of political unrest in Indonesia and the recent attacks on America, not to send American students to the foreign competition this year. Members of the Board generally voiced agreement with this decision.

Khoury reported that he had received a faxed letter of intent from Campus Outfitters, a current tenant in the Dodge Building to submit a bid for the purchase of the building. Copies of the fax had been given to both Dickison and Robertson. Upon Khoury’s recommendation, the Board appointed Chris Chiaverina, Charlie Holbrow, Alex Dickison, Chuck Robertson and Bernie Khoury to engage in initial negotiations with Campus Outfitters, should the AAPT receive an official purchase offer for the Dodge Building. Khoury explained that he had been non-committal in discussions with the real estate broker for two reasons: (1) the negotiations should be initiated by an official offer and (2) only the Executive Board can consider and act on an offer.

Khoury further explained that if the Board did receive and accept an official bid to purchase the Dodge Building, each Board member, by advisement of the Association’s attorneys, would have to sign the resolution of sale. Dickison explained that when the Board considered action regarding occupancy by the AAPT in the American Center for Physics (ACP) Building, the motion received a majority vote to move into the new building, but afterwards each member of the Board signed the resolution. C. Holbrow pointed out that should a purchase offer be received by the Board, members would need to consider two issues: the sale and the amount of the purchase offer.

The Orientation for the new Board members (Jim Nelson, Debbie Rice, Chuck Robertson and Jan Tobochnik) will be held Friday, April 12, 2002, preceding the regularly scheduled meeting of the Board April 13-14 in College Park.

The European Physical Society has begun to contact physics organizations to determine their interest in establishing the year 2005 as the “International Year of Physics”. The society probably selected this year in recognition of the physics contributions made by Albert Einstein in 1905. Such a declaration would require a decision by UNESCO. Leonard Jossem contributed that, although the US is not a member of this organization, the AAPT has strong ties with IUPAP who has strong connections with UNESCO. Therefore, the AAPT may be able to influence this decision.

Khoury reported that two audits were currently being conducted: one is the annual review by the Association’s auditors and NSF auditors are conducting the other review. NSF is reviewing records over the period FY 1997-2000 as they conduct an “overhead rate” audit at the AAPT. The apparent purpose of this audit, also being conducted at a dozen other associations, will help the NSF in the development of procedures for assuring that financial systems and controls at societies are compatible with government regulations regarding calculations of overhead rates.

Khoury described one disagreement between the AAPT staff and NSF auditors

concerning the need for the Association to book the value of all peer reviews. The auditors claimed that this value should be written as an expense item and would, in effect, be an “in-kind gift”, increasing our income and expenses. It is not clear if the AAPT will receive a comprehensive report from NSF following the submission of the audit report to the Foundation.

Khoury had two additional items to report on that were not part of his EO reports:

Barbara Lotze is very pleased with the way the AAPT has handled the Lotze Scholarship and the recipients that have been selected for the award. She advised Khoury that the AAPT is the primary beneficiary in her last will and testament.

Khoury reported that as a result of his conversations with Arthur Eisenkraft, author of Active Physics, and with the officers of “It’s About Time” the publishers and distributors of the text, agreements were reached concerning the calculation of royalties from the sale of this publication. This discussion has been ongoing for about 14 months and he anticipates that agreement papers will be signed soon. The money received will go into the royalty fund that includes income from AAPT products sold through ZTEK and “It’s About Time”. The Association should expect to receive some $20K a year in royalties from this product as well as a check for the income not received from previous sales.

5. Web Services.
W. Hein reported that the AAPT staff have spent a lot of time contemplating how to best update the AAPT website, making it more accessible to physics educators and AAPT committees. The AAPT staff presented the following recommendation addressing web services software and upgrades for Board consideration:
1. Purchase and install WebTrends - $4,000
2. Work with a consultant to create a new site architecture and design - $22,000
3. Install a content management system - $26,500
4. Annually pay a content management license fee - $5,300
5. Purchase a 10-incident tech support pack and one-time training fee - $8,700
The total cost of the software and upgrades (including training, technical support, and annual license fee) is $66, 500. The staff also recommended the purchase of an iMIS upgrade for about $6,000. The upgrade will be used to process credit cards without the need for a separate machine. The staff estimated that if the recommended purchases were approved, an initial redesign of the website could be released during the summer. The recommended changes and additions would also interface well with the proposed physics website for the NSDL currently under development.

In subsequent discussion, Fehrs expressed a concern about the maintenance of websites by area committees, particularly in lieu of the annual rotation of many committee chairs. S. Kniseley and Dickison explained that the recommended purchase would provide for the database supporting the websites requested by many area committees. However, Association members would not be able to directly input data into the system without the purchase of additional software costing about $125K. Holbrow requested feedback from specific member users who will serve as consultants during the redesign phase. In response to a question from Chuck Robertson, S. Kniseley explained that the AAPT staff receiving training in these new upgrades will be able to provide training for future staff employed at the national office.

Dickison moved that the Executive Board approve the six recommended expenditures for web services software and upgrades submitted in the staff proposal. R. Howes seconded the motion. The motion passed with unanimous vote. The Board expressed special thanks to Sina Kniseley and Warren Hein for their efforts to improve the AAPT web services.

6. Appointment to AIP Governing Board.
Four members of the Executive Board (R. Howes, J. Hubisz, C. Chiaverina, and B. Khoury) currently serve on the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics (AIP). The Governing Board meets twice a year with all travel expenses paid by the AIP. Howes’ term on this Board will expire in April 2002. Traditionally the President-Elect of the AAPT has been appointed by the Executive Board to replace the retiring AAPT member of the Board.

Hubisz called for a vote from the Executive Board confirming the appointment of Charles Holbrow to the AIP Governing Board. The motion passed with 10 yes and 1 no.

7. The 2002 Budget.
A. Dickison asked the Board members to review the Memo in the Board Packet (Item IIB) prepared by W. Hein concerning the 2001 and 2002 Budget. The 2001 Budget projects a net income of $107,078. The 2002 Budget projects a deficit of $250,175. However, the deficit is misleading, as the AAPT during the next year will be spending income received in previous years. For example, Spin-Up monies were received in 2001 but will be spent during the coming year and similarly for monies in the Campaign for Physics. If all incomes and expenses were considered over a longer time frame, the AAPT would realize a balanced budget.

Fehrs asked if the delay in the expenditure of received monies also explained the projected decrease in Designated Funds. B. Khoury replied that this was the case and cited as an example the monies in the Max Dresden Fund. The AAPT received about $7000 and $2000 have been expended to support a graduate student at Dresden’s home institution. The remaining monies will be used to support a speaker, approved by the Dresden family, for a future AAPT meeting. Following a series of questions from Board members regarding the length of time such monies are carried on the budget, Khoury and Dickison explained that these items must be carried as Assets until the AAPT is sure that there will be no further expenditures.

In further discussion of the proposed budget for 2002, Khoury explained that the Rural PTRA proposal, submitted to the NSF in September 2001, was not considered in the budget projections due to the size of the requested award. However, the discussions with NSF had been good and the AAPT had complied with all requests from the Foundation regarding the submitted proposal and budget. Therefore, Khoury stated that these discussions and activities gave good reason to believe that the program will be funded. The matching funds required by the NSF will be taken from the Campaign for Physics and some monies realized from vendors. It is his belief that the grant award will have a positive impact on the AAPT budget.

R. Howes moved that the Executive Board approve the Budget for 2002 and C. Haas seconded the motion. The motion passed with unanimous vote.

8. Memberships and Benefits Committee Report.
Dickison presented the report from meetings of the Membership and Benefits Committee and referred Board members to the report in the Board packet (Item II D). As of December 31, 2001, total active AAPT membership was 10,305. The membership is down about a hundred from December 2000. First renewal notices were sent electronically to members with valid email addresses. On the average, about 25% responded with credit card payments and the other 15% renewed the membership electronically noting that they would mail their payments later.

In addition to AAPT brochures highlighting some of the AAPT member benefits, the staff is preparing special brochures as part of the Legacy Campaign. These brochures will provide members with information concerning how financial contributions to the Association are used. In particular, the brochure will describe the benefits to be gained from small contributions, such as funding the meeting registration fees for students, providing help for new teachers to attend AAPT meetings and supporting student scholarships

Dickison reported that the Committee feels that the AAPT needs to provide more member benefits. One possible benefit being discussed within committee is the endorsement by the AAPT of certain commercial ventures such as long-term care insurance, car insurance, and AAPT credit cards (“golden handcuffs”).

Dickison explained to the Board that lifetime memberships, which the Association now has, imply the promise of future benefits to its members. The Committee feels that the AAPT will need to log liabilities when the Association has received 50 lifetime memberships. Since the organization now has 35 such members, the Committee advised the Board to begin discussions now concerning how the AAPT will report these liabilities. It was agreed that Khoury and Robertson would prepare a recommendation for the Board’s consideration.

No action was taken.

9. Student Confidence Workshop.
Hubisz reported that he had corresponded with the Committee for Women in Physics concerning the Student Confidence Workshop. They will prepare for the Board’s consideration a more detailed request authorizing the revision of the Student Confidence Workshop. The Committee was disappointed that the second revision did not get a good review by the Publications Committee and promised that the third revision would be better.

No action was taken.

10. Future Meetings.
Khoury reported on the future sites for AAPT meetings under consideration. Feedback concerning the suggested sites for the Summer 2005 meeting would be requested from Council. In addition, he would ask Council to confirm the recommended joint meeting with the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington for the Winter 2007.

In further discussion, Khoury explained that the AAPT staff preferred to work with a contact person in the physics department of the host institution for summer meetings. In preliminary investigations for possible sites for summer meetings, the staff often works with the institution’s conference services to determine if the site were feasible. If the findings are favorable, the staff will then contact the physics faculty. After early conversations with the faculty, some suggested sites will be removed from the list and others will be delayed depending upon the circumstances.

No action was taken.

11. Departmental Chairs’ Conference.
The AAPT has held a Departmental Chairs’ Conference jointly with the American Physical Society (APS) approximately every two years for the last two decades. After learning that the scheduling of the introductory calculus physics conference would be delayed until the Fall 2002 (the delay will give the NSF time to review the submitted proposal and locate financial support for the conference), Khoury approached Judy Franz about the possibility of hosting the Chairs’ conference this spring.

The APS has taken the lead on this conference and has committed very strong staff support. The AAPT will likely contribute some secondary staff support. The registration fee for participants should be adequate to cover the out-of-pocket expenses, eliminating the need to seek external funding for the meeting. Probable dates for the conference are May 3-5 or June 7-9 with the meeting site to be the American Center for Physics (ACP). Approximate attendance will be 100-110 departmental chairs.

A proposed theme for the chairs’ conference is “Helping to Shape the Physics of the 21st Century” with sessions addressing international students at the graduate level, visas for visiting scientists, physics responses to national security concerns, the contrast between strong research funding and waning student interest, and the national priority on teacher preparation. Possible speakers for the meeting include the science appointees by the Bush administration (Jack Marburger, science advisor; Ray Orbach, DOE science director; Norm Neureiter, Department of State science advisor; and Rita Colwell, NSF Director) and Members of Congress or Congressional Staff. A steering committee will be appointed to provide advice on the program and the speakers.

Ruth Howes moved, and Chris Chiaverina seconded the motion, that the Executive Board approve the request from Bernie Khoury to move ahead with the plans to host the Departmental Chairs’ Conference jointly with the APS in late Spring, 2002. The motion passed unanimously. Franz, in parallel action with Khoury, is seeking approval from the APS. It was generally agreed among the Board members that John Hubisz would work with Khoury and Franz in the planning of the conference.

12. 2002 Appointments to AAPT Committees.
C. Chiaverina reported that all committee appointments have been completed. He added that there was little problem in obtaining appointments for this year.

13. Review Board Report.
R. Howes reported that all committees, except the Metric Temporary Committee, had submitted annual reports to the Review Board. The Board members will soon begin the review of the committees’ activities during the past year.

14. Board Assignments to Area Committee Meetings.
Hubisz supervised the assignments of Board members to attend area committee meetings. The reports will be shared with the Board during its last meeting in Philadelphia. (See Minutes Item 34.)

15. National Task Force on Undergraduate Physics.
The National Task Force on Undergraduate Physics (NTFUP), jointly sponsored by the AAPT, the APS and the AIP met January 19 and 20 in Philadelphia. R. Howes gave a status report concerning the NTFUP activities.
1. The Spin-Up project, funded with money from ExxonMobil, has completed 7 of 20 planned site visits of undergraduate physics departments. Approximately eight more are assigned for the Spring. The results from these studies should be ready this summer accompanied by recommendations for the next step.
2. The NSF review of the submitted proposal requesting funding for the calculus physics conference was delayed approximately six months. However, Howes expressed confidence that the conference will be funded.
3. The meeting of the “elite” physics departments was held, the discussion was very productive and the chairs of the research universities agreed to meet again. During the meeting, Howes observed that all the attending chairs were interested in undergraduate physics programs. She also noted that there was little communication among universities concerning their undergraduate physics education programs.
4. Howes reminded the Board that the proposal requesting funding for a Spin-Up parallel activity among two-year colleges had been submitted to the NSF in October 2001. However, to date no official word had been heard from NSF concerning the award of funding for the one-year program.

16. Services for Persons with Disabilities.
Hubisz reported that he had again asked Betty Preece for clarification regarding her request that the AAPT comply with the federal law regarding services for persons with disabilities. Evidently in previous AAPT meetings, she had learned that some attendees were not getting needed services. However, she had not responded to Hubisz nor had she described to him a single situation where the AAPT did not comply with this law. Howes commented that she had also received similar letters but they too were unclear in how the Association was in violation of the federal regulation. The staff reported that there had been some problem reported during the AAPT meeting in Guelph, but the Canadian regulations are different than the regulations in the United States and therefore the University of Guelph was not as prepared to handle these special needs as are the universities in the U.S.

Maria Elena Khoury and Carol Heimpel explained that attendees are asked to identify special needs on the forms provided for pre registration and registration and the staff then work with the meeting hosts to insure that these special services are provided. However, Heimpel emphasized that participants with disabilities need to advise the staff of their individual needs prior to the meetings.

17. Report from the Teacher Prep Committee.
As Chair of the Teacher Prep Committee, L. Jossem presented a progress report of the activities of the temporary committee since its appointment in the Summer 2001. He had asked committee members for ideas that the committee could address but had received little response. Therefore, Jossem compiled his own list of ideas and distributed copies of the list to Board members, seeking their input. He explained that he had been trying to identify activities for the committee, which no one else was been doing but were still worthwhile for the Association to pursue.

Jossem also reported two items not appearing in the committee’s Annual Report submitted to the Review Board. (1) Although science is not listed in the testing requirement of the “no child left behind” law, he advised the Executive Board that it would be in a couple of years. Therefore, the AAPT may want to begin discussions now to address this eventuality. (2) In an effort to encourage an exchange of information between teachers of pre service teachers, Jossem compiled a “Reference List” of over 180 references available on CD Rom along with a printed list of the references. Copies were distributed to Board members

In closing Jossem reported data to the Board indicating that 90% of the AAPT members do not attend the meetings of the Association. He asked the Board to consider how the Association might involve them.

(Board recessed until 11:30 AM on January 21. Hubisz reconvened the open meeting of the Executive Board following Executive Session I)