Award for Improving Undergraduate Physics Education
Application Deadline: July 15
Recognition for Departments and Programs of Distinction
The American Physical Society's (APS) Committee on Education (COE) seeks to recognize physics departments and /or undergraduate-serving programs in physics (hereafter “programs”) that support best practices in education at the undergraduate level. Programs will be recognized for 3 years, acknowledged on the APS website, awarded a plaque, announced in APS News, and recognized at an APS national meeting. These awards are intended to acknowledge commitment to inclusive, high-quality physics education for undergraduate students, and to catalyze departments and programs to make significant improvements.
APS will recognize one to three programs and departments each year.
Awardees for Improving Undergraduate Physics Education
Distinction from the APS Excellence in Physics Education Award
In contrast to the successful Excellence in Physics Education Award, this effort will recognize multiple institutions, and focus specifically on undergraduate programs. We anticipate these two awards will complement each other. The Committee on Education intends this award to recognize exemplary programs among the larger physics community.
Excellence in Physics Education Award
The APS Committee on Education seeks applications from programs providing evidence that they support excellence in undergraduate physics education. All programs that have a significant impact on undergraduate students in physics (e.g. those that have courses in physics, or a major, etc.) are eligible to apply. Applicants should consider how their programs successfully engage in undergraduate educational transformation, improve student understanding of physics, increase the number of majors, improve retention by reducing the DFW (Drop, Fail, or Withdrawal) rate, increase numbers of underrepresented minorities or women in physics, support physics major’s engagement in K-12 teaching careers, prepare students for physics careers, improve undergraduate research opportunities, and promote other activities aligned with best practices endorsed by APS’s Committee on Education at the undergraduate level. Please note that it is neither expected nor required that any given program will exhibit excellence or improvement in all of these areas. Applicants may wish to consider resources on successful undergraduate education programs such as the SPIN-UP report, and APS Education Resources.
APS Education Resources
How to ApplyTo apply, email the following to APS Education:
- Data form
- Two-page narrative that responds to the request described above
- Supplementary materials (of up to 10 pages)
Supplementary materials (of up to 10 pages) will be accepted, but the two-page narrative should describe programmatic efforts completely, independent of supplements. Institutions may submit only one application per year. Applications should arrive from the program’s director or department chair. To encourage broad participation by many programs, and to encourage individual programs to commit to sustained improvement and achievement, awardees will be recognized for 3 years on the APS website. We encourage programs to submit new applications after the award period has ended.
Review and Announcement Timeline
The APS Committee on Education’s Subcommittee on Undergraduate Education will review applications and make recommendations to the APS COE for their Fall Meeting. The entire committee will make final decisions based on the subcommittee’s recommendations. We encourage representatives of the programs receiving an award to participate in a public recognition ceremony that will typically occur at the APS April meeting. No travel funds are available to bring recipients to the award reception, nor is it required that they attend. A section of the APS Undergraduate website will keep a list of current and historical awardees with active links to their programs.