FEd August 1994 Newsletter - AAPT'S GRADUATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE SHARES GOALS
FORUM ON EDUCATION
AAPT'S GRADUATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE SHARES GOALS
The goals of the American Association of Physics Teachers' Committee
on Graduate Education (CGE) overlap with the interests of many FEd members.
Current chair Robert Beck Clark of Texas
A&M University cited as one recent accomplishment the revision of an AAPT/AIP
guidebook on graduate studies. This book, entitled "Planning for Graduate
Studies in Physics and Related Fields" is aimed at undergraduates and covers
topics such as: recommended preparation for graduate school, the admissions
procedure, choosing a graduate school and financial support. A list of resources
and considerations are suggested so that the student can make informed decisions
about graduate school. The revision effort was led by Dennis Henry of Gustavas
Adolphus. CGE has also co-sponsored (with FEd) a workshop at the April AAPT/APS
conference on alternative opportunities for physics graduates. Among the
committee's current projects is to encourage AIP to put together a study
of the length of time to completion of the Ph.D.
David Gavenda of the University of Texas at Austin, a past chair of CGE,
noted that previous sessions sponsored by the CGE at APS meetings have
included trends in textbooks in Solid State physics courses and the evolution
of the graduate program in terms of available texts. Both Gavenda and Clark
mentioned that the committee was limited in accomplishing all of the activities
they would like to because the CGE holds primary responsibility for organizing
the plenary sessions at conferences. This responsibility takes the majority
of the committee members' attention and doesn't leave time to accomplish
as much in other areas.
One concern the committee would like to address is that many of the job
openings in today's market are at schools that are more teaching oriented.
Many of the students who are applying for these jobs do not have prior
teaching experience. Participation in AAPT activities would give these
students additional familiarity with teaching techniques and jargon. Both
Gavenda and Clark also mentioned that, because of the overlap of interests,
they would like to see increased cooperation between AAPT and APS. The
number of physicists involved in both AAPT and APS is not as large as they
would like it to be, although efforts are being made to simplify the paperwork
for joint membership. As a model, they cite the twice- yearly joint AAPT/APS/SPS
(Society of Physics Students) meetings held by the Texas Section. The joint
meetings increase interactions between both societies and students.
Those interested in the activities of the AAPT's CGE can reach Robert
Beck Clark by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (409) 845-3332.