FEd December 1997 Newsletter - Message from the Forum Chair

December 1997



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Message from the Forum Chair

Rush D. Holt

Roughly 10 percent of the members of each division of the APS are also members of the Forum on Education (FEd). That means that at every divisional or regional meeting of the APS there are sufficient people to make it possible and worthwhile to organize sessions on educational topics. You are surrounded by dozens or hundreds of colleagues who share your interest in education. Let's make the effort to educate ourselves and our colleagues about the interesting questions of education that are important to the future of our Society and our society. I ask members of the Forum in each division to plan such a session at their next meeting. The range of possible topics is enormous: "Successful innovations in teaching [insert your discipline here, e.g. fluid dynamics]", " The meaning of national educational standards for the future of physics", "Should graduate students be taught electrodynamics the same way we were?", "Why should a physicist run for school board?", "Does the cancellation or shrinkage of physics departments at some universities reflect a belief in the irrelevance of the field?", "What are students actually learning when teachers think they are teaching them sound physics?", or "How can you, an industrial physicist, help elementary school students when your company won't give you release time?" You choose. The members of the FEd executive committee would be pleased to help with ideas, references, and publicity. The APS Council has relaxed the restriction on one author presenting multiple papers at the same meeting to allow additional papers cosponsored by the Forum on Education or other cross-divisional units.

Another valuable activity that Forum members can undertake is to organize poster sessions at each meeting for undergraduates to present their research. Some APS divisions have had real success with these sessions.

Also, each divisional or regional meeting should offer something of value to local schools and teachers. Several divisions routinely offer workshops for school science teachers, free admission to the meeting (especially on a day with popular talks), museum lectures, television interviews. We can put you in touch with the local organization of physics teachers where your meeting will be held as well as with members of other APS divisions who have done these things.

So, please talk with your divisional leaders. The interest in education is there. The need is there. You are what is required to proceed.