Greetings from the Chair!
David Haase, University of North Carolina at Raleigh
I surveyed the attendance of many of the contributed paper sessions at the APS March meeting in Denver . As you may know yourself, these sessions draw an audience of anywhere between 10 and 100 people. As a speaker it is always a gamble as to whether you will have a large audience. So, it was reassuring that each of the Denver contributed paper sessions on education had about 70 attendees. In fact, they were the liveliest sessions that I saw in Denver . There were many good questions asked, innovative ideas presented and a wide variety of topics discussed. Rightly, education related discussions - regarding all instructional levels and for all audiences - are featured and encouraged at APS meetings.
The APS allows members to contribute one first-author paper to each general meeting, but also allows an author to submit one additional "non-technical" paper. This means that, along with reporting on your non-educationally related research, you have the opportunity to report on that new graduate course you developed, your summer program for high school students, your collaboration with the local school system, or your research lab's new public education lecture series. You could even speak about the interdisciplinary course you co-teach with biologists and faculty from the college of education!
Forum on Education members contribute to all types of education. We should use the APS meetings to tell each other about what we do. The contributed paper sessions are great chances for you to make contacts, to get ideas and to cheer on your colleagues who lead the way. A faculty advisor who gives an education related contributed paper sets an example for her or his graduate students regarding the importance of teaching and learning in the professional life of a physicist. A contributed paper is also highly effective in disseminating the broader impacts of a research program.
I strongly urge you to take advantage of the education related contributed paper opportunity at the next APS meeting you attend. These papers are submitted through the same APS website ( http://www.aps.org/meetings ) with the same deadlines as any other contributed paper. While you are at it, please send suggestions for education related invited paper sessions and speakers to Ernie Malamud (firstname.lastname@example.org), F.Ed. Program Chair. He is planning the sessions for the March, 2008 meeting in New Orleans and the April, 2008 meeting in St. Louis . Our hope is that all of the invited and contributed paper sessions will draw overflow crowds.
Lastly, as the new Chair of the Forum on Education, I am pleased to recognize the contributions of Dr. Peggy McMahan, the outgoing Chair. Peggy has led outstanding education programs at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory for a number of years. As Chair of the F.Ed., she has increased our connections with the American Association of Physics Teachers including fostering the APS-sponsored invited paper sessions at the summer AAPT meeting which highlight the research of a different APS unit each summer. I am sure that Peggy's energy and enthusiasm for physics education will not lessen now that she moves on to Past-Chair and I thank her for all of her many APS and education related efforts.
David Haase is Professor of Physics at North Carolina State University in Raleigh and the new Chair of the Forum on Education Executive Committee. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.