Forum on Education of the American Physical Society
Many interesting FEd Sessions are being planned for the APS April Meeting in St. Louis
Ernie Malamud, Chair, FEd Program Committee
The FEd Program Committee of Andrew Post-Zwicker, David G. Haase, Ken Krane, Larry Woolf, Olivia Castellini, Paula Heron, and Peter J. Collings has been hard at work planning an exciting series of FEd Session and other events at the March and April APS meetings. Speakers are invited and abstracts are coming in.
At the April 12-15 Meeting, held at the Adams Mark Hotel in downtown St. Louis (Saturday – Tuesday), the FEd is organizing two focus sessions, and seven invited sessions, four of which are co-sponsored with other APS units.
The focus session “Frontiers in Physics Education Research,” organized by Paula Heron and Peter Shafer, highlights recent empirical and theoretical developments in the field. An invited talk, “Effectiveness of different tutorial recitation teaching methods and its implications for TA training” will be given by Robert Endorf of the University of Cincinnati and will be followed by contributed papers from physicists conducting research on learning and teaching in undergraduate classrooms.
Davis Haase is organizing a focus session: “What is the Future of Advanced Physics Laboratories in the Undergraduate Curriculum?” Leading off the session is an invited talk by Jeff Dunham of Middlebury College: “The Place of the Advanced Laboratory in Undergraduate Education.” The session is intended to increase discussion about the present state of these laboratory courses, and consider examples of how they should be carried forward in light of budgetary constraints, the rise of undergraduate research programs and changes in curricula.
Cosponsored:sessions arewith FGSA “Programs to prepare Teaching Assistants to Teach” (Tuesday, April 15, 1:30 PM); with DNP “Undergraduate Education in Nuclear Physics” (Sunday, April 13, 8:30 AM); with FPS “How to communicate physics to the general public using books and articles” (Saturday, April 12, 10:45 AM); and with DPB “The US Particle Accelerator School.” (Sunday, April 13, 10:45 AM.)
Speakers and titles for the joint DNP/FEd session are Warren Rogers (Westmount College) “Tenth anniversary of the very successful Conference Experience for Undergraduates;” Sekazi Mtingwa (MIT) “Nuclear Science Workforce Needs for a Future with Nuclear Energy;” and John Shriner (Tennessee Tech University) “Undergraduate Research at an Undergraduate Facility.”
The US Particle Accelerator School provides educational programs in the field of beams and their associated accelerator technologies not otherwise available to the community of science and technology. The USPAS conducts graduate and undergraduate level courses at U.S. universities, holding two such programs per year, one in June and the other in January and has welcomed students from all corners of the world, from universities, laboratories, private companies, government and the military. Some of the students have been in the field for many years and are interested in a "refresher" course, while others are full-time students looking for additional classes to add to their education. Qualified teachers are chosen from national laboratories, universities and private industry. Major universities, in partnership with the national laboratories, underwrite the offerings and provide the necessary quality control. Through this administrative framework, universities across the nation can offer our high-quality advanced technology courses. The session will begin with a talk by William A. Barletta, Director of the USPAS “USPAS overview and educational mission;” his talk will be followed by Evgenya Smirnova, last year’s Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Beam Physics awardee who will speak about the student experience at the USPAS, and Mike Syphers of Fermilab on the teacher experience.
Saturday, April 12, 1:30 PM the FEd session is on the popular subject of “Physics Demonstrations and Strategies for Teaching and Public Outreach.” Sample demonstrations and discussion of various approaches will be presented from both the formal and informal science education communities. The three presentations are: “Youth Exploring Science” by Diane Miller, Senior Vice-President of the St. Louis Science Center, “The Modeling Physics Instruction Program” by James Cibulka of Bayless High School in St. Louis, and “Active Learning in a Large General Physics Classroom” by Rebecca Trousil from Washington University.
A major new initiative of APS is an effort to double the number of bachelor degrees in physics to address critical national needs including K-12 education, economic competitiveness, energy, and security. Essential areas of increase are in the number of highly qualified high school physics teachers and in the fraction of physics majors held by women and under-represented minorities. The session “Why we should double the number of undergraduate degrees in physics” will discuss this important issue and proposed implementation. Theodore Hodapp, APS Director of Education & Diversity will lead off with “Statistics and Rationale for the Doubling Initiative,” followed by Robert Hilborn. (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) “Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics (SPIN-UP),” and David Boulware, (University of Washington) “How we did it at the University of Washington“
This year’s winner of the Excellence in Physics Education Award is the University of Washington’s Physics Education Research Group: Paula Heron, Lillian McDermott and Peter S. Shaffer. The Excellence in Physics Education Award session is scheduled for Monday, April 14, at 3:30 PM where talks by the winners and others impacted by their trailblazing work will be featured. The session will be followed by the FEd Business meeting and Reception. At the Business Meeting new Executive Committee members will be introduced and Fellow certificates presented. Ken Krane, Chair of the Award Committee, is organizing this session.