From the Chair

Renee Diehl

As most of you know, the APS has a new strategic plan, and a significant part of it is about enhancing physics education at all levels and across the world. Our increasingly technological lives, shifting demographics in the United States, and the globalization of science are all factors compelling us, as physicists and educators, to think of new ideas for physics education that will advance our robust and healthy society.

The main job of the Forum on Education is to inform APS members of new ideas and developments in physics education and training, and this is done mainly through the creation of programming for the March and April APS meetings. The FEd typically organizes 5-10 invited and focus sessions at each meeting, along with occasional workshops, which span a wide range of educational interests. These include physics education at all levels, informal education and outreach, preparation for careers and physics education research (PER). This big organizing job is handled by the FEd Program Committee, consisting of ten members having very diverse interests in education, and being chaired this year by Paul Cottle of Florida State University. In this newsletter, Paul provides a preview of the FEd sessions that you can expect to see at the March and April meetings in 2013.

An exciting new development for the Forum is a proposal by Jonathan and Barbara Reichert to endow a new APS award for advanced laboratory instruction. The Forum is currently working to craft a proposal for this award, that if approved, will reward the hard work and dedication of those who toil to create, teach, maintain and improve stimulating experiments in advanced physics courses. Most of us have memories, fond or not, of the advanced experiments that we performed as undergraduates. Those of us who have ever taught an advanced lab course have a true appreciation for the sheer energy and dedication it takes to do a good job. There is no question that the best of these instructors should be recognized for their ingenuity and perseverance. The award, if approved, will be awarded annually to an individual or a team, and consists of a certificate and $5K, plus an invitation to speak at an APS meeting. Check the FEd website for updates.

Renee Diehl is Professor of Physics and Associate Department Head for Equity and Diversity in the Physics Department of Penn State University. She is Chair of the APS Forum on Education and carries out research in the area of surface physics, with an emphasis on surfaces having complex structures and weak interactions. She also leads a GK-12 Program called CarbonEARTH that seeks to improve STEM literacy and communication at the K-12 and graduate levels.

Disclaimer–The articles and opinion pieces found in this issue of the APS Forum on Education Newsletter are not peer refereed and represent solely the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the APS.