FEd November 1994 Newsletter - Comments

November 1994



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Comments from the Chair

Since this is my last time to address the membership as chair of the FED, I have decided to take the opportunity to provide a summary of the major things that have happened this year. At the beginning of the year, we had some 3400 members. We had sponsored some symposia, but we did not yet have permanent newsletter editors nor any on-going projects for member involvement. We were a new organization, still getting off the ground. the process takes time-- usually more than we'd like.

Naturally, we have continued our sponsorship of symposia in 1994. At the March meeting, that job was facilitated this year by a very conveniently situated group at Carnegie Mellon, who had much to tell us about physics education research. The symposia and workshops they helped us develop were well received, and very well attended. We have also made progress on other fronts, though. As I write this, we are preparing for our third newsletter issue under our permanent editors. We have our first member project underway, with the August launching of the database for undergraduate research opportunities. We still need your help in gathering the information (see below), but the project is underway and working. And, of course, we have continued to grow, with our membership now approaching the 4000 mark. In terms of organization, we have also now staffed the program, nominations, and fellowship committees called for in our bylaws.

Since the database project is our main new addition for 1994, I would like to remind you what it's about, and to invite you once again to get your information in. Due to the timing of the newsletter mailing in August and the deadline in september, there has been little time for me to assess the number of responses we are getting. As you may recall, the idea is to collect information on summer research opportunities for undergraduates in a form that allows searching and widespread electronic access. At this writing, we have very few entries (fewer than 300 positions are represented on the database at this time). I hop that will expand considerably in the coming weeks. We ask you to think about the possibility that you could employ an undergraduate next summer. If that sounds like something you might lie to do (or if you know of an ongoing summer program at your institution), then please go through the registration procedure--it's easy to do. The full instructions were given in my column in the August newsletter. In short, you can get a template file with embedded instructions by simply sending the one-line message

### get_template [e-mail return address]
to FedReg@aps.org. The template will be returned in the usual reply fashion, or to the address you specify in the command, if any. You edit the template file to insert your information and mail it back--and you're done. Once we have information installed, it can be searched and retrieved using a similar procedure. To obtain the search template, send the message
### get_search [e-mail return address]
to FedReg@aps.org. [Ed. note: We anticipate that this database will be accessible via mosaic by mid-December. Details will appear here soon.]

Looking to the future, we anticipate that the database program will be expanded to encompass a mentoring project for high school students. We are making progress on the Media Fellowship idea mentioned in my column last month. The FEd is cooperating in the planning of a conference on graduate physics education, sponsored by APS. Ruth Howes, as our Chair- Elect and head of our program committee, is planning our symposia for the spring meeting as I write this--and if any of you have ideas for symposia of interest at the sectional meetings in the fall, I hope you will contact her (rhowes@nsf.gov). As the variety of our activities expands we hope to find more of you taking an active role.

The Forum is only as strong as its members. We need your ideas, your support, and most of all your involvement. I continue to invite any of you with specific questions or ideas to contact me by e-mail (kbl@physics.att.com). I won't be chair next year, but I'll definitely still be on board helping Ruth as she takes over. I am glad to have had the opportunity to be a part of the effort to get the Forum on Education off to a good start. We're making progress.

Ken Lyons, Chair 1994