From the Chair

Renee Diehl

I would like to welcome the newly-elected members of the Forum on Education Executive Committee, who will start their terms in March. Randy Knight will take over the vice chair position from Michael Fauerbach, who will move up to Chair-Elect. Heather Lewandowski and Geoff Potvin will become members-at-large, replacing Alice Churukian and Dick Peterson. I’d like to thank Alice and Dick for their able and generous service during their terms as members-at-large. I also congratulate Gay Stewart on her re-election to the post of Forum Councilor. The Forum Councilor is the official liaison between the FEd executive committee and the APS Council, and in this capacity, Gay keeps the communication lines open and facilitates the operations of the FEd within APS. I would also like to extend a huge thank you to Chandralekha Singh, who has been a tremendous mentor to me in my year as the chair of the FEd. I will be replacing Chandralekha as past chair in March, and Paul Cottle will step into the chair position. Paul is more passionate about pre-college physics education than anyone I have met, and we can expect some fires to be lit during the next year.

I also congratulate Gary Gladding, Mats Selen and Tim Stelzer at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign for winning the 2013 APS Excellence in Physics Education Award. They will be speaking about their award-winning activities at the APS April meeting. Four APS members were elected to APS fellowship by the FEd this year. They are David Cook, Paul Cottle, Paul DeYoung and David Meltzer. And finally, four programs were chosen for the 2013 Awards for Improving Undergraduate Physics Education. These are Colorado School of Mines, Kettering University, MIT and University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse. All of the awardees will be honored for their achievements during the awards session at the APS April meeting.

This year, for the first time, the FEd has two major APS awards to offer. The new one is the Jonathan and Barbara Wolff-Reichert Award for Excellence in Advanced Laboratory Instruction. Information for this award and for the Excellence in Physics Education award can be found on the APS website. The deadline for nominations for both is July 1, 2013. Please think now about making a nomination. The nomination process is not complicated, but it does take some time to prepare a good nomination package.

An overview of the FEd programming for the March and April meetings was provided in the Fall 2012 newsletter, and the full program can be found on the APS meeting website. As program chair, Paul Cottle has assembled an exciting program covering all aspects of physics education.

We have had three fantastic newsletter editors during the past year – Nic Rady, Beth Lindsey, and Paul Dolan, who is editing this edition. We will be moving to a somewhat different model for the production of newsletters, which is to have an editor-in-chief who is responsible for the production of all newsletters. We believe this will strengthen the newsletters and allow more creative possibilities such as themed issues. Our first editor-in-chief is Beth Lindsey, who begins her duties with the Summer 2013 newsletter.

As my year as Chair winds down, I thank everyone who has made the year interesting, fun and memorable. I especially want to express my appreciation to Scott Franklin, our Secretary-Treasurer, who performs the invisible administrative work that keeps our organization alive and thriving.

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.