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The Excellence in Physics Education Award recognizes and honors a team or group of individuals (such as a collaboration), or exceptionally a single individual, who have exhibited a sustained commitment to excellence in physics education. The award may be a given for, but not necessarily restricted to, such accomplishments as: outreach programs; a specific program or project that has had a major ongoing influence on physics education at the national level; outstanding teacher enhancement or teacher preparation programs over a number of years; long-lasting professional service related to physics education that has had a demonstrated positive impact.
The selection committee emphasizes that making the final decision was not an easy task. However, the committee recognized that the work of this year’s awardee continues to have a broad impact on the physics community, not only on students. Thus, the Forum on Education is pleased to announce that in 2016, the Excellence in Physics Education Award recognizes Robert John (“Bob”) Beichner from the North Carolina State University. The citation reads,
"For leadership in research and dissemination of SCALE-UP teaching tools, providing an effective approach to learning physics with attention to conceptual understanding and participation of all students; and for editorial leadership in the establishment of PRST-PER, allowing broad dissemination of research-based educational practices."
Bob Beichner received BS degrees in Physics and Mathematics from Penn State in 1977. He has a 1979 MS from Illinois and a 1989 PhD from SUNY, Buffalo. He started at NC State in 1992 and directs the Physics Education R & D Group. He invented the popular Video-Based Lab pedagogy and his team developed a widely-used series of conceptual assessments. In 1995 he originated SCALE-UP (Student Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies), now in use at more than 250 institutions. He was the founding editor of Physical Review Special Topics-Physics Education Research. He is a member of NC State`s Academy of Outstanding Teachers. He received the Ohaus Award for Innovation from the National Science Teachers Association. He was named the 2009 North Carolina Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and received the 2010 UNC Board of Governors Award. Beichner was named the 2010 National Undergraduate Science Teacher of the Year by the Society of College Science Teachers and the National Science Teachers Association. In 2011 he was awarded the McGraw Prize. He is a Fellow of AAPT, AAAS, and APS.