APS pursues a number of projects to advance physics education and improve diversity. A small
snapshot of these programs is provided here, but if questions arise, please contact Ted Hodapp, Director
of Education and Diversity (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- PhysTEC – The Physics Teacher Education Coalition is a project of the APS and the American
Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) to increase the number of highly-qualified high school
physics teachers in the US. Currently, fewer than half of all high school physics teachers have any
significant background in physics. The project now links more than 300 institutions, holds an
annual conference, and funds key programs around the country to address this significant
- Prize for improving physics departments – The APS Committee on Education awards an annual
prize to physics departments who have worked to improve their program. The honor helps
recognize significant innovation and concerted efforts by departments to improve their offerings
- New Faculty Workshop – The APS, AAPT, and American Astronomical Society (AAS) jointly run the
NSF-funded New Faculty Workshop (NFW). These 3-day events, held twice each year now, reach
nearly half of all new physics and astronomy faculty in the US. The program features leaders in
education, and helps new faculty improve their teaching and understand and cope with demands
on their time.
- Graduate Education Conference – In February 2017, the APS will host a conference on graduate
education in conjunction with the APS Bridge Program to bring physics department leadership
together to share ideas, hear about innovations in graduate education, and host discussions on
common issues such as candidacy exam structure, curriculum, professional development for
students, and graduate admissions practices.
Women & Minority Programs
- APS Bridge Program – To increase the number of underrepresented minorities (URMs) who
receive PhDs (currently only about 6% of all domestic PhDs), the APS received NSF funding in 2012
to create bridge programs at universities throughout the country. The APS gathers applications
from URM students and has established six such sites. In addition, applications from these
students are circulated to graduate programs throughout the country to increase the chances of
matching talented students with available program spots. The program has greatly exceeded its
goal of 10 students placed each year and will likely place more than 30 in 2016 – the number
needed to bring the fraction of URM PhDs up to the fraction of undergraduate URMs receiving
bachelor's degrees in physics in the US.
- APS CUWiP – The APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics host nine simultaneous
conferences throughout the US each year with the aim of increasing participation of women in
physics by reducing isolation and providing professional development to female physics majors. In
its 11th year, the conferences now reach nearly every woman who will receive a bachelor’s degree
in physics in the US prior to their graduation.
- NMC – The APS National Mentoring Community is a new initiative to provide local faculty mentors to
URM undergraduates. Students have indicated the need to receive guidance throughout their academic
career to succeed in physics. This program is reaching out to faculty throughout the country to ask them
to mentor a single student. APS is providing resources to support this through travel funding, an annual
meeting on mentoring and professional development for students, and eventually recognition for
mentors and scholarship funds for students in financial need.