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The APS Executive Board approved a proposal to establish a Task Force on Career and Professional Development to provide guidance to the Society on its activities in this area. Intended for a term of one year, renewable for a second, the task force is expected to present a report of its initial recommendations to the APS Council in April 1997.
The task force is charged with advising the APS on efficient and effective mechanisms for coordinating and integrating the Society's existing career-oriented programs; formulating a long-term strategy to address career and professional development issues; and identifying and assisting implementation of new programs that can effectively serve the physics community in dealing with career issues. The first meeting will be held this winter, featuring a review of the present employment situation for physicists and ongoing APS activities in this area, as well as identifying gaps or superfluous programs and possible sources of outside funding for future initiatives.
"We hope to receive specific advice from the task force on how the APS should proceed to help physicists cope with the current employment situation and, in the long term, to develop a good match between training and professional expectations of physicists, and the needs of the work force and society," said APS Associate Executive Officer Barrett Ripin, who is the APS staff adviser to the task force. "There is a need to step back and assess our efforts in this area with the objective of moving in the most effective path with the appropriate amount of resources."
Examples of APS activies to help alleviate the employment situation include issuing a special Graduate Student Packet; providing forums for discussion at APS meetings and in APS News; sponsoring career workshops and placement centers; including young activists in APS governance; and formation of the APS Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics (FIAP). Most recently the Society has produced a special insert to APS News, "CareerPlus," and enhanced the APS career guidance Web page with employment listings and other resources, including a speakers' list on industrial and applied physics topics.
The APS task force membership includes representatives from the Forum on Education, the Forum on Physics and Society, and FIAP, as well as one graduate student, junior faculty member, industrial physicist, and two postdocs. Ed Goldin, director of AIP's Career Services, and Roman Czujko, director of AIP's Statistical Division, will serve in an advisory capacity.
Diandra Leslie-Pelecky of the University of Nebraska's Center for Materials Research and Analysis will chair the task force. The other members are Peter Abbamonte (University of Illinois), Robert Bartolo (University of Maryland, College Park), Glen Crawford (Stanford University), Robert Kwasnick (General Electric Corp. R&D), Anthony Nero (Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory), Steven J. Smith (National Center for Atmospheric Research), and Peter Wolff (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
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