Updates from the Topical Group on Physics Education Research

Eric Brewe, GPER Chair, Florida International University

During this first year of our existence, GPER, the Topical Group on Physics Education Research, has grown to over 500 members. This growth shows the importance of PER as a research field within the APS. We take the membership growth and our initial accomplishments as indicators that we are fulfilling the mission of GPER — to the advance and spread of knowledge concerning the learning and teaching of physics. We support the growth of PER within the APS and the executive board serves as your representative to the APS administrative organization and broader membership.

We are pleased with our successes over our inaugural year. The elected GPER Executive Committee meets monthly along with a representative of the Forum on Education (FEd), a member of American Association of Physics Teachers’ Topical Group on PER (AAPT – PERTG), and the APS staff liaison.

Ongoing efforts:
  • The Grand Challenges in Physics Education Research initiative to identify physics education research questions of broad importance was endorsed by the APS GPER, AAPT – PERTG, and the FEd. Invitations to the Working Group and Advisory Board have been issued. For more information, see the upcoming GPER Newsletter.
  • Outreach to professional societies and national agencies has begun with introductions sent to 20 professional societies (e.g. American Chemical Society, American Society for Engineering Education) and national agencies (e.g. NSF, Dept. of Education).
  • New member recruitment has included a flyer distributed at the Summer AAPT meeting and a slide posted at APS Education & Diversity exhibits.
  • Guidelines are being established for how GPER monies will support the goals of the topical group and serve its members.
  • Institutional memory and practices of the Topical Group are being documented to support future Topical Group Executive Committees in functioning efficiently.
  • Two GPER invited sessions will be held at the APS April Meeting in 2015, one on the Grand Challenges effort and one on the Physical Review – PER Focused Collection on Upper Division Physics. All are encouraged to submit contributed talks and posters on physics education research to the April Meeting. The call for proposals for the April meeting will open in October.
  • Elections will open in Mid-October for one At-Large member and one member in the Chair line (Vice-Chair).
  • GPER will nominate two APS Fellows in Spring 2015. If you have suggestions for nominations, please contact a member of the Executive Committee.

I would like to thank the other members of the Executive Committee for their service so far: Karen Cummings, Rachel Scherr, Scott Franklin, Noah Finkelstein, Adrien Madsen, and Peter Shaffer. I am also grateful to MacKenzie Stetzer of AAPT – PERTG, Michael Fauerbach of the Forum on Education, and Renee-Michelle Goertzen of APS for their contributions to GPER.

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.