On-line Resource to Help Increase the Number of Research Opportunities for Undergraduates Being Jointly Developed by APS, CUR, AAPT and SPS

Do you or does your department have a practice, funding strategy, internship placement strategy or course with research embedded in it that, if adopted by other physics or astronomy departments, would help increase the number of undergraduate research opportunities? The American Physical Society, Council on Undergraduate Research, American Association of Physics Teachers, and Society of Physics Students are collecting articles that will be published on-line to serve as a resource to departments, faculty and students as they work to meet the challenge put before the community that all undergraduate physics and astronomy majors at 4-year colleges be provided with a research experience. We invite you to submit an article for publication in this new resource that highlights any practice that encourages, leads to increases in, or enhances research experiences for undergraduates.

The idea that all undergraduate physics and astronomy majors should have a research experience was endorsed by the members of the APS Council at their April 4, 2014 meeting when Council members voted unanimously to adopt the statement:

The American Physical Society calls upon the nation’s four-year colleges and universities and their physics and astronomy departments to provide or facilitate access to research experiences for all undergraduate physics and astronomy majors.

An accompanying “Context” statement goes on to say:

Research experiences provide students with many benefits, including skills in problem definition, project design, open-ended problem solving, use of modern instruments and techniques, data collection and analysis, analytical and computational modeling, and communication of evidence-based technical arguments. These skills are of great value to students as they go on to engage in future science, engineering, business, education, government, or other careers. Participation in research has been shown to increase retention in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degree programs, support students’ decisions to pursue STEM careers, and enable students to move more effectively from the classroom to professional practice.

The APS statement joins similar earlier statements adopted by the Society of Physics Students, Physics/Astronomy Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research, American Astronomical Society, American Association of Physics Teachers, and the APS Committee on Education. These statements can be viewed on the Society of Physics Students web site.

Making such declarations and realizing them are, of course, not one-and-the-same. It is now incumbent upon all of us to make undergraduate research experiences for all physics and astronomy majors, either on our campuses or through off-campus opportunities, a reality. Anyone wishing to contribute to this new physics and astronomy resource may do so by emailing the article to John Mateja at jmateja@murraystate.edu (please submit the article as a Word attachment). There are no length limits; the articles can be as long or as short as you need them to be. Articles should be submitted by the beginning of the 2014 fall term, although notification of an intention to write an article would be appreciated sooner.

APS Forum on Education Executive Committee
Beth Cunningham, Executive Officer, American Association of Physics Teachers
Theodore Hodapp, Director, Education and Diversity, American Physical Society
Michael Jackson, Chair, Council on Undergraduate Research, Physics/Astronomy Division
John Mateja, Past President, Council on Undergraduate Research
Toni Sauncy, Director, Society of Physics Students

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.