CPUE met in Jacksonville and in Omaha.
In Jacksonville, there was initial discussion about the Project Kaleidoscope Mobilizing Disciplinary Societies which is bringing professional societies together to incorporate real world problems into science courses, namely environmental issues. Ideas discussed at the meeting included spreading the word about work already being done by AAPT members in this area, having a theme issue in AJP, and increasing the number of workshops by experts in this field. Another discussion centered on thawing the syllabus and it was decided to have an invited/contributed session in Ontario, CA highlighting Six Ideas that Shaped Physics by Thomas Moore and Matter and Interactions by Ruth Chabay and Bruce Sherwood. These non-traditional books have stood the test of time and are both in their 3rd edition. They are being adopted by more and more schools for calculus-based physics and seem to be the first truly innovative introductory textbooks to have significant numbers of adoptions. One person at the meeting reported changing the syllabus for an IPLS course and growing the course from 3 to 65 students.
In Omaha, the committee planned sessions and workshops for future meetings. Beyond suggestions from everyone in attendance, we were intentional about planning a crackerbarrel on standard assessment for college physics, another session on IPLS, another session on computational physics, and a session on environmental physics to support the PKAL project.
In Jacksonville, the committee sponsored sessions in IPLS (Introductory Physics for Life Sciences), assessment in undergraduate physics courses, computational physics, and the new AP exam, in addition to ongoing sessions on topics such as diversity, graduate student education, international physics education, and SPS. Note that the topics of IPLS, assessment, and computational physics fit broader goals of AAPT and the physics education community in general. These three topics (IPLS, assessment, and computational physics) were a significant part of our agenda in 2011 and were well represented in workshops and sessions.
In Omaha, there were a number of truly outstanding sessions. The Spacetime Physics session, honoring the work of Edwin Taylor, had three outstanding invited presentations and high attendance. There was a palpable feeling of expectation and appreciation in the room. Attendance at the Omaha IPLS session, organized for the 5th time by Juan Burciaga, was standing-room-only with well over 100 in attendance. In fact, many people were sitting on the floor. This popular session continues to be very well attended, showing that it is a hot topic that college-level physics teachers across the country are very interested in. The Physics of Sports session was also well attended and included the first AAPT presentation by Al Nathan, the oft-quoted guru of the physics of baseball. I sincerely hope that CPUE will bring him back for a workshop and another talk. Finally, Assessment Beyond Conceptual Inventories had a packed audience. This session in particular helped meet CPUE's goal to further the communication on assessment in college physics courses and programs. Also in Omaha, the committee responded to the QUESTIONNAIRE REGARDING AREA COMMITTEE SECTION OF STRATEGIC PLAN and sent feedback to David Cook.
CPUE discussed and provided feedback on the AAPT statement The American Association of Physics Teachers urges that every physics and astronomy department provide its majors and potential majors with appropriate instruction in computational physics. The larger recommendation of our committee is that AAPT should adopt general program guidelines instead of providing statements encouraging programs to have undergraduate research and computational physics, for example.
Current and former CPUE members Mary Lowe, Juan Burciaga, and Aaron Titus participated on a team of people who are implementing the PKAL Mobilizing Disciplinary Societies project. Mary organized an invited session for Ontario for the purpose of supporting the PKAL initiative.
CPUE renewed discussion of a Proposal for an Upper-Level Undergraduate Curriculum Task Force originally submitted by Ernie Behringer, 2007-2008 CPUE Chair. CPUE sees the immediate need for AAPT-supported assessment tools, program goals and objectives, and learning outcomes. Legislators, the public, parents, college students and accrediting bodies are asking colleges to provide evidence of student learning. Department Chairs are looking to AAPT for help in the area of assessment, goals and objectives, and learning outcomes.
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Last updated 05/5/2011