Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts
Disciplinary Societies & Education Associations
A PKAL Essay - The role of disciplinary societies in shaping today's leaders
Campus leaders can take advantage of the collective expertise within national disciplinary societies to inform local efforts to build strong disciplinary departments.
A report from the undergraduate physics community
- Robert Hilborn, Professor of Physics - Amherst College
Three national physics societies, with support from the ExxonMobil Foundation, collaborated in identifying how certain undergraduate physics departments are achieving success in increasing the numbers, persistence and success of students. The chair of the project (Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics: SPINUP), Robert Hilborn of Amherst College, reports on their findings: that what works is a challenging but supportive academic program, strong and sustained departmental leadership, with continuing experimentation and evaluation built into the process of curricular transformation.
National Task Force on Undergraduate Physics
The National Task Force on Undergraduate Physics undertook the SPIN-UP project to identify salient characteristics of strong undergraduate physics department. The Task Force found that thriving departments have many common characteristics: well-developed and challenging curricula, extensive advising and mentoring, significant opportunities of student-faculty interaction.
Building interdisciplinary connections - The roles of professional societies
- Jeanne L. Narum, Director - Project Kaleidoscope
National associations have clout; they have clout because faculty look to them for guidance and acceptance in their field; they legitimize the work faculty. Further, efforts of national associations– and here we must mention funding agencies– signal to the community (and beyond) what is valued.
Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics at Two-Year Colleges (SPIN-UP/TYC)
Building on the broader SPIN-UP effort, a taskforce of physicists from the two-year college community undertook a similar study, recognizing the importance of the relationship between two- and four-year physics programs in the national effort to attract more students as majors in the field.