Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Directors of Graduate Education Discussion

Last week I attended a discussion with Directors of Graduate Education from several universities, including: Yale, Cornell, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, and University 0f Virginia. The discussion was moderated by David Campbell, Chair of the APS/AAPT Graduate Educatin in Physics Task Force. I was invited as a representative of the AAPT Committee on Graduate Education. The idea for the Task Force on Graduate Education started with that committee.

APS/AAPT will hold a similar discussion at the APS April meeting in Dallas and are planning a meeting for physics department chairpersons in early June. The purpose of these meetings to do decide how to respond to the recommendations of the Task Force.

Although about 3,000 people start graduate programs in physics each year, only 1,000 complete the program each year. That seems like a very high attrition rate. The full Task Force report can be found on the AIP web site: http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/reports/Doceducation.pdf

I was pleased to hear that several institutions do offer an intensive writing course for graduate students. I took the opportunity to suggest that they include a librarian in the planning.

I also commented that the information arena has become to complex and so interdisciplinary that it might be wise to enlist a librarian to give some instruction/demonstrations of resources.

I am planning a session at the AAPT meeting in Syracuse this summer on Physics Information Fluency. Three differenent techniques for introducing information fluency into physics curriculum will be presented.

AAPT Annual Meeting http://www.aapt.org/Events/SM2006/index.cfm