Wisconsin Section, American Association of Physics Teachers

Minutes of the Annual Business Meeting - PDF version

October 11, 2008, at Chippewa Falls High School, Chippewa Falls, WI


Due mostly to technical difficulties during the talks, lunch was delivered on time, but we had to patiently wait for the talks to finish while knowing that our lunch boxes were in the back of the room.  Stomachs were growling.  Then we distributed the lunch boxes and chatted for a while…


Meeting Start Time:  12:50 pm (a little late!).  President Melissa Vigil presiding.  Her first order of business was to thank Paul Nevins for a job well-done in bringing WAPT back to a high school for the first time in a long time.  These thanks go to all o the people working behind the scenes, too, especially since Paul’s surgery kept him out of commission for a while this Fall.

1.  Minutes of the last meeting (October 27th, 2007) – Erik Hendrickson

            Motion to accept the minutes as corrected (Erik mistakenly gave UW – Stevens Point a new building, when the new building actually belongs to UW – Platteville, under Section 8 – Future Meetings) was made by Jim Madsen, seconded by Matt Evans.  Motion passed unanimously by a voice vote.

2.  Treasurer’s Report for 2007-8 – Erik Hendrickson

Please see the full text, including a nice graph, of Erik’s Report, but a few items were highlighted…

            A.  It was reported that our 1-yr CD earned $164.39 last year.  Expenses were described briefly.

            B.  We had many “first timers” once again this year, and the first 10 of them to register received up to $50 off of the cost of the meeting, plus travel reimbursement.  It was mentioned that this year when the CD is due, we will need to take out some of the funds to make sure we can cover these costs again next year.

            C.  Motion to accept the printed treasurer’s report as corrected (a typo was found regarding today’s date) made by David Tamres, seconded by Ken Mendelson.  The report was accepted with no objection.

3.  Section Representative’s Report – Jim Mallmann

Please see the full text of Jim’s Report, but he highlighted a few items…

            A.  Jim pointed out that at this coming summer’s meeting in Ann Arbor, Michigan, there will be an Advanced Laboratory Topical Conference.  We heard about this from one of our presenters at today’s meeting – Lowell McCann is one of the coordinators of this topical conference.  All are encouraged to submit proposals and ideas, and, of course, to attend!

            B.  David Cook is the new Vice President of AAPT.  He’s from Lawrence University, right here in Wisconsin.  He has some issues that he would like to bring to the forefront of AAPT conversations and conferences.  One of these is the concern that so much of our national meetings are centered on HOW we teach physics in our classrooms, and not on WHAT we teach in our classrooms.  He hopes to see more sessions at future national meetings focus on the latter.

            C.  Jim noted that the Winter AAPT Meeting is in Chicago this year (2/12-16) and that it is combined with AAAS.  Chicago is an excellent city and relatively close to home.  He encourages everyone to attend.

            D.  He reminded us that if anyone would like to serve on any of the national committees, he could nominate you.

            E.  Jim is glad that we plan our meetings so far in advance, since this makes it easy for national-level officers to plan to come to our local meetings.  This year, our meeting coincided with an officer meeting in Washington, DC, though, so no one could make it.  We look forward to having a visit next year.

            F.  The report was accepted without objection.

4.  High School Representative’s Report – Judy Schmidt

Please see the full text of Judy’s Report, but she highlighted a few items…

            A.  Judy noted that this will be her LAST HS Rep Report.

            B.  Teacher Preparation Committee.  Preparing our future high school physics teachers is a hot topic nationally.  What are we doing?  Gary will be meeting with DPI in 2 weeks.  He has a list of questions, but you could send him suggestions, as well.  Minnesota has published their Dept of Ed requirements on-line.  Here is the address for the Science requirements, for example:  https://webrh12.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/rules/?id=8710.4750.  Wisconsin has its 10 Teacher Standards (general):  http://dpi.wi.gov/tepdl/stand10.html.  Wisconsin has also published its content guidelines:  http://dpi.wi.gov/tepdl/iheguidelines.html.  The hard questions come up when it is time to discuss the teacher education requirements for certification or re-certification in the smaller rural school districts.  Gary will open up this discussion and report back to us.

            C.  Judy noted that this will be her LAST HS Rep Report.  She is extremely happy about this, as is her husband, but WAPT is saddened by the fact that this is her last report.  Whoever tries to follow in her footsteps (Gary:  hint, hint…) will have a tough act to follow.

            D.  The report was accepted without objection.

5.  Two-Year College Representative’s Report – Roger Hanke

Again, please see Roger’s full written report, what follows are his highlights…

            A.  This year marks the first year of full implementation of the new state-wide list of approved physics courses for associate degree programs in Wisconsin’s 2-year colleges.  For detailed descriptions of these courses, please see:  www.curriculumbank.org.  The next step is to re-evaluate the process that is used to get courses on this list, since some of the current courses just showed up on the list without any consultation.

            B.  Roger thinks other 2-year college physics instructors should be made aware of these changes and should join in the discussion, but there are just so many people who cannot make it to the meetings.  It was mentioned that attracting physics instructors of all types will be a topic soon to be discussed in the New Business section of today’s meeting.

            C.  The report was accepted without objection.

6.  Committee Reports

            a)  Awards Committee – Matt Evans

The only award that was given out this year was presented at last night’s banquet:

                                    Jim Madsen:  Service to and Excellence in the Teaching of Physics at the College Level

                        Thunderous applause for a marvelous job!!

If you think there’s someone deserving out there, make sure to share this with any member of the Awards Committee.

Several questions arose:  What about more high school awards?  Sure thing!  If you know of someone doing special things at the high school level, please nominate them.  For example, there are several “share” groups in the state (for example, one at SPASH and MAPS in Milwaukee), maybe these leaders need to be recognized.  It would be great to have them come to the meeting to accept their awards and give a presentation on what they are working on.  What about nominating someone who is not a WAPT member?  Sure thing!  Again, it would be great to have these excellent educators come to the meeting to accept their awards and give a presentation on what they are working on.

            b)  Publications Committee – Jim Madsen

A newsletter?  We only had 2 entries.  We need more submissions next year!  Jim promises to beat the bushes this year and he boldly states that there WILL BE a publication by next year’s meeting.

            c)  Workshops Committee – Melissa Vigil

There were a number of good workshops this year!  Hooray!!  The demo-sharing workshop had 10-12 people, which seemed to be the best-attended.  There were 6 workshops overall.

A concern was raised:  Sparse attendance in the workshops.  It seems that many people signed up but then they did not attend.  This is not good when there are limits on the number of participants due to materials issues.  Is this due to not charging anything?  We might need to change the registration process back to requiring that a fee to be charged for each workshop, even if it is just a small amount ($5 or $10) to hold your place.  Other ideas:  Hold workshops on Friday morning and/or Saturday afternoon that do not conflict with the oral presentations.

As you can see, the Workshops Committee will have lots to talk about this coming year!

            d)  Assessment Committee – Paul Nevins

The committee met and went through the State Standards for the 10th-grade content exam with a fine-toothed comb.  They were happy to see that the test matched up with the standards quite well.

What is the next project for the committee?  They are going to look at the overall content topics in the State Standards and see if they are appropriately aligned with the teacher licensing questions/procedures.  They will report on this project next year.

7.  Old Business

            a)  1st Timer Awards – Erik Hendrickson

Erik reported that this was the second year WAPT gave out “1st timer awards” to the first 10 people who registered for their first WAPT meeting ever.  For people who were driving to the meeting and needed lodging, the awards were $50.  For local attendees, the award covered the cost of the meeting (dues, lunch, etc.) and mileage costs.  Erik asked the assembled crew:  Should we continue to do this in the future?  The answer was a resounding YES!!  We saw many new faces again this year.  Make sure to keep advertising this.  Invite new people from your schools to attend and sign up for this perk!

A suggestion came from the group:  WAPT should go to WSST!  We should make sure there is a physics presence!!  The suggestion was that a group of us should go.  People asked if the Workshop Committee could put together a workshop for the meeting.  The next WSST meeting is March 5 – 7 at the Hilton City Center in Milwaukee.  If you do not know what WSST is, check out their website:  http://www.wsst.org/.

Another suggestion came from those assembled:  What about attracting college professors?  It was suggested that Erik (the Chair of the Physics & Astronomy Department at UWEC) should send a welcoming e-mail to the department chairs of each of the colleges/universities in the state next year.  He could also encourage graduate students to attend, as well (at least from those departments that have a graduate program).  One idea would be to try to offer a workshop on what is required to obtain a faculty position.

            b)  Website – Matt Evans

Asked for suggestions for changes/additions…

A contact list of faculty/instructors at all Wisconsin colleges/universities and high schools (Matt mentioned that the contact list of high school instructors will be incredibly difficult to put together).

A list of links to each college/university and high school in Wisconsin.

Matt said that he will work on this & report back next year.

            c)  Mini-Grant:  New Educator Workshop – Judy Schmidt

Judy commented that Matt did all of the paperwork (and still has some more to do!).  The workshop had room for 20 new educator participants, 11 people signed up, but only 7 came on day one and 7 on day two (there was an overlap of 4 people).  They gave out a new book (which they thought was a great resource for new teachers), they distributed Prentice Hall & Dark Matter materials.  All of these items were well-received and appreciated by the teachers.

A comment from the gallery:  What about bringing this type of workshop to WSST this Spring?  Judy and Gary and Matt said that they would check on the possibilities.

8.  Future Meeting Sites

2009:  UW – Whitewater, October 30th/31st.  Note:  Back to the last weekend of the month.  Stephen P. Maran (author of Astronomy for Dummies, Galileo's New Universe: The Revolution in Our Understanding of the Cosmos, and several others) has been invited to be our guest speaker on Friday evening.  The College is helping to pay to bring him in and his presentation will be open to the public and given in a campus auditorium.  It was noted that the department has three lab rooms set up with Pasco equipment and computers and LabVIEW, just in case people wanted to start thinking about possible workshops that could be created/run.  Please pass along your ideas to the Workshop Committee members.

2010:  UW – River Falls, October 29th/30th or October 10th/11th?  They will investigate the possibility of a joint meeting with Minnesota.  The idea would be to try to get lots of Minnesota HS teachers to come to show them how a good relationship with local colleges/universities can be a great source of useful and interesting interactions.  They are still exploring the question of which date would be better.

            2011:  UW – Stevens Point?  They would like to start their own 10-year cycle of hosting WAPT.

            2012:  UW – Platteville?  They will have a new building that they would like to show off!

            2013:  UW – Eau Claire (their turn in the approximate 10-year cycle)?

These last few sites could depend upon whether or not WAPT wanted to make sure that we did not have back-to-back meetings in a similar part of the state.  Anyone else want to chime in as the host during some of these years or future years?  Each potential “host” school should also discuss which set of dates they would like to have the meeting.  The northern high schools have teacher conventions during the end of the 2nd week of October, while the southern schools have their teacher conventions during the end of the last week of October.  It did seem like more high school teachers made it this year from the northern high schools.  Something to think about.

9.  New Business

A.  Inviting National Officers

We need to keep inviting the National Officers to our state meeting each year.  This year, it just happened that one of their business meetings in DC was on the same weekend as WAPT.  Someone suggested that they could possibly have their own “business meeting” while they attend WAPT, but it would probably be difficult to get all of them to come to Wisconsin.

B.  Improving Publicity & Participation

10.  Elections  (Otherwise known as the railroading portion of the meeting!)

            High School Representative (entering the 1st year of 2-year term):  Gary Baier

He was elected by a voice vote after being nominated by Matt Evans and seconded by Jim Madsen.  Gary wanted it noted that there was one “no” vote.

            Two-Year College Representative (entering the 1st year of 2-year term):  Roger Hanke

                        He was elected by a voice vote after being nominated by Matt Evans and seconded by Jim Madsen.

            Awards Committee – Past-President:  Melissa Vigil

                        She was elected by a voice vote after being nominated automatically as Past President.

            Awards Committee – College Representative (2-year term):  Nathan Miller

                        He was elected by a voice vote after being nominated by Matt Evans and seconded by Paul Nevins.

            Workshops Committee – President-Elect (1-year term):  Steven Sahyun

                        He was elected by decree, since UW - Whitewater is hosting next year’s meeting.

            Workshops Committee – High School Representative:  Nick Gagnon

                        He was elected by a voice vote after being nominated by Paul Nevins and seconded by Matt Evans.

            Workshops Committee – College Representative:  Brad Hinaus

He was elected by a voice vote after being nominated by Erik Hendrickson and seconded by Matt Evans.

            Publications/Promotions Committee – High School Representative:  Larry Stookey

He was elected by a voice vote after being nominated by Matt Evans and seconded by David Tamres (who also happened to be swatting a fly).

            Vice President, Program Chair, for 2009:  Steven Sahyun

He was elected by a voice vote after being nominated by Melissa Vigil and seconded by Jim Madsen.  A loud uproar if clapping ensued!  Thank you, Steven & UW – Whitewater!!  See you next year!

            President:  Paul Nevins

He was elected by a very loud voice vote after being nominated by Matt Evans and seconded by Erik Hendrickson.

Not needed for elections this year…

            Secretary/Treasurer (entering the 3rd year of 3-year term):  Erik Hendrickson

            Section Representative (entering the 3rd year of 3-year term):  Jim Mallmann

            Publications/Promotions Committee – College Representative (1 year remaining):  Ken Mendelson

            Publications/Promotions Committee – Chair (1 year remaining):  Jim Madsen

11.  Closing Remarks & Adjournment

            The following motion was made by Erik Hendrickson and seconded by Matt Evans:

A big THANK YOU to

Paul Nevins & Chippewa Falls High School

for an absolutely


The motion unanimously passed, as I could attest from the thunderously loud clapping of hands and pounding on the cafeteria tables!

The following motion was made by Matt Evans and seconded by Erik Hendrickson:

A big “Thank You!” to Melissa Vigil for running such an efficient Business Meeting!

This motion unanimously passed, as well.


!!!See everyone at UW- Whitewater next year!!!

And remember that the meeting is back to the end of October!


Matt (the ever cost-conscious WAPT member) collected name tags from everyone as they left the building.

The meeting ended at 2:27 pm (Whew!  That’s a long meeting!!).  Several of the remaining members were heading off to a “tour” of the Leinie’s Lodge…


Respectfully submitted,

            Erik Hendrickson



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