Wisconsin Section, American Association of Physics Teachers

Minutes of the Annual Business Meeting

October 29, 2005, at Luther College, Decorah, IA (Tri-Regional Meeting)


After wandering through the beautifully scenic fall campus from Valders Hall of Science to the Centennial Union Cafeteria, a “revolt” took place!  After buying our lunches, we found out that it was illegal for us to carry our trays up to the Nobel Room for our lunch meeting.  After getting the OK from Todd Pedlar, Chair of the Physics Department at Luther College and a very nice lunch-lady named Millie, we bolted through the “security” and up the stairs.  The meeting/lunch room had sky-box-like viewing window of the Luther College home football game!  (Luther beat Loras College 22-19.)  While munching on our meal on our “stolen” trays, we began addressing the following agenda items...

Meeting Start Time:  12:30 pm (right on time!).  Past Past President (and soon to be elected President) Matt Evans, presiding (the President, Mark Lattery, was unexpectedly called away, the Past President, Gubbi Sudhakaran, was quiet as we all looked to Matt to take the reins).  And away we went!

1.  Minutes of the last meeting (October 30th, 2004) – Erik Hendrickson

                Motion to accept the minutes as distributed was made by Theo Koupelis, seconded by Jim Madsen.  Motion passed unanimously by a voice vote.

2.  Treasurer’s Report for 2004-5 – 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 of $4000.00 earned $72.34 last year.  Expenses were described briefly.

                B.  Motion to accept the printed treasurer’s report as distributed made by Nathan Miller, seconded by Roy Knispel.  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.  There’s a “rumor” going around that the AAPT is going to move to hosting just one Meeting per year, instead of the current practice of hosting two, starting in 2009.  Jim mentioned that the rumor of this death may be highly exaggerated, but we should keep our eyes open and offer up opinions on this topic, if it comes to such a discussion.

                B.  Erik Peterson, President of the Illinois section of AAPT suggested that WAPT join forces with them for a joint two-state meeting in 2007.  For more discussion on this, see the Future Meeting Sites section below.

                C.  A call for participation:  There are still openings on many different national committees (see handout for entire list).  Please contact Jim if you are interested in serving.  He will provide you with a Nomination and Volunteer Form and nominate you, if you wish, or you could self-nominate.  More info on the different committees can also be found on the AAPT website and in the Announcer.  You can also contact the chair of the national nominating committee to get you name of the list.

                D.  Do you have ideas for our Section Representative?  Please let Jim know.

                E.  Report was accepted as distributed with no 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.  The high school photo contest is getting better and better all of the time!  The critics are especially impressed with the improvement of the physics explanations that go along with the photos.

                B.  She encouraged everyone eligible to apply for the Innovative Teacher Grants.  It seems that there are not that many people who apply, so your chances of getting a well-written and well-conceived grant application approved are very high.

                C.  The “Physics First” movement is still being hotly debated at the national meetings.  How does it fit in with middle school physical science?  How does it fit in with the testing schedule of NCLB?  Can you do “real” physics at the 9th-grade level?  What is the definition of “real” physics?  She will keep us updated on this interesting topic.

                D.  Remember to VOTE for the AAPT officer positions.  Your ballots are due very soon.  See your recent mailings.  She offered some opinions on one candidate (and no money exchanged hands!), please chat with her if you’d like to hear more.

                E.  Report was accepted as distributed with no objection. 

5.  Two-Year College Representative’s Report – Theo Koupelis

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

                A.  There are many issues for 2-year colleges described in the full report, but Theo encourages everyone to learn more about the wide variety of workshops and projects and issues that are available and of interest to all levels of physics teachers.

                B.  Theo highlighted the SPIN-UP report that is now available online (http://www.aapt.org/projects/ntfup/).

                C.  Report was accepted as distributed with no objection. 

6.  Committee Reports

                a)  Awards Committee – Paul Nevin did not attend, so Nathan Miller co-reported with Matt Evans

There were no nominations for awards this year.  This was partly due to the fact that it might have been a little awkward to announce awards at a tri-state meeting for only one of the three states involved.  So, there was no real advertising from the Awards Committee this year.  They promise to do much more this coming year.

If you think there’s someone deserving out there, make sure to share this with Mark Lattery, who will be the Chair of the Awards Committee next year (one of the duties of being Past President).

                b)  Publications Committee – Earl Blodgett and Joe Zoller were not present

Joe Zoller e-mailed a “report” for Erik to give for him, but the lack of time prevented a full disclosure of the info.  Here it is in written form for all to see:

“Please excuse my absence during the business meeting on Saturday.  I really wanted to come to the conference this year, but it was just too far for me to travel with my health being what it is.  I'll miss the camaraderie, but I'll particularly miss participating in the business meeting.  I always enjoy helping to make the decisions to keep WAPT moving forward.

I'd appreciate it if you could pass along my report to everyone:

As far as my end of the publications committee goes, the wapt-d online discussion forum is moving along slowly (please check this out on the WAPT website).  We have 15 members in the group, and the discussions are few and far between.  I, of course, was hoping that the group would blossom into a very lively discussion forum, but I also understand that the merits and benefits of this type of online activity may not be well understood.  What the group needs is a "hot topic."  If we can get a good discourse going, then it might be time to distribute another announcement to wapt-l to solicit for new wapt-d members.  In any case, since this service is entirely free, there's no harm in my maintaining it.

On a related note, the wapt.org domain is still active and will be until January 27, 2011.  The service only includes URL and email redirection.  The wapt.org site is being hosted on a server at UW- Marathon and is overseen by Theo.

Thanks, and tell everyone I'm looking forward to seeing them next year!”

We, of course, wish Joe all the best and look forward to seeing him again very soon.

                c)  Workshops Committee – Matt Evans

The workshops went very well this year!  All three were well-attended.  Although Matt was unable to actually make the “make-and-take” item from one of the workshops, Judy assured the members present that she was able to make hers with no problems whatsoever.

Matt asked for all of us to think about new workshops for the future.  He even called AAPT to see if they had some suggestions, but they have not got back to him, yet.

Another issue that came up was this:  How can we give professional development “credit” to high school teachers who participate in out WAPT workshops?  Would DPI allow this?  Roger Hanke from Northcentral Technical College mentioned that SPASH already allows their students to use the WAPT workshops to count as one of the four “sessions” needed to earn one credit.  This may be a ”model” to build upon. 

7.  Old Business

                Erik Hendrickson brought up the issue of what to do with the “surplus” of money in the WAPT treasury.  He conducted a poll on the web of the membership.  Approximately 30 votes were received.  The options were:  do nothing, lower the meeting fees for everyone, lower the meeting fees for students and/or high school teachers and/or 2-year instructors, award a scholarship, and award a “best WAPT presentation” award.  The number one vote-getter was to lower the cost of meeting fees for specific groups.  The groups that were identified in the “comments” section were students and high school teachers.  Coming in next was a virtual tie for giving a scholarship and giving a “best presentation” award.

                Thus, the motion that Erik brought before the group on this day had three parts:

1)  In future years, tier the meeting registration fees (4-yr/2-yr teachers pay more and students/high school teachers pay less).

2)  Slowly increase our base funds in two ways:  with these higher annual fees and by looking for external grants or corporate support.

3)  Award $100 to the “best” presentation each year (details on how we will “vote” for this to be determined later) and award a $500 tuition scholarship to a physics education major (details on how we will solicit applications and determine a winner to be determined later).

Discussion ensued.  This is a lot of responsibility and it will take a lot of hard work and much time.  A cautionary word:  students switch majors.  Make the award for student teachers?  Who is going to go looking for a corporate source?  This will become a big need in the future, once we are giving these out each year.  Maybe that will spur us on.  The scholarship could be a great source of positive publicity for WAPT.  Should there be one scholarship for a high school student and one for a college student?  Although it is very difficult to compare these two groups of students side-by-side.  Is the goal to help create more physics educators in Wisconsin?  We were reminded that WAPT members have suggested in the past that we may need a grant-writing committee to help us look for such funds.  What about waiving the registration fees for all first-time WAPT attendees and also providing the first 10 first-timers with a $50 award to help with the costs of attending the meeting?  If the goal is to help as many physics educators as possible, this would cast a wider net.  Well, it was pointed out that we needed to get the conversation moving along, since there were still a lot of items on the agenda and we needed to be done in time for our second plenary lecture.

Thus, the motion that actually passed by a wide margin with a raised-hand vote was:

1)  In future years, tier the meeting registration fees (4-yr/2-yr teachers pay more; students/high school teachers pay less; first-time attendees pay nothing; students who are presenting pay nothing).

2)  Slowly increase our base funds in two ways:  look for external grants or corporate support and slowly raise the meeting fees (but keep the tiers, as mentioned above).

3)  Award up to ten $50 mini-grants to the first ten people who register who are first-time attendees.

We can assess how well these new awards are helping WAPT in our efforts to promote high quality physics education in Wisconsin at future meetings.  This will determine if we want to continue down this path or take another.

As far as the “best presentation” award goes, since no one mentioned it during our discussion, Erik removed it from the motion.  Maybe we should just try one new thing at a time.  I’m sure this idea will surface again in future years.

 8.  Future Meeting Sites

                2006:  UW – Marathon County, October 27 & 28

Thanks Theo!!!  You’ve always offered to help us out if no one else steps up.  It looks like your turn has come.  Thanks for being there for us!!

Gary Baier was going to head back to Green Bay and check with his colleagues, since it is possible that one of the high schools in Green Bay might be able to host it.  The main problem here is Packer home games (absolutely no hotel rooms available on these weekends).

2007 and 2008:  It could be a joint Illinois/Wisconsin meeting, but most people thought that it might be a little too early to do another joint meeting.  We asked Jim Mallmann to chat with Erik Peterson about shooting for 2008.  I see from the previous minutes that at last year’s meeting, Jim Mallmann suggested that MSOE could host in 2007 or 2008.  Maybe we could get the Illinois crowd to come to Milwaukee?  We still need a host for 2007.  Gary and Green Bay?  If there is a volunteer, let Matt or Erik know ASAP.

                2009:  Still need a volunteer.

                2010:  UW – River Falls, October 29 & 30

                2011 or 2012:  UW – Eau Claire

                                This would depend upon if WAPT wanted to have back-to-back meetings in a similar part of the state or not.

                Anyone else want to chime in as the host during some of the “open” years?

 9.  New Business

                None.  Of course, we were running out of time...

 10.  Elections

                Workshops Committee – High School Representative (3-year term):  Gary Baier

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

                Publications Committee – UW–River Falls Representative (1-year term):  Earl Blodgett

                                He was elected by a voice vote (even though he wasn’t present) after being nominated by Jim Madsen and seconded by Matt Evans.  Jim said he would inform Earl of this prestigious honor.

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

                                NOTE:  We incorrectly elected Rick Cole to the high school representative position (after he even self-nominated), but Paul Nevin was elected to a two-year term just last year.  So, Matt Evans nominated and Erik Hendrickson seconded Nathan Miller (he’s currently serving on this committee and he agreed to do another 2-year stint).  I guess we elected him by “executive power” (whatever that is in this group).

                Vice President, Program Chair, for 2006:  Theo Koupelis

                                He was elected by a voice vote (on the condition, don’t ask Matt to explain what this means, that UW-Marathon County is actually the host next year) after being nominated by Matt Evans and seconded by Bob Greenler.  A loud uproar fo clapping ensued!  Thank you, Theo!!

                President:  Matt Evans

                                He was elected by a voice vote (since he actively campaigned for it) after being nominated by Erik Hendrickson and seconded by Theo Koupelis.

                Secretary/Treasurer:  Erik Hendrickson

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

                High School Representative:  Judy Schmidt

                                She was elected by a voice vote (and she was actually present this year, so we didn’t do it behind her back this time around) after being nominated by Jim Madsen and seconded by Matt Evans.

                Two-Year College Representative:  Roger Hanke

                                He was elected by a voice vote after being nominated by Lauren Likkel and seconded by Matt Evans.

                Section Representative:  Jim Mallmann

                                This is actually the correct year to elect him.  He was elected by a voice vote after being nominated by Jim Madsen and seconded by Bob Greenler.

 11.  Closing Remarks & Adjournment

                The following motion was made by Jim Madsen and seconded by Theo Koupelis:

A big THANK YOU to

Todd Pedlar and Jim Perez and Matt Evans and ????

for an absolutely


The motion unanimously passed, as I could attest from the thunderously loud banging of all of the “stolen” lunch trays (that we immediately brought back to the cafeteria)!

                 The following motion was made by Roy Knispel and seconded by Erik Hendrickson:

A big “Thank You!” to Matt Evans for running such an efficient Business Meeting!

This motion unanimously passed, as well.

 !!!See everyone in Wausau next year!!!

The meeting ended at 1:21 pm (Wow!  This was in record time!  Judy noted that Matt was able to fly through the latter half of the agenda in just a few minutes.  He better be careful or he’ll get elected President for life!!  Then we sprinted over to the Center for Faith and Life Recital Room for Chris Chiaverina’s talk).

 Respectfully submitted,

                 Erik Hendrickson



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