Expectations of APS Committee Members

Education, Women, and Minorities

The American Physical Society runs on the good will and hard efforts of literally thousands of volunteers. The Society would not be as strong or influential in the physics community without our many dedicated members. Volunteer activities range from journal reviewers, and officers in the various units, to paper sorters and committee members. We also understand that everyone is busy and has limited time to devote to issues and efforts raised in APS committees. APS committees have a dual role in contributing to the health of the discipline. They provide advice to the organization on priorities and directions that are critical. They also take on specific tasks to advance those priorities.

In order to give potential APS committee members a sense of what is expected so that they can make a decision of whether they can commit the appropriate amount of time to join such a committee, we offer the following general guidelines that characterize the time and effort expected of committee members.

  • Attend two face-to-face meetings. The committee meets face-to-face twice each year, typically once in the spring and once in the fall. At least one of these meetings is held in College Park, MD at APS headquarters. Face-to-face meetings may fall on either weekdays or weekends. Our preference is to hold them on weekdays, but you may be asked to come on a weekend when schedules are particularly difficult to arrange. Willingness to serve on this committee indicates you can typically arrange your schedule to attend both face-to-face meetings (barring family or medical emergencies) each year you serve on the committee. Travel expenses are paid by APS.
  • Participate in teleconferences. We hold several teleconferences in between meetings. These typically last 90-minutes, and allow committee or sub-committee members to deal with current issues or update the committee on progress on initiatives.
  • Be observant of physics in the media. Committee members are strongly encouraged to alert APS staff to issues that appear in the media that might impact physicists or those studying the discipline. APS often responds to such issues through statements or informed responses, and timely identification of occurrences allows more relevant action by the Society.
  • Take on a task or tasks. Each committee member is expected to take on an activity outside of the committee meetings. Frequently these are multi-year activities and can extend beyond the time served on the committee. Examples of efforts from recent committee members include:
    • Writing a best-practices document for publication on the APS website
    • Reviewing an existing program
    • Setting up a new pilot effort
    • Chairing the committee (setting agendas, tracking activity throughout the year), a subcommittee, or a working group
    • Carrying out a study or survey and writing an analysis of the effort
    • Writing or co-writing a grant proposal for an APS led effort
    • Serving as PI or co-PI on such a project
  • Be an APS member. APS committees need to respond to the concerns raised by the membership. In order to effectively represent the membership and give advice to staff and the Council, we ask that all committee members be members of the APS in good standing.