Committee on Education Priorities

Approved by the APS Committee on Education on November 17, 2023.

The APS Committee on Education (COE) supports the APS strategic plan by promoting and supporting the education of physics students at all levels from within the physics community and also outside the physics community. The COE priorities are:

  1. To enhance the quality of physics education and increase the number of individuals learning physics at all levels, from K-12 to postgraduate.

    We accomplish this by:
    1. supporting efforts to increase the number of K-12 physics/physical science teachers;
    2. engaging with and advising on physics education and physics teacher education efforts at the international, national, state, and local levels;
    3. promoting high-quality, evidence-based, level-appropriate content training and pedagogy for all physics and physical science educators;
    4. promoting innovations in physics education, including technology-assisted and online/remote education techniques;
    5. promoting access to cutting-edge physics content;
    6. promoting meaningful metrics for evaluating student learning and educator effectiveness; and
    7. advocating for professional development and career awareness within physics programs at all educational levels.
  2. To support schools and departments in recruiting and retaining students from groups that are underrepresented in physics, with the goal of increasing their representation at all levels in physics and physics-related fields.

    We accomplish this by:
    1. promoting awareness of contributions by individuals from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in physics, including within physics and physical science courses;
    2. promoting evidence-based pedagogical techniques that promote recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented populations; and
    3. promoting strategies that mitigate or remove academic, cultural, and financial barriers faced by students from underrepresented populations.
  3. To promote the intentional mentoring of physicists as part of their education and professional development, with the goal of supporting, developing, and retaining physicists, broadly defined.

    We accomplish this by:
    1. advocating for structures to provide high quality mentoring at all stages of physics education and careers;
    2. promoting mentoring communities that provide affirmation and educational/professional support for individuals from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in physics; and
    3. supporting mentors with strategies for effective mentoring and templates for important conversations with their mentees.
  4. To promote the value of physics education and careers to the public and the government, with the goal of building and maintaining the human capital and financial resources necessary for building a vibrant physics community.

    We accomplish this by:
    1. encouraging physics outreach to the general public and government officials;
    2. promoting the value of a physics degree to students, families, educators, guidance counselors, and employers; and
    3. advocating for increased educational funding at all levels to support research opportunities, scholarships, and conferences.