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Science Policy Resources August 6, 2015

Posted by admin in : History, Policy and Education (HPE) , add a comment

How Congress Works

How Congress Works: Tying It All Together: Learn about the Legislative Process
Source: OpenCongress.org

How Congress Works
Source: The Center on Congress at Indiana University

Overview of the Authorization-Appropriations Process
Source: Congressional Research Service

Authorization and Appropriation
Source: Paul Jenks, LLRX.com

AAAS Center for Science, Technology and Congress
Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science

Committees in the House and Senate Relevant to Science

House Committee on Science and Technology
House Committee on Energy and Commerce
House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science
House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness
Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmospheres, Fisheries and Coast Guard
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development

The Federal Science Budget

Introduction to the Federal Budget Process
Source: Center for Budget and Policy Priorities

Budget 101 – A guide to the federal budget-making process
Source: The Washingtonpost.com

AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program
Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science

Podcast on Science Funding
Professor Mike Lubell, Chair and Professor, Department of Physics
City College of the City University of New York
Director of Public Affairs
American Physical Society
Washington, DC
Source: Science Friday with Ira Flatow, January 12, 2007

How to Impact the Policy Process

Communicating with Congress
Source: American Institute of Physics

Congressional Visits Day
Source: Science-Engineering-Technology Working Group

Nonprofits and Lobbying: Yes, They Can!
Source: American Bar Association

NAFEO Advocacy Handbook
Source:National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO)

Physicists and Lobbying
Source: American Physical Society

Scientists Must Learn to Lobby
Source: THE SCIENTIST @ 1(12):9, 4 May 1987

Participate in a DC Fellowship Program

AAAS Congressional Fellowship
American Institute of Physics State Department Science Fellowship
American Institute of Physics Congressional Science Fellowship
American Physical Society Congressional Science Fellowship
American Geophysical Union Congressional Science Fellowship
Optical Society of America Congressional Science Fellowships
Jefferson Science Fellowship

The States, Research and Higher Education

State Science and Technology Policy Advice: Issues, Opportunities, and Challenges: Summary of a National Convocation
Source: National Academies Press

State Policy Issues for Higher Education
Source: American Association of State Colleges and Universities

Grapevine project- An annual compilation of data on state tax support for higher education
Source: Illinois State University

The NCHEMS Information Center for State Higher Education Policymaking and Analysis (The Information Center)
Source: The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems


American Association of Physicists in Medicine – Government Affairs
American Association of Physics Teachers – Public Policy
American Astronomical Association – Public Policy – Bringing policy issues to astronomers
American Geophysical Union – Science Policy
American Institute of Physics – Public Policy Center
American Physical Society – Policy and Advocacy
Association of American Universities – Policy Issues
Materials Research Society – Policy/Advocacy
National Society of Black Physicists – Policy
Optical Society of America – Public Policy
SPIE – Public Policy News
NAFEO Advocacy

What does Physics First mean to you? April 29, 2012

Posted by admin in : History, Policy and Education (HPE) , add a comment

Did you know that in today’s economy, where millions cannot find a job, there are hundreds of thousands of jobs for which employers cannot find qualified U.S. born workers?

What does physics education have to do with putting your child in position to be among those who can qualify for the jobs of tomorrow in advanced manufacturing and traditional STEM fields?

• Physics is a gateway course for post-secondary study in science, medicine, and engineering, as well as an essential component in the formation of students’ scientific literacy.
• Physics classes hone thinking skills.
• An understanding of physics leads to a better understanding of other science disciplines. Physics classes help polish the skills needed to score well on the SAT and ACT.
• College recruiters recognize the value of taking high school physics.
• College success for virtually all science, computing, engineering, and premedical majors depends in part on passing physics.
• The job market for people with skills in physics is strong.
• Knowledge of physics is helpful for understanding the arts, politics, history, and culture.
Ref: Ten Reasons Why No Student Should Go Through High School Without Taking Physics

Currently only 25% of Black and Hispanic high school students take any course in physics. Thus many do not even get to the gateway. The availability of physics as a course for high school students is not equitably distributed throughout the U.S. While some schools provide physics for all who wish to take it, a more common scenario, particularly for urban schools, is limited availability. The existence of policies that restrict science opportunities for secondary students results in diminished outcomes in terms of scientific proficiency, and lack of diversity in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics professions.

Reforming the system and Physics First
In most high schools the science course sequence is chemistry first, biology second and physics last. This sequence was born many decades ago before people knew a lot of the fundamental scientific principles of chemistry and biology (Shepard and Robbins, 2003). We now understand that physics is at the foundational roots of all that we know and can learn about the other sciences. So it makes sense to first learn the fundamental concepts of physics before proceeding to learn chemistry, biology and Earth sciences. This is called logical development of scientific cognition, and it is imperative that in the 21st century that our education system catches up to this idea.

Physics First is the educational strategy that sequences high school science courses beginning with physics in the 9th or 10th grade, chemistry in 10th or 11th grade, culminating with biology and earth science in the 12th; while developing proficiency in mathematics and computing in lock-step over the entire 4 years. Schools that have adopted Physics First have shown much higher student appreciation for science, more science course taking in subsequent grades, and higher test scores. But also, when a school commits to Physics First, in many cases they are reforming the system from “physics not at all”. And that reform of providing a formal opportunity to learn physics allows students to pass through an important gateway to higher achievement and prosperity.

A first course in physics need not be overly saddled with advanced mathematics. The emphasis should be focused on conceptual understanding rather than mathematical manipulation. In fact conceptual understanding of physics need not wait until high school. Even middle school students can profit from a conceptual physics course. Conceptual understanding of physics taps into students’ natural curiosities of how and why the world the world works around them. That conceptual understanding, not its mathematical expression, is what will improve performance in later courses in other disciplines. As mathematical maturity is further developed, students can revisit the advanced mathematical expression of physics.

Richard Hake has suggested that Physics First could be the opening battle in the war on science/math illiteracy  as envisaged by the AAAS ‘Project 2061.  This is because a widespread first physics course for ALL ninth graders might (a)
help to overcome some systemic roadblocks to science/math literacy of the general population – most importantly the severe dearth of effective pre-college science/math teachers, (b) enhance the numbers of physics major and graduate students, through programs designed to provide a large corps of teachers capable of EFFECTIVELY teaching physics to vast numbers of students in the Physics First schools: ninth-graders plus those taking high school honors and AP physics courses.

What can you do?
Every child deserves the opportunity to learn physics. This is a message you must make to your teachers, principals, and district administrators. Physics First works out very well for high school students and should be vigorously supported as an important opening battle in the full scale war on science/math illiteracy.  But learning physics does not have to wait until high school. With the availability of all kinds of smart phone apps, even middle grade students can do experiments in motion, sound and light, which are bedrock principles in physics. And in the primary grades, learning physics comes when teachers tap into young kids’ natural curiosity about how and why things work. The key to developing kids of today for jobs of the future is to foster curiosity, encourage discovery, and provide opportunities to learn concepts and principles.

Inclusiveness in Physics Education January 7, 2010

Posted by Acoustics (ACOU) Section Chair in : Acoustics (ACOU) , add a comment

As the national demographics project a shift towards a majority minority US population, a 7% minority representation in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) population may be viewed as an indicator of a systemic failure. While gender-equity trends are very encouraging, those for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans remain stagnant.

As a member society of the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the challenges facing the acoustics community reflect those in other fields of physics. Throughout physics, as promising intellectual talent is lost to higher-compensating professions, extra emphasis should be placed on effectively nurturing those inspired by positive role models to mitigate this pipeline leakage.

Therefore, in an effort to advance the discussions from diversity to inclusion in the science of sound and noise, the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) committees on education in acoustics and diversity in acoustics:


are co-sponsoring a special session on diversity issues in acoustics education to be held at the joint ASA/Noise-Con meeting in Baltimore, Maryland:


This special session will be held at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront (conference room Dover C) from 8:40am on Thursday April 22nd, 2010, with invited speakers intended to expose a wide range of viewpoints followed by a panel discussion to identify efforts that the AIP, and all its member and affiliated societies, should take to foster a culture of inclusiveness among their students and professional members.

The list of invited speakers include Dr. Catherine O’Riodan, Vice President of the AIP Physics Resources Center, to describe existing AIP programs to work with students and to reach the general public. Dr. Rachel Ivie, Assistant Director at the AIP Statistical Research Center, will reveal the latest statistics and trends on academic degrees and employment in acoustics. These figures will be compared against those in other scientific and engineering fields.

In a research study with the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) and the National Society of Hispanic Physicists (NSHP), University of Maryland psychology Professor Sharon Fries-Britt examined the perception of the interactions of underrepresented STEM students with faculty. The findings of this study indicate that their interactions with faculty in the classroom and in advising sessions are critical. When those interactions are positive, students benefit tremendously. However, in many instances, they are negative and the interactions can cause barriers to their engagement in the learning process and in how they feel about pursuing science.  Several examples will be shown of unhelpful comments and attitudes that have been experienced and that inadvertently discourage students from pursuing higher academic degrees. An awareness of sensitivities is essential in increasing their retention rate.

Dr. Theodore Hodapp, American Physical Society (APS) Director of Education and Diversity will describe a new program that aims to significantly increase the number of underrepresented members receiving doctorate degrees in physics. He will also share ideas for potential partnerships and efforts that we can take within our communities, universities and workplace.

Prof. David Bradley will describe joint efforts by the Vassar College Physics and Astronomy Department and the Bronx Institute at Lehman College to establish a hands-on, inquiry-based acoustics workshop series for urban, low-income, ethnic minority students from New York City public high schools. Since today’s iPod generation is strongly attracted to music, acoustics represents an attractive gateway into the world of physics. Therefore, the described partnership exemplifies solutions that promise to fill the physics pipeline with increasing number of qualified underrepresented students.

Dr. Daryl Chubin, Director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Center for Advancing Science & Engineering Capacity, will focus on the legal climate for increasing participation of underrepresented groups in physics education and profession. An understanding of the legal climate is paramount to the development of effective and legally sustainable diversity and inclusion programs.

Howard Ross is one of the nation’s leading diversity training consultants and a nationally recognized expert on diversity, leadership and organizational change. Howard is past chairman of Leadership Washington and a former director of the Greater Washington Board of Trade. He also was the 2007-2008 Visiting Professor of Diversity for Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, North Carolina. In an effort to find strategies to improve the way organizations are addressing diversity, he conducted extensive research that lead to the need for three major paradigm shifts in diversity efforts:


“These include a movement from the classic United States-based approach which focuses too heavily on race and gender and an assimilation model of diversity, to one that incorporates a deep understanding of Globalism and the impact of major changes in population demographics around the world, global business, and interactive communication and networking. A shift from the “good person/bad person paradigm” of diversity which has developed and permeated a corrective mindset about diversity; a “find them and fix them” approach which escalates the “us vs. them” way that people approach the issue and makes it more, rather than less difficult to address. We have to move away from the event-based way we have approached diversity, a pattern that has given us many specific activities, but not enough emphasis on systems thinking and culture-based change, to one that is strategic, systemic, and culture-based.

The wide range of perspectives in this special session promise to feed into a lively panel discussion that harnesses the information shared by these invited speakers into solid inclusion programs for implementation by the ASA and other AIP member and affiliated societies. An open invitation is extended to attend and become part of the conversation and to the solution to this national challenge.