NASULGC Leadership Collaborative Workshop at PhysTEC 09 Presenters

Eugenia Etkina, Rutgers University

Eugenia Etkina has an extensive teaching experience in physics and astronomy instruction at middle school, high school and university levels. She earned her Ph.D. in physics education from Moscow State Pedagogical University. She now is an associate professor of science education at Rutgers University. She taught middle school physics and mathematics, high school physics and astronomy and university physics courses. She is currently teaching pre- and in-service teachers how to teach physics and works collaboratively with the department of Physics and Astronomy to reform introductory physics courses. She developed an approach to teaching physics where students construct their understanding using processes similar to those used by scientists in real world research. She studies how students develop and transfer scientific abilities.

Theodore Hodapp, American Physical Society

Dr. Theodore Hodapp is the Director of Education and Diversity for the American Physical Society (APS) in College Park, Maryland. The American Physical Society is the largest professional society representing physicists in the United States, publishing the most significant international journals in physics, and facilitating programs to represent physicists and their interests. The APS Department of Education and Diversity ( runs programs that advocate issues relevant to minorities and women, and in areas of education and careers. Ted is also Principal Investigator of a large NSF and FIPSE-funded national effort, the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (, which seeks to improve the quality and quantity of physics and physical science K-12 teachers. Before coming to the APS, Dr. Hodapp served as Program Director in the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Education, working with programs in curriculum development and implementation, teacher preparation, scholarships, and the National Science Digital Library (he is currently co-PI on the ComPADRE digital library project,, that is collecting physics education materials throughout the country). Prior to coming to the NSF, Ted was professor and chair of the Hamline University Physics Department in St. Paul, Minnesota. He recently served as chair of the Physics and Astronomy Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research ( His research interests include laser cooling, optical modeling, and physics education research.

Laurie McNeil, University of North Carolina

Dr. Laurie McNeil is a Professor of Physics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and currently serves as Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.  She has previously served as Interim Chair of the Curriculum in Applied and Materials Sciences (now the Curriculum in Applied Sciences and Engineering) and as an Associate Chair in each of those academic units.  She earned AB (Chemistry and Physics) and AM (Physics) degrees from Harvard University, and MS and PhD degrees (Physics) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Before joining the faculty at UNC she did postdoctoral work at MIT.  Her research interests lie in experimental studies of the optical properties of semiconductors and insulators.  She has taken on leadership roles in the American Physical Society as Chair of the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics, a member of the Executive Committee of the Division of Condensed Matter Physics, and (currently) a member of the Physics Policy Committee and Vice-Chair of the Southeastern Section.  She is the PI of the PhysTEC grant at UNC and one of the founders of the UNC-BEST program for science teacher preparation.

Valerie K. Otero, University of Colorado at Boulder

Valerie Otero is an associate professor of science education at the University of Colorado, Boulder and principal investigator on university-wide projects including the CU-Teach initiative and the STEM Colorado Learning Assistant program. Her research spans from studies of teacher knowledge to studies of how students learn various concepts in physics and the nature of science. Valerie has published broadly from Science magazine to Science and Children magazine.  She is co-author of nationally recognized curricula in physics and physical science. Valerie and colleagues have brought in an excess of $12 million to fund efforts in discipline-based education research and science teacher preparation efforts at CU Boulder.

Steven J. Pollock, University of Colorado

Steven Pollock is an Associate Professor of Physics whose research is in physics education. His PER activities are focused on student learning in large-scale classes, and the constraints and opportunities of replicating "proven" curricular practices. He is actively involved in implementing and evaluating innovations in teaching physics, including the incorporation of undergraduate Learning Assistants (LAs) into the classroom. He is an active member of the Colorado STEM-Teacher Preparation program, and he was instrumental in the reform of the freshmen recitations, adopting Washington Tutorials and organizing and managing the undergraduate LA program in Physics. With colleague Noah Finkelstein, he helped develop a course "Teaching and Learning in Physics," for upper-division physics and education graduate students, post-docs, and high-school teachers. With Valerie Otero (co-presenter), he has helped develop faculty workshops on LA preparation. He is Co-PI on Colorado's Teacher Professional Continuum grant (LA-TEST), winner of a Boulder Faculty Assembly teaching award, a Colorado Presidential Teaching Scholar, and a Pew/Carnegie Teaching Scholar.