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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Physics and Astronomy
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Committee on Undergraduate Physics Education Research and Implementation


Adapting to a Changing World—Challenges and Opportunities in Undergraduate Physics Education

Released in 2013

Adapting to a Changing World was commissioned by the National Science Foundation to examine the present status of undergraduate physics education, including the state of physics education research, and, most importantly, to develop a series of recommendations for improving physics education that draws from the knowledge we have about learning and effective teaching. Our committee has endeavored to do so, with great interest and more than a little passion.

The Committee on Undergraduate Physics Education Research and Implementation was established in 2010 by the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Research Council. This report summarizes the committee's response to its statement of task, which requires the committee to produce a report that identifies the goals and challenges facing undergraduate physics education and identifies how best practices for undergraduate physics education can be implemented on a widespread and sustained basis, assess the status of physics education research (PER) and discuss how PER can assist in accomplishing the goal of improving undergraduate physics education best practices and education policy.

Committee Members and NRC Staff

Donald N. Langenberg, Chair, University of Maryland
Suzanne Brahmia, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Jerry P. Gollub, Haverford College
David Hammer, Center for Engineering Education and Outreach, Tufts University
Charles Henderson, Western Michigan University
Paula Heron, University of Washington
Theodore Hodapp, American Physical Society
Michael P. Marder, University of Texas
Jose P. Mestre, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Mary Beth Monroe, Southwest Texas Junior College
Valerie Otero, University of Colorado at Boulder
David E. Pritchard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
James Schafer, Montgomery Blair High School, Montgomery County Public Schools
Jack M. Wilson, The University of Massachusetts
Hung-Hsi Wu, University of California Berkeley
Dean Zollman, Kansas State University

NRC Staff
James Lancaster, Director
Donald C. Shapero, Seinor Scholar
Caryn Knutsen, Associate Program Officer
Teri G. Thorowgood, Administrative Coordinator 


The project is pleased to acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation.