OPTYCs SPOTLIGHT 2023 Issue 11

June 29, 2023 Issue #11

SPOTLIGHT is the OPTYCs bi-weekly newsletter. It brings you OPTYCs activity updates, highlights from recent publications related to physics education, and news & resources for Two-Year colleges.


Upcoming events

Saturday, July 15, 2023
Sacramento, CA
AAPT National Summer Meeting

Kris’ corner

Tips, summaries, and musings from Kris Lui (OPTYCs Director)

Happy Birthday to OPTYCs!

It’s hard to believe a whole year has already passed! We’ve offered more than 20 events (workshops and discussions), both in-person and virtual. The New Faculty Development Series has begun with 19 enthusiastic participants and 4 alumni leaders. We have 170+ folks registered on our website. We have a Mentoring-Networking program to help you connect with others who share your interests. We’re about to launch the TYC Tandem Meeting, held in conjunction with the AAPT national summer meeting in Sacramento, CA; I hope to see you there!

We have many exciting workshops, discussions, and longer-term programs planned for the coming year! Much gratitude to the whole team for your tireless efforts, great ideas, and commitment to the TYC physics & astronomy community!

  • Glenda Denicolo (Suffolk County CC, NY)
  • Dwain Desbien (Estrella Mountain CC, AZ)
  • Karim Diff (Santa Fe College, FL)
  • Anthony Escuadro (Harold Washington CC, IL)
  • Brooke Haag (Pathstream, CA)
  • Joe Heafner (retired from Catawba Valley CC, NC)
  • Bob Hilborn (AAPT)
  • Renee Lathrop (Dutchess County CC, NY)
  • David Marasco (Foothill College, CA)
  • Tom O’Kuma (retired from Lee College, TX)
  • Sherry Savrda (AAPT, OPTYCs; retired from Seminole College, FL)
  • Krista Wood (U Cincinnati - Blue Ash, OH)

Also, much thanks goes to our project evaluators, Stephanie Chasteen and Miranda Chen Musgrove, who have helped us refine the questions to ask so as to continuously improve. And finally, I cannot thank YOU, dear Reader, enough! Remember - YOU are OPTYCs - we need your support, your ideas, and your leadership to grow our community and to keep it strong! 

Here’s to many more trips around the sun! Cheers!


Awareness of Open Educational Resources

Two-year institutions display a greater awareness of OER than four-year ones.

Awareness of open educational resources is growing among US-based higher-education instructors and exceeded 50% in spring 2022. Awareness was highest in the humanities (73%) and lowest in engineering (46%). In the natural sciences, it was 62%. It was also notably higher in two-year institutions (71%) than four-year ones (54%). Data are from annual surveys conducted by Bay View Analytics and averaging 3000 instructors.

Source article: Free textbooks and other open educational resources gain popularity Physics Today 76 (7), 18–21 (2023);

Books & Articles




From the publisher's description: "How Education Works articulates how practitioners in education can usefully understand technology, education, and their relationship to improve teaching practice."

To Bolster Undergraduate Enrollment, Some Colleges Are Emphasizing Engineering Physics Degrees: Beloit College in Wisconsin and the University of Maine model different approaches to engineering physics.

Opinion | Think Physics, Think Man: Barriers to Women’s Participation in Physics Education Eliot Jane Walton is a PhD candidate at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). She works as part of the LHCb Experiment. She is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and advocates for gender and sexual minorities in physics. 

Only 1% of Physics PhDs awarded to US citizens were to Black students in 2019 (according to the American Institute of Physics). In celebration of Juneteenth, Astro[sound]bites invited the Black In Astro team to chat about their mission to support and highlight Black people in space science-related fields.



The work of OPTYCs is supported by NSF-DUE-2212807.