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Physics Education Research Conference 2014 Plenary Speakers

Michael Dubson, University of Colorado Boulder

Dr. Michael Dubson is a Senior Instructor in the Physics Department at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he is Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies and a member of the PER group. As a youngster, he was fortunate to have access to a first-rate affordable undergraduate education at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana (B.S. 1978).  This was followed by graduate work in condensed matter experiment at Cornell University (PhD 1984) under the wise tutelage of Don Holcomb.  For ten years he worked as a condensed matter experimentalist, first as a post-doc at The Ohio State University, then on the physics faculty of Michigan State University.  In 1995, he switched careers and joined the faculty at Boulder, where he started working on interactive instruction and undergraduate curriculum development. He is the winner of several teaching awards, including the 2006 AAPT Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education.  He is also a software developer for PhET (http://phet.colorado.edu), which is "the best science education that money can buy, except you can't buy, because it's free." His other recent professional labels include textbook author, airline crash investigator, and optical engineer.  In the Fall of 2013, he taught a Massive Online Open Course, through Coursera, entitled "Physics 1 for Engineers".  The number of students who took the course was 15,000 or 300, depending on how you count.

James Fairweather, Michigan State University

Dr. James S. Fairweather serves as co-Principal Investigator of the AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative.  He is Professor and Director of the Center for Higher and Adult Education, Michigan State University.  He is the immediate past Mildred B. Erickson Distinguished Chair in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education at MSU.  Dr. Fairweather is widely known for his work on faculty roles and rewards, engineering education, and higher education policy.  His books entitled Faculty Work and Public Trust: Restoring the Value to Teaching and Public Service in American Academic Life and Entrepreneurship and Higher Education are considered seminal in the field.  Dr. Fairweather has extensive experience in researching and reforming STEM education.  He and his colleagues on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Disciplinary-based Educational Research recently published the principal summative work on the status of postsecondary STEM education.  He has been co-PI of the Engineering Coalition for Schools for Excellence in Education and Leadership (ECSEL) and the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning.  For the National Academy of Sciences he authored the White Paper Linking Evidence and Promising Practices in STEM Undergraduate Education.  Dr. Fairweather has served as chair of the editorial board of the most prestigious journal in the field, Journal of Higher Education, received the career research award from the American Educational Research Association Division J, been named a Fulbright Scholar, and awarded an Erasmus Mundus Professorship by the European Union.  He received his Ph.D. in Higher Education from Stanford University in 1980.

Kenneth R. Koedinger, Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Kenneth Koedinger is Professor of Human-Computer Interaction and Psychology at Carnegie Mellon. His research has contributed new principles and techniques for the design of educational software and has produced basic cognitive science research results on the nature of mathematical thinking and learning. Dr. Koedinger is a co-founder of Carnegie Learning (carnegielearning.com) and the CMU Director of the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center (learnlab.org). The center leverages cognitive and computational approaches to support researchers in investigating the instructional conditions that cause robust student learning.

Carl E. Wieman, Stanford University

Dr. Carl Wieman holds a joint appointment as Professor of Physics and of the Graduate School of Education.  He has done extensive experimental research in atomic and optical physics.  His current intellectual focus is now on undergraduate physics and science education.  He has pioneered the use of experimental techniques to evaluate the effectiveness of various teaching strategies for physics and other sciences, and recently served as Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.