RIT Professor Scott Franklin named American Physical Society Fellow

Franklin elected upon recommendation of the APS Forum on Education

Elizabeth Lamark

RIT Professor Scott Franklin has been elected a fellow of the American Physical Society. Here he is pictured during the 2017 announcement of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Inclusive Excellence Initiative at RIT.

Rochester Institute of Technology Professor Scott Franklin has been elected a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS). 

Franklin, a professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy and director of RIT’s Center for Advancing STEM Teaching, Learning and Education (CASTLE), was elected upon the recommendation of the APS Forum on Education (FEd). In the society’s citation, he was praised “For decades of work to support emerging and diverse scholars in physics education research and to foster a vibrant and sustained PER community.” The fellowship is a selective and prestigious recognition by peers for outstanding contributions to physics.

“I’m tremendously honored and humbled,” said Franklin. “The award recognizes the truly collaborative nature of the community building activities. In each of the activities that this recognizes, I’ve had the great fortune to partner with really wonderful collaborators. So, while I’m honored to receive this award, I also have to recognize the many, many collaborators who contributed as much as I did, and I’m thankful and grateful to them for all that they have given me.”

Franklin leads research groups in granular materials as well as physics education research (PER), has been principal investigator or co-PI on 17 funded projects exceeding $4 million in total, and has more than 40 peer-reviewed papers and textbooks. Throughout more than 20 years of physics education research, Franklin has prioritized community building and the development of emerging scholars.

At a time when physics education researchers had very few publication outlets, he was a founding editor (2001-2004) of the Physics Education Research Conference proceedings, and organizer of the 2001 joint American Association of Physics Teachers/Physics Education Research Conference in Rochester, N.Y.  He also co-leads an international training program for emerging education researchers in STEM known as Professional-development for Emerging Education Researchers (PEER), and is a founder of RIT’s multidisciplinary STEM education research group. He served as the first Treasurer of the APS Topical Group on PER from 2014-18.

Within physics education research, Franklin co-developed the Explorations in Physics curriculum and has studied students’ reasoning, metacognition, and use of mathematics in physics. His zeal for promoting emerging scholars has connected with efforts to broaden participation in physics and STEM. Together with other College of Science faculty, Franklin leads the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Inclusive Excellenceprogram at RIT and strives to broaden higher education to better serve women, people of color, and other marginalized groups.

“The RIT community is extremely proud of Scott for receiving this terrific honor,” said Sophia Maggelakis, dean of the College of Science. “His induction is a testament to the quality of his research, his leadership and the respect he has earned from his peers.”

Franklin is the third scientist at RIT to be named a fellow of the society. Professor Manuela Campanelli, director of RIT’s Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation, was elected in 2009 and Professor Carlos Lousto was elected in 2012.

“This recognition is very well deserved,” said Michael Kotlarchyk, head of the School of Physics and Astronomy. “He has made many important contributions to the field of physics over the years and it is wonderful to see his peers in the American Physical Society acknowledge his work with this honor.”

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