The Effective Practices for Physics Programs (EP3) project, led by the American Physical Society (APS) in collaboration with the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), aims to help physics programs respond to challenges with a collection of knowledge, experience, and proven good practice.

The EP3 Project began with the creation of a task force in 2016, charged by the APS Council with developing a guide for self-assessment of undergraduate physics programs founded on documented best practices linked to measurable outcomes. The EP3 Guide assists physics program leaders in creating, improving, and assessing their individual programs in ways that respond to local constraints and opportunities while being informed by research and good practice. The Guide is a toolbox to help departments accomplish objectives they have set for themselves, not a set of standards for departments to meet.

The Guide includes a set of effective practices and guidelines for self-evaluation suitable for departmental review. It includes considerations of curricula, pedagogy, advising and mentoring, recruiting and retention, research and internship opportunities, equity and diversity, scientific skills development, career preparation, staffing, resources, and faculty professional development. The Guide also includes sections on program review, assessment of student learning, being an effective chair, creating and sustaining change, strategic planning, and creating foundational documents that guide improvements and operations. The Guide links effective practices to specific goals and programs and provides summaries of the evidence supporting the effective practices. See the Guide Overview for a visual overview of Guide content.

In addition to creating the EP3 Guide, the project will train physics program leaders and reviewers in how to use the Guide through workshops, evaluate the Guide’s impact, and transition ongoing review and improvement of the Guide to the APS Committee on Education (COE), in collaboration with AAPT.

The project also runs Departmental Action Leadership Institutes (DALIs), which train physics faculty members to lead departments in facing a challenge or implementing significant changes to their undergraduate programs.