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Hendrix College Department of Physics Granted Membership in APS-IDEA Network

CONWAY, Ark. (August 31, 2020) — The Hendrix College Department of Physics has been accepted into the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance (IDEA) network of the American Physical Society (APS).

APS is one of the largest professional organizations for physicists in the world. The APS-IDEA network is a new initiative meant to establish an international community of departments and organizations working to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion. 

“The department wrote an application for a team that includes each faculty member, our lab manager, a senior student, and a sophomore student,” said Dr. Todd Tinsley ’98, professor of physics. “That application described the strides we have made in our department in creating a welcoming place for women, and we described the ways we want to broaden that work to include a more intersectional vision for diversity in our department.” 

In its application, the department specifically mentioned increasing attention to recruitment and retention of LGBTQ+ students and students of color, considering activities, events, and practices that acknowledge the diversity of physics majors and also help to foster a bond among those students and with the department, regardless of their individual identities.

Tinsley also credited Associate Provost for Faculty Development Dr. Leslie Templeton ’91 in the efforts that led to the department achieving the designation. “Her work as has been critical to our past successes and our thinking about the future,” he said.

The APS-IDEA Application Review Committee provided positive feedback to the Hendrix Department of Physics, applauding the department’s previous efforts to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion, its significant support from the administration, and the proposed team’s makeup. The team is reflective of all the stakeholders in the department—faculty, staff, and students:

  • Julie Gunderson ’06, Assistant Professor of Physics
  • Jacob Nordin ’21, Senior Physics Major
  • Damon Spayde, Professor of Physics
  • John Steward ’94, Lab Manager
  • Todd Tinsley ’98, Professor of Physics, Department Chair
  • Mayra Velazquez ’23, Sophomore Physics Major
  • Ann Wright, Professor of Physics, Natural Sciences Area Chair

“On May 30, President Arnold challenged our community to ‘demonstrate our support of our students and our community, not just with statements on paper, but with acts of genuine love and support,’” Tinsley added. “Our department believes that the IDEA network is a way for us to focus on those acts, and our team is excited to get started on this work.”

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit