Organizational Structure

Compass has grown rapidly since it was founded, both in terms of the number of people involved and the services provided. As a student-run, volunteer-driven organization, Compass works hard to make sure that it uses its volunteers’ time well. Compass welcomes a diversity of opinions in its consensus-based decision-making process, so Compass members are welcome to attend, listen to, and participate in any meeting, regardless of whether they have a specific role in it.


The work that Compass does is divided into four clusters. Each of these clusters has a chair, whose job it is to organize the work of the people in the cluster.

The Courses cluster focuses on teaching and designing curriculum for the summer program, fall and spring semester courses, and the class for incoming transfer students. This Cluster also organizes a journal club where people meet to read and discuss research about physics education.

The Academic cluster is responsible for running the lecture series, mentoring program, and office hours. Basically, any academic service other than teaching and designing courses falls under the purview of this cluster.

The External cluster interfaces with alumni and acts as a liaison between Compass, the Physics Department, the University, and other partners. This cluster’s responsibilities include fundraising and budgeting, program evaluation, and alumni relations.

The Support cluster supports all of Compass’s programs through event planning, publicity, marketing, and social media. In addition, the Compass website, mailing lists, and wiki are all maintained by this cluster.


Clusters meet simultaneously, but separately, every Monday from 6-8 PM in 395, 396, and 397 LeConte. These are working meetings whose primary focus is on getting things done, and they are a great way for new folks to jump into Compass. On the second Monday of each month, clusters meet together in a general Compass meeting. The primary focus of the general meeting is to make large-scale organizational decisions that fall outside the scope of any single cluster.