#220 - ACS Council Meeting

American Chemical Society Council Meeting Report (8/23/00)

C&EN's September 18, 2000 issue contains an official summary of the ACS Council actions at the Washington fall 2000 meeting.

The meeting opened with acceptance of the minutes from the March 29, 2000 meeting in San Francisco. Introduction of candidates and elections followed. Fourteen candidates were chosen to fill positions on:

Committee on Committees (ConC) - newly-elected were Ronald D. Archer, Joe W. Hightower, Dorothy J. Phillips, Barbara A. Sawrey, Isiah M. Warner;

Council Policy Committee (CPC) - newly-elected were Bonnie A. Charpentier, Ann H. Hunt, Charles F. Rowell, Kathleen D. Trahanovsky;

Committee on Nominations and Elections (N&E) - newly-elected were: Jeannette E. Brown, Richard L. Deming, Thomas R. Gilbert, Barbara J. Peterson, H. David Wohlers.

CINF members on these influential committees include Carol A. Duane (ConC), Merle I. Eiss (CPC), Bonnie Lawlor (N&E) and Barbara J. Peterson (N&E).

The full makeup of the committees can be found on page 71 of the September 18, 2000 C&EN.

Reports from officers addressed the state of the Society and the challenges it faces in the next decade. ACS President Daryle H. Busch reported that the Society is in excellent financial condition ($35 million surplus in 2000). Member retention, always a concern of the Society, is at 94% which is ~2% improvement over the previous census. ACS publications continue to set the standard in the field. Scholarly contributions to electronic publishing are being pursued as the next advance for the communication of research. President Busch encouraged long-range research in information science. He also endorsed an ACS alliance with the Green Chemistry Institute (GCI). This provides the ACS with another avenue for representing chemistry related to the environment. Positions to staff the GCI with ACS personnel were requested from the Society and have been endorsed by the Budget and Finance Committee, subject to approval by the ACS Board in conjunction with the 2001 budget. The representation of women in chemical education has not improved substantially in the past two decades. This is an issue that continues to need the support of the Society. Legislation is in both the House and Senate to double the NSF budget over the next 5 years.

President-Elect Attila Pavlath has been traveling to local section leadership conferences to convey the message that the power of the ACS rests in the divisions and local sections. He stated that member activities and retention are important items that he will focus on. He also plans to develop more tangible benefits for Society members and install electronic membership forms. He cited listening to members and diverse representation as key factors to helping the Society solve ACS problems.

Past-President Ed Wasserman addressed the key issue of entrepreneurs in academics. The advantages include for the university royalties as a financial growth medium that can support individual research programs and students. Unfortunately, this has the potential to divide departments into "have" and "have-not" subgroups, and that causes tension among colleagues. Another fear is that this type of quick cash research will cause gaps in scientific knowledge as less patentable topics with reduced financial gain, such as the study of reaction mechanisms, will be left unexplored.

Action on a measure strongly supported by the President-Elect as a way of increasing Council members' participation in committees--namely, to increase the maximum size of standing Council committees from 15 to 24--was postponed. Council approved a motion to clear up the confusion that could occur when the word "regional" is applied to meetings or elections. Henceforth, the term "regional" will apply only to meetings, whereas "district" will apply to elections. A motion to raise the registration fees for non-members who live outside the US was recommitted until the fall 2001 ACS meeting in Chicago. There was debate on the general subject of increasing meeting fees, but Council had voted at the San Francisco meeting to approve the Committee on Meetings and Exposition's plan to make the ACS meetings at least break even. That plan included an increase for 2001. By approving the increase in meeting registration fees, Council endorsed the continued implementation of M&E's plan.

The Board of Directors reported that it is facilitating a strategic plan for 2001-2003 that will include staffing for overseas opportunities and the development of the American Chemistry Council. The Board will likely approve the funding of the GCI ($2 million over 5 years). The Board is also trying to institute a new electronic network so that ACS members can let Congress know their opinions about matters important to the Society. The agenda also includes strengthening ACS websites, upgrading member services, and developing a new ChemCenter website. The Society is also pursuing reciprocity agreements with other societies to share member services.

Dissolution of the Fertilizer Chemical Division and subsequent reorganization as a subdivision of Agricultural Chemistry was approved as of 12/31/00.

The Committee on Budget and Finance forecasted a net $7 million contribution to the Society this year. A series of program expansions was also approved for the GCI, regional meeting programs, member retention programs, divisional innovative projects, website staffing, Historic Chemical Landmarks program, minority affairs, international program development, advancement of chemical science, and updating ACS databases.

The Committee on Education proposed a 3-year NSF grant program to aid in the development of high school teaching and teacher development. Marjorie Caserio is the head of the new staff Office of Graduate Education. The Committee on Science encouraged the Society to be more creative and pursue partnerships to enhance cross-disciplinary efforts and diversification of areas. The Committee on Meetings and Expositions approved Indianapolis as a potential meeting site in 2013 and named Anaheim (3/27-2/13/2011), Chicago (8/28-9/1/2011), and Boston (8/19-9/23/2012) as sites for future meetings. These were approved by Council vote. Attendance at the Washington meeting as of Tuesday evening was 13,368 (10,962 attendees and 2,406 exhibitors). 269 companies exhibited in a total of 461 booths. The exhibit was completely sold out. 60% of those who attended the meeting reserved their hotel rooms online, the first time this capability has been offered.

The Committee on Economics and Public Affairs stated that the median salary for all chemists is $70,000/yr. with B.S. chemists commanding the largest increase (5%). Several web-based salary comparison systems are on-line. 1616 job opportunities were posted and 1056 candidates were on site for interviews. Currently 33 career management programs exist and 6 new consulting programs have been approved.

Finally, several CINF members were among those recognized for their service to the ACS: Barbara Peterson (Pubs), Arleen Somerville (CCAS), and Adrienne Kozlowski.

Written/oral reports of several other committees are only briefly summarized here.

Committee on Chemical Abstracts Service

CAS is now the most nearly comprehensive service for patents. Work continues on the new building in Columbus.

Committee on Chemical Safety Guidelines for contact lens use and National Chemistry Week activities accepted. Lab safety sites are also posted on the web.
Committee on Chemistry and Public Affairs Suggestions for NSF budgetary allotment and building Congressional support for science. 4500 emails for nominations for the National Medal of Science.
Committee on Patents & Related Matters Need for the US Patent and Trademark Office to retain user fees. Review of Lilly-Prozac patent infringement case.

Committee on Professional Training

Activities related to grad/undergrad training. Re-envisioning the Ph.D. and supplements to the BS in Biochemistry for undergraduate education. CPT will survey libraries and report at the spring 2001 meeting.

Project Seed Placed 205 first-year students and currently have 76 second-year students. Developed a manual for student mentoring.

Committee on Publications

C&EN highly read, with 75% of survey respondents ranking this as the top benefit of ACS membership; online subscriptions up 20%. Added revenue $1.2 million. Copyright-related duties have been added. A task force is investigating preprint issues.

Committee on Public Relations

Small percentage of public have negative opinion on chemistry, but only 43% have positive view of chemical companies.

Committee on Science

4 primary areas of concern: graduate education, national energy policy, ACS as a sci-tech leader, fostering partnerships between academe and industry. They want to work with Pubs on the preprint issue.

Chemical Technician Affairs

Promote acceptance of chemical technicians and how CTA can have influence. Development of CTA website.

Women Chemists Committee

Increase involvement of women at all levels of the Society, for example, by focusing on ways to increase the number of female nominations and nominators for all ACS awards; promote role models through a mentoring activity.

Younger Chemists Committee

Lead younger chemists into successful careers and active roles in ACS and the profession. Goals: make ACS relevant to younger chemists, increase involvement in ACS, and integrate younger chemists into the profession.

Respectfully submitted,
Gary Wiggins & Bonnie Lawlor, CINF Councilors
28 September 2000

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