August 2004 Councilor's Report
Doug Coe [email protected]

The American Chemical Society's 228th National Meeting was held in Philadelphia from August 21st - August 26th, 2004.   The 13,805 registrants at this meeting included the largest number of exhibitors ever at an ACS national meeting.

The following petitions were up for action at this meeting:

Fully certification, licensure, or other qualification as pre-college teacher of chemical science and three years of employment as a teacher of chemical science.

A fully certified, licensed, or otherwise qualified pre-college teacher of chemical science would be eligible for Associate Membership.

This petition is designed to welcome and provide a place for pre-college chemistry teachers in the ACS.  This petition passed unanimously.

·        The Council discussed a recent decision by the Committee on Nominations to reduce the allowable length for candidate statements (President-Elect and Board of Directors) from 1000 words to 750.  A resolution was defeated at Council that would have allowed candidate statements to be 1000 words or more. 

Partnership with the the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE):

Discussions and progress on partnering with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) is continuing, although the level of partnership may be less than was previously envisioned.  These discussions have resulted in the ACS considering how it might form beneficial alliances with other professional societies.  AIChE, whose finances were largely dependent on publications revenue, was hard hit by the down turn in the economy in 2000-2002.  They have since put themselves in somewhat better financial shape by reducing their staff by 2/3!  AIChE, who split from the ACS in 1908 over programming issues, has approximately 45,000 members (8,000 of whom are also members of ACS), a $20M annual budget (the ACS annual budget is ~ $400M), and annual dues of $199.  The partnership would not be a merger or acquisition and each society would retain its own Board of Directors.  The partnership would evolve on three levels; (1) programmatic (a lot of programming is already shared between the societies), and subsequently and simultaneously (2) membership and (3) operational.  This would have a major impact on the ACS.  Most of the discussion reflected cautious support for this potential partnership.

Other Council Items at the Anaheim Meeting:

As a society the ACS is concerned about the multidisciplinarity/dispersion of chemistry as a discipline and its impact on ACS members and the professionIn a discussion on this topic at the Council Meeting questions were raised about the way the federal government identifies jobs held by chemists as one of many indicators of how multidisciplinarity has come to affect the status of chemists.  The Board of Directors and the ACS President have established a joint Board-Council task force to assess the challenges and opportunities that multidisciplinarity presents to the ACS and chemical scientists in general.   The discussion at Council revealed an interest in this topic, particularly as it applies to the future of the discipline.

The finances of the ACS are healthy.  The Committee on Budget and Finance reported that the Society is projected to end 2004 with a net contribution from operations of $1,531,000, which is $60,000 favorable to the approved budget.  The Society is in the final stages of selling its Belmont Conference Center outside of Washington D.C for $5,200,000.

F Sherwood Rowland (not apparently in attendance at this meeting), Isiah M. Warner, and E. Ann Naley (petition candidate) will stand for election as President Elect of the ACS.

Candidates for Director-at-Large, 2005-2007, include David F. Eaton, Light Insights, LLC, Wilmington, Delaware; Judith C. Giordan, Visions in Education, Inc., Pleasanton, California; Howard M. Peters, Peters, Verny, Jones & Schmitt, LLP, Palo Alto, California; David N. Rahni, Pace University, Pleasantville, New York

The Committee on Committees presented to Council a proposal for establishing an Ethics Committee as an Other Committee of the Council.  The charge of this committee would be as follows:  To coordinate the ethics-related activities of the Society; serve as an educational resource and clearinghouse, but not as an adjudicatory body, for ACS members seeking guidance on ethics issues; raise awareness of ethics issues through meeting programming and columns/editorials; review recognition opportunities for acknowledging ethical behavior; and develop and oversee such other ethics-related activities as will serve ACS members and promote the Society’s standards of ethical conduct within the profession of chemistry and its related disciplines. Since some existing committees explicitly deal with ethics and ethical issues, their was some question of the need to establish another high level committee on ethics and the matter was referred back to committee. 

As of June 30th, 2004, total ACS membership stood at 154,945.  Compared to last year, this represents less than a 1% decrease in the overall membership number.  The good news is that the very impressive 50% increase in the recent graduates joining the Society experienced at year-end last year is continuing.  At the end of June, more than 6,800 new members had been added to the membership rolls, which aligns well with the number at the same time last year.

Other items from this meeting:

The Leadership Conference for new leaders in the ACS, including local section officers, is scheduled for January 28th - 30th, 2005 in Baltimore.

This past year the Local Section Activities Committee distributed ~ $78,000 through its Local Section Innovative Projects Grant Program.  The grant maximum is $3,000. 

The Society Committee on Education (SOCED) has implemented a program to allow high school teachers to pursue professional development credits from their local school districts for attending programming at ACS National meetings.

The ACS has developed a policy statement on L-1 visas (see the July 2004 Capital Connection article), which discourages their use to outsource jobs displacing U.S. workers.  The statement further calls for reduced length of these visas, increased requirements for prior employment in obtaining these visas, and tougher enforcement of L-1 visa laws.

The full member early registered national meeting fee will increase by $10 to $295 in 2005.

Charles P. Casey, current ACS President, unveiled an Academic Employment Initiative (AEI) at this meeting in which candidates for faculty positions presented posters featuring their research and other professional experience at the SCI-MIX poster session.  The AEI seemed to be a success and allowed recruiters from programs seeking faculty members to efficiently review and interact with a large number of potential candidates.

The Board of Directors voted the following actions: to include funding for ChemCensus 2005 in the ’05 proposed budget at a cost of $229,000.  The last census was done in 2000.


Unemployment continues to be high among chemists.

Interesting Statistic:

Their are 1940 staff members in the ACS.