ACS Council

The Council of the American Chemical Society met in Philadelphia, PA on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 from 8:00am until approximately 12:15pm in the Grand Ballroom A - F of the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown Hotel. It opened with a resolution and moment of silence for deceased Councilors, a vote to accept the minutes of the Council meeting held on March 28, 2012, an announcement that Dr. Peter Stang will be awarded the Priestley Medal, and an announcement that after 36 years Rudy Baum will be leaving  Chemical & Engineering News, where he currently serves as Editor-in-Chief. The highlights of the meeting are as follows:

Nominations and Elections

Council Policy Committee: Council voted to fill four slots on the Council Policy Committee.  There were eight nominees as follows: Frank D. Blum, Mary K. Carroll, Joseph A. Heppert, Martha G. Hollomon, Lee H. Latimer, Willem R. Leenstra, Carolyn Ribes, and Ellen B. Stechel.  By electronic ballot, the Council elected Frank D. Blum, Mary K. Carroll, Lee H. Latimer, and Carolyn Ribes for the 2013-2015 term.

Committee on Committees: Council voted to fill seven slots on the Committee on Committees.  There were fourteen nominees as follows: Spiro D. Alexandratos, G. Bryan Balazs, Christopher J. Bannochie, Arindam Bose, Dawn A. Brooks, Michelle V. Buchanan, Alan B. Cooper, Judith Currano, Warren D. Hull, Jr. David J. Lohse, Christopher J. Masi, Ingrid Montes, Jason R. Ritchie, and Ralph A. Wheeler. By electronic ballot, the Council elected G. Bryan Balazs, Dawn A. Brooks, Michelle V. Buchanan, Alan B. Cooper, and Ingrid Montes for the 2013-2015 term; and Spiro D. Alexandratos and Judith Currano for  the remainder of a two-year (2013-2014) term.

Committee on Nominations and Elections: Council voted to fill five slots on the Committee on Nominations and Elections. There were ten nominees as follows: Cherlynvaughn Bradley, Dwight W. Chasar, Catherine E. Costello, Milagros Delgado, Kevin J. Edgar, Carol B. Libby, Les W. McQuire, Donivan R. Porterfield, Robert A. Pribush, and Steven W. Yates.  By electronic ballot, the Council elected Cherlynlavaughn Bradley, Milagros Delgado, Carol B. Libby, Les W. McQuire and Donivan R. Porterfield for the 2013-2015 term.

The committee on Nominations and Elections announced the names of candidates for national office that will appear on ballots that will be mailed in October. These are as follows: Candidates for the 2013 President-Elect: Dr. Thomas J. Barton, Distinguished Professor, Iowa State University, Ames, IA and Dr. Luis A. Echegoyen, Robert A. Welch Professor, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX; Candidates for Directors-at-Large 2013-15: Ms. Carol A. Duane, President, D&D Consultants of Mentor, Mentor, OH, Ms. Valerie J. Kuck, Retired, Lucent Technologies (Bell Labs), Murray Hill, NJ, Ms. Helen (Bonnie) A. Lawlor, Executive Director, National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS), Philadelphia, PA, and Dr. Ingrid Montes, Professor, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, San Juan, PR; Candidates for District I Director 2013-15: Dr. Thomas R. Gilbert, Associate Professor, Northeastern University, Boston, MA and Dr. Neil D. Jespersen, Professor of Chemistry, St. John’s University, Queens, NY; and Candidates for District V Director 2013-15: Dr. John E. Adams, Curators’ Teaching Professor of Chemistry, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO and Dr. Peter K. Dorhout, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.

Society Estimated Financial Results for 2012 Looking Positive

The Committee on Budget and Finance presented estimated year-end results for 2012. They estimate that total revenues will be $491.6 million ($7.1 over budget) and expenses will be $474.2 million ($5.5 over budget), giving a net from operations of $17.4M.  If the estimate is correct, the year-end net will be $1.6M favorable to the budget.

Senior Chemists Committee to be Created upon Board Approval

Council approved a recommendation from the Committee on Committees to create a Senior Chemists Committee as a Joint Board-Council Committee. It will be established upon approval of the ACS Board of Directors. The mission of this committee will be to enrich the educational, technical, and cultural lives of the ACS Membership by ministering to and employing the talents of senior ACS members by: sharing with ACS members of all ages a rich variety of personal experiences and expertise gained over many years of professional service; fostering interest and participation in the science of chemistry through community outreach, especially in grades K-12; acting as science advisors/ambassadors for the purpose of cultural exchange at home and abroad; providing senior ACS members with challenging, diverse, and enjoyable professional experiences that enable them to contribute to the cultural experiences of their communities; and  recommending policies that address issues of interest to senior chemists. The committee is aimed primarily at members over 60 years of age.

Other Committees

Council voted to accept the recommendation put forth by the Committee on Committees (ConC) to authorize the continuation of the Committee on Chemists with Disabilities and the Committee on Professional Training. 

ConC honored all committee chairs and members who will reach their statutory limit of service this year and also recognized Councilors who have reached significant anniversaries of years of Council service.

Proposal to Transfer Two Local Sections Approved

The Committee on Nominations and Elections (N&E) recommended that the Hampton Roads and Western Maryland local sections be shifted from District II to District III.  The background on this recommendation is the following: N&E is responsible for annually reviewing the distribution of member population within the six electoral districts to assure that the districts have equitable representation. According to Bylaw V, Section 4a, the member populations of each district must be within ten percent of the result of dividing by six the number of members whose addresses lie within these districts. During its meeting in March 2012, N&E learned from year-end 2011 membership figures that the total membership in one electoral district was below the permissible minimum (the permissible range is 21,038–25,714). The District III population was 140 members below the permissible minimum and N&E must recommend to Council a redefinition of District boundaries to bring District III member population back into compliance with the Bylaw provision regarding population. The two local sections agreed to the shift.

The Council voted 58% to 42% (via clicker vote) to approve the shift. However, there was quite a bit of discussion on this issue with the net result that N&E has been asked to conduct a comprehensive review of the optimal alignment of local sections within districts.

Two Petitions Voted Down

Council voted on two petitions for changes to the ACS Bylaws.  The first was a Petition on Candidate Comment in C&EN. The wording to BYLAW V, Section 13 was recommended to have the following added with the objective of avoiding an unfair campaign advantage to incumbents who may choose to make official statements on their task force or committee activities prior to elections.

“Other than official position statements provided for in election procedures, the official organ of the SOCIETY shall not publish without charge any written material under the name of a candidate for any position on the Board of Directors, including President-Elect, at any time after May 1 in the year of the election.”

Council voted against the petition.

The second petition was a Petition on International Chemical Sciences Chapters Funds. This petition sought to clarify that the Board of Directors may grant funds to international chapters for specific purposes. The proposed wording of BYLAW IX, section 4 was as follows:

“An International Chemical Sciences Chapter shall receive no allotment of funds from the SOCIETY and shall not be entitled to elected representation on the Council. However, the Board of Directors may grant funds to a Chapter for a specific SOCIETY activity in which participation of the Chapter is deemed necessary for carrying out that SOCIETY activity effectively.”

The Council voted not to approve this petition as well (64% to 36% via clicker vote).

Bylaw Changes for Consideration Only

Petition to Amend National Election Procedures

The increasing demands of recent campaigns for electing the President-Elect of the Society have made it ever more difficult to recruit leaders in the chemical community to accept nomination. The problems are increased substantially by the process used to choose candidates from among nominees, as otherwise potentially excellent candidates are often voted off the ballot because they are not well known to Councilors.  Serving many years in ACS governance is not, and should not be, a pre-requisite for serving as President-Elect.

The proposed change will charge N&E to find two candidates for President-Elect. Others, as now, may be nominated by members by petition, and procedures for preferential balloting remain unchanged. All candidates could then be invited to a public forum, such as a Town Hall meeting, at the Fall National Meeting, and would appear on the ballot. This process would shorten the campaign period, allow all candidates to be seen by Council and other members, and ease the burden on N&E.

The financial impact is still being assessed and the petition will appear on the Council agenda in the spring of 2013.

Distribution Formula for Local Section Allotments Delayed

The Committee on Local Section Activities (LSAC) had reported that they believe there is a deficiency in the current formula used to distribute the ACS Local Section annual allotments (LSAC reviews the calculations every three years or sooner, if deemed necessary). Their concern is that the total allotment for distribution will be greater than the funds available to distribute and they had planned to recommend a formula at this Council meeting to correct this deficiency for the 2013 allotments with a recommendation for a long-term solution coming in 2013. However, the Council Policy Committee (CPC) voted to remove this item from the agenda for this meeting and put it on the 2013 spring agenda.

Chemists’ Employment Issues

The Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs (CEPA) reported that the unemployment rate for chemists has declined slightly – from 4.6% to 4.2%, but that 8.2% of those unemployed report being in that position for four months or more. There were 999 job seekers at the job fair held at the conference. They were competing for 148 positions being offered by 45 employers. A virtual job fair held earlier attracted 1,499 job seekers, 13 employers, and only 41 positions. It was also reported that the salaries of PhD and MS chemists have declined in real dollars, but that the salaries of BS chemists have held the line.

Divisional Activities

The Committee on Divisional Activities reported that the Program and Abstract Creation System (PACS) will no longer be supported after December 31, 2012 and ACS will have to find a new vehicle for the submission of papers for the National Meetings.

Fall Meeting Attendance

As of August 22, 2012, the ACS Fall National Meeting had attracted 13,320 registrants. Totals in select categories are as follows: Regular attendees 7,817; Students 3,177; Guests 337; Exhibit Only 740 and Exhibitors 1,249. The history of attendance at ACS fall national meetings since 2004 is as follows:

2004:  Philadelphia, PA           14,025

2005:  Washington, DC           13,148

2006:  San Francisco, CA        15,714

2007:  Boston, MA                   15,554

2008:  Philadelphia, PA           13,805

2009:  Washington, DC           14,129

2010:  Boston, MA                    14,151

2011:  Denver, CO                    10,076 (decline assumed to be due to timing - the week before Labor Day)

2012:  Philadelphia, PA            13,251

Special Discussion Item

A special discussion item was put on the Council agenda for this meeting. ACS President Bassam Shakhashiri presented and moderated a discussion on “What major efforts should ACS pursue to help alleviate water and other global challenges?” Members of the ACS feel a responsibility as scientists and citizens to help address global challenges facing society in the 21st Century to help sustain Earth and its people. These challenges include increasing population growth, limited natural resources, malnutrition, disease, climate change, violence and war, and the denial of basic human rights, including the right to benefit from scientific and technological progress. This discussion focused primarily on the crisis of available water suitable for drinking, agriculture and industry.  Following the presentation, more than 30 Councilors engaged in a discussion of this global challenge and others and offered numerous suggestions. Councilors are invited to continue discussion of this topic within the ACS Network Councilor Group (https://communities.acs.org/groups/councilor-group) at https://communities.acs.org/message/11677.

Resolution to Honor the Memory of Glenn T. Seaborg in the Centennial Year of His Birth

The Council passed a resolution to honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of Glenn T. Seaborg, Chemistry Nobel Laureate and past ACS President.

Update on ACS vs. Leadscope Litigation

The Chair of the Board gave an update on the ACS vs. Leadscope litigation.  As of this meeting, there was still no opinion announced by the Ohio Supreme Count on ACS’s appeal in this case, despite the fact that oral arguments were presented nearly a year ago. ACS has no information on when an opinion might be delivered.

Update on September 18, 2012: Statement on ACS vs. Leadscope decision from the Supreme Court of Ohio from Dr. William F. Carroll, Jr., Chair, ACS Board of Directors, on its behalf

The Supreme Court of Ohio today issued its decision in the case of ACS v Leadscope, Inc., originally filed in 2002. It is a complex decision and ACS needs to carefully review and assess the decision over the next several days.

Based upon initial review, the ACS Board of Directors is gratified that the Court, in a 5-2 vote, found that ACS did not defame the defendants and vacated the lower court’s award of damages on that issue, which constituted the majority of the damages award in this case.

As to the defendants’ claim of unfair competition, the Court acknowledged ACS’ First Amendment right to seek judicial review of its original claims. Although the Court also agreed with ACS’ legal arguments that the trial court had improperly instructed the jury on that claim, the Court, in a 4-3 vote, affirmed the lower courts’ decisions.

Today’s ruling will not impact ACS member dues; ACS products, programs or services; ACS staffing levels; or the ability of ACS to achieve its mission.

ACS also appreciates and acknowledges the strong support it received from the Ohio Attorney General, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants – all of which submitted briefs supporting ACS to the Supreme Court of Ohio.

To review the Supreme Court of Ohio decision click here:http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/0/2012/2012-ohio-4193.pdf

To read a summary of the case prepared by the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Office of Public Information click here: http://www.courtnewsohio.gov/cases/2012/SCO/0918/101335.asp

Actions of the Board of Directors

(This portion of the report is taken verbatim from the Councilor talking points provided by the ACS, for which this author is most grateful.)

The Board’s Committees and Working Groups

The Board of Directors received reports from its committees on Grants and Awards (G&A), Executive Compensation, and Budget and Finance (B&F); and from its working group on Society Program Portfolio Management.

On the recommendation of the Committee on Grants and Awards, the Board VOTED to approve Society nominations for the Perkin Medal and the National Science Board Public Service Award.  The Perkin Medal is the highest honor in American industrial chemistry, and the National Science Board Public Service Award honors individuals and groups that have made substantial contributions increasing public understanding of science and engineering in the US.

The Board received a briefing and approved a recommendation from its Committee on Executive Compensation. The compensation of the Society’s executive staff receives regular review from the Board.

On the recommendation of the Committee on Budget and Finance (B&F), the Board VOTED to approve an advance member registration fee of $370 for national meetings held in 2013. The Board also considered program funding requests, and on the recommendation of B&F VOTED to reauthorize funding for inclusion in the 2013 proposed budget the ACS Science Coaches program and the ACS Global Research Experiences, Exchanges, and Training Program (GREET).  

The Board of Directors considered two other recommendations from the Committee on Budget and Finance and VOTED that an in-depth review of the expectations for the financial goals for National Meetings be performed, and that a financial plan for the long-term viability of the ACS Presentations on Demand program (formerly known as Electronic Dissemination of Meeting Content) be developed and shared with B&F at its 2013 spring meeting.

The working group on Society Program Portfolio Management briefed the Board on its activities.  The working group is charged with recommending a process for portfolio management of Society programs in the divisions of Membership and Scientific Advancement, Education, the Office of Public Affairs and pilot programs.

The Executive Director/CEO Report

The Executive Director/CEO and her direct reports updated the Board on the following: security threats faced by the Society’s information technology systems and the measures in place to protect against them; a recommendation from the 2011 Financial Planning Conference that ACS identify additional revenue sources; and the activities of CAS (Chemical Abstracts Service), the ACS Publications Division, and the Society’s General Counsel. The General Counsel report included an update on the ACS vs. Leadscope litigation. As a follow-up to the Publications report, the Board VOTED to approve several journal editor re-appointments.

Strategic Assessment of ACS Information Services Divisions

As a result of the 2011 Financial Planning Conference, the ACS Board of Directors requested that the ACS Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer carry out a strategic assessment of the ACS Information Services Divisions. As a practical matter, these studies have been conducted approximately every three years to ensure that our information services divisions, CAS and ACS Publications are fulfilling ACS’s strategic goals. The study was conducted over a period of nine months, with the ACS Board of Directors and the Governing Board for Publishing discussing the study at key milestones along the way. The study affirmed the robust operating performance of CAS and ACS Publications, from both mission and financial viewpoints.  It commended the increasing collaboration between the divisions and their global presence, and identified areas of synergy where additional opportunities for innovation and growth should be explore.

Presidential Symposia at Philadelphia

ACS President Bassam Z. Shakhashiri hosted several well attended symposia under the presidential theme, “Advancing Chemistry and Communicating Chemistry”:  a plenary lecture on “Chemistry and Climate Change” delivered by Nobel Laureate Mario Molina; the 25th anniversary of National Chemistry Week; “Communicating Controversial Science” honoring Rudy Baum on the occasion of his retirement as Editor-in-Chief of C&EN; and “150 Years of Chemistry at Land Grant Institutions:  The Past as a Prelude to the Future” honoring the sesquicentennial of the Morrill Land Grant Act.

Other Society Business

The Board received reports from the Presidential Succession on their current and planned activities for the remainder of 2012 and 2013; approved the appointment of Dr. Jerauld Skotnicki as the Coordinating Editor, ACS Presentations on Demand; and welcomed and received reports from international guests representing the Canadian Society for Chemistry, the German Chemical Society, the Chemical Society of Japan, and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The Board held a well-attended open session which featured a special forum titled “What are the ‘real world’ ethics issues faced by students and practitioners of chemistry?” Members attending this standing-room only session offered personal observations about ethical issues they have observed or been challenged by and possible options to address them. 

The ACS Leadership Institute will be held in Dallas, Texas, January 25-27, 2013, for new committee, local section, and division chairs, and other volunteer governance members. 

In order to increase the available time for abstract submission for the ACS National Meetings, the Committee on Meetings and Expositions will be studying the feasibility of eliminating the print version on-site program books with a target of the 2013 fall national meeting in Indianapolis. 

The 25th anniversary of National Chemistry Week will be celebrated October 21-27 with the theme, “Nanotechnology – The Smallest BIG Idea in Science!” All local sections are encouraged to participate in NCW and plan an event that will recognize their coordinators. 

The 10th anniversary of Chemists Celebrate Earth Day will be celebrated in 2013. All local sections are encouraged to participate.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The following is a list of URLs and email addresses presented on slides at the Council meeting. You will find the information noted on these cites helpful.

www.acs.org/ChemistryAmbassadors - Information on the Chemistry Ambassadors program

www.facebook.com/ChemistryAmbassadors - Chemistry Ambassadors group on Facebook

www.acs.org/getinvolved - Details on Innovative Project Grants through the Committee on Local Section Activities

www.acs.org/climatescience - Information on the ACS Climate Science Toolkit

outreach@acs.org - Contact email for more information on the Coins for Cleaner Water initiative

www.acs.org/bulletin5 - The ACS governing documents including certification information on unit bylaws

bylaws@acs.org - Contact email for submitting petitions and other questions regarding the governing documents

www.acs.org/ei - Information on the ACS Entrepreneurial Initiative

careers@acs.org - Email address for forwarding revisions on the Academic Professional Guidelines

www.acs.org/cpc - Information on the Council Policy Committee including the Councilor Handbook and Strategy Café Toolkit

www.acs.org/councilreports - Location for committee reports posted following the Council meeting

 

Bonnie Lawlor and Andrea Twiss-Brooks, CINF Councilors