ACS Council Meeting

The Council of the American Chemical Society met in Denver, CO on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 from 8:00am until approximately 11:30am in the Centennial Ballroom D-H of the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center Hotel. It opened with a resolution in memory of former ACS Secretary Rodney N. Hader and other deceased Councilors followed by a moment of silence; a vote to accept the minutes of the Council meeting held on August 13, 2014; and approval of interim action by the Council Policy Committee to elect Alan Ehrlich as its Vice Chair. The highlights of the meeting are as follows:

Nominations and Elections

President-Elect: The Committee on Nominations & Elections (N&E) had identified four nominees for the office of 2016 ACS President-Elect: G. Bryan Balazs, Allison A. Campbell, David J. Lohse, and Christopher J. Welch. The four nominees answered questions at the Town Hall meeting that was held on Sunday, March 22nd. Council voted to select G. Bryan Balazs and Allison A. Campbell as the final two candidates whose names will appear on the fall ballot along with any candidates selected via petitions.

Other Elections

Directors: The Committee on Nominations and Elections announced the results of the election to select candidates from the list of nominees to serve as Directors from District I and District V on the Board of Directors for the term 2016-2018. By internet ballot, the Councilors from these districts selected Thomas R. Gilbert and Laura E. Pence as District I candidates; and John E. Adams and Kenneth V. Fivizzani as District V candidates. Ballots will be distributed on October 2, 2015 to all ACS members in District I and District V for election of a director from each District.

The Committee on Nominations and Elections also announced the selection of the following candidates for Director-at-Large for a 2016-2018 term: Willem R. Leenstra, Ingrid Montes, Mary Jo Ondrechen, and Thomas W. Smith. The election of two Directors-at-Large will be conducted in the fall. Ballots will be mailed to all councilors on October 2, 2015.

Continuation of Committees

Having completed their five-year reviews, the Committee on Committees obtained Council approval for the continuation of the Committee on Ethics and the Committee on Science.

ACS Dues for 2016

Council voted to approve the recommendation from the Committee on Budget and Finance with regard to the 2016 membership dues (an increase of $4.00, from $158 to $162). The increases to ACS dues are based upon an escalator defined in the ACS Bylaws (Bylaw XIII, Section 3,a). The dues are calculated by multiplying the base (current) rate “by a factor which is the ratio of the revised Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (Service Category) for the second year previous to the dues year to the value of the index for the third year previous to the dues year, as published by the United States Department of Labor, with the fractional dollar amounts rounded to the nearest whole dollar.”

Base rate 2015: $158.00

Change in the Consumer Price Index, Urban Wage Earners, Services Category:

December 2014 CPI-W (Services): $281.800

December 2013 CPI-W Services: 274.948

Change in CPI-W Index: 2.49%

2016 Dues, fully escalated: $158.00 x 1.0249 = $161.94

2016 Dues, Rounded: $162.00

National Meeting Long-Range Financial Plan

There was a discussion on an action being taken by the ACS Board with regard to National Meetings. It was noted that seven out of the 10 most recent national meetings have lost money. The technical programs have been losing money and while the exhibition is still profitable (with a return of 30%), the revenues from the exhibits have been declining. The Board wants to de-couple the technical programs from the exhibits in an effort to stop the bleeding. Many councilors said that this did not make any sense since the vast majority of those who go to the exhibit came to the national meeting primarily to attend the technical programs.

Following a discussion on the revenue supporting national meetings, the ACS Council respectfully requested that a vote be taken on a motion put forth by Frank Blum that the Board of Directors delay adding a new technical meeting fee to the meeting registration fee until the Board presents an analysis (preferably at the Boston National Meeting) of the projected break-even fee, including and excluding the net revenue from the National Meeting Exposition. Note that in addition there will be the implementation of a fee to obtain a printed program ($10 for a program picked up at the meeting by a pre-registrant; $20 for a program purchased at the meeting). Council voted 67% in favor of the motion. Questions raised by councilors during the discussion were whether or not there should be an exposition at future meetings and whether or not portions of the national meetings should be available for virtual attendance (for a fee).

Petitions for Vote

Petition to Charter two new International Chemical Sciences Chapters

Council voted to accept a legal application for the formation of the India International Chemical Sciences Chapter. This Chapter will consist of the territory of India which is not part of any other Local section or Chapter of the Society. The application was initiated and signed by ACS members in good standing of the Society who reside in the territory and it met all of the requirements of Bylaw IX and includes a statement that the applicants are familiar with and will abide by all governing documents of the Society, including Bylaw IX Section 2(c), which states that the Chapter and is officers, as representatives of the Chapter, shall not engage in political activity, shall avoid any activities that may adversely affect the interests and/or public and professional images of the Society, and shall ensure that all activities of the Chapter shall be open to all members of the Society. The application included a proposed budget for the Chapter’s operations which includes no funding from the Society). The petition had been reviewed by the ACS Joint-Board Committee on International Activities (IAC). Council’s approval is contingent on the approval of the ACS Board of Directors, after which (if the directors approve) the Chapter can begin operation.

In addition, Council voted to accept a legal application for the formation of the Taiwan International Chemical Sciences Chapter. This Chapter will consist of the territory of Taiwan which is not part of any other Local Section or Chapter of the Society. The application was initiated and signed by ACS members in good standing of the Society who reside in the Territory. It met all of the requirements of Bylaw IX and included a statement that the applicants are familiar with and will abide by all governing documents of the Society, including Bylaw IX Section 2(c), which states that the Chapter and is officers, as representatives of the Chapter, shall not engage in political activity, shall avoid any activities that may adversely affect the interests and/or public and professional images of the Society, and shall assure that all activities of the Chapter shall be open to all members of the Society. The application included a proposed budget for the Chapter’s operations which includes no funding from the Society). The petition was reviewed by the ACS Joint-Board Committee on International Activities (IAC). Council approval is contingent on the approval of the ACS Board of Directors, after which (if the directors approve) the Chapter can begin operation.

Petitions for Consideration

The following petitions were included in the Council Agenda Book for consideration only and will be voted upon at the Council meeting in Boston later this year

Petition on Member Expulsion

The petitioners believe that the current Bylaws (Bylaw 1, Section 5) on removal of members is too cumbersome and that a procedure to be developed by the Committee on Membership Affairs would be preferable. Currently there are several steps each of which involves creation or use of an additional body to consider the charges. The petitioners believe that “the intent of the Constitution (Article IV, Sec. 3) and the current Bylaw can be met, and due process maintained for the charged member, by using a procedure modeled after those currently recommended by the Committee on Constitution and Bylaws (C&B) for the removal of officers for neglect of duties.” The petitioners further believe that the intent of the Bylaws can be met by amending the Bylaw and delegating authority to the Council Committee on Membership Affairs to promulgate and amend such procedures as are necessary to implement this amendment separately from the Bylaws. Reference to the “Chemical Professional’s Code of Conduct” could provide a framework for determining “conduct injurious to the Society.” Petitioners have developed an example of the type of detailed procedures that could be adapted by the Council Committee on Membership Affairs and the Council Policy Committee and suggest that if approved the procedures be published as part of the ACS Governing Documents.

The Committee on Constitution and Bylaws (C&B) has said that it is unclear if the purpose of this proposed Bylaw amendment will make the removal procedure any less cumbersome, but it does appear that if approved, this amendment will streamline the Bylaws. C&B finds that the petition is legal and not inconsistent with the Constitution of the Society, but has requested slight modification in the wording. The financial implication of the petition is being assessed.

Petition on Preferential Voting

The petitioners propose changes to the ACS Bylaws to provide for the use of preferential balloting in elections for nominees and candidates, where necessary, to achieve a majority of votes to win an election. The petition moves from the Bylaws details on preferential voting in the elections for President-Elect and Director-at-Large to procedures developed by the Committee on Nominations and Elections (N&E), and adds preferential voting for District Director, again with detailed procedures being developed by N&E. All such procedures developed by N&E are to be approved by Council.

C&B finds that the petition is legal and not inconsistent with the Constitution of the Society, but has requested slight modification in the wording. The financial implication of the petition is being assessed.

Reports of Committees (Highlights)

Council Policy (CPC)

As required by the Society’s Bylaws, CPC has set the divisors which will be used to determine how many councilors each local section and division is entitled to for 2016-2019. Official notification will be sent to local sections and divisions within two weeks of the ACS Council Meeting, well in advance of the May 1 deadline required by the Bylaws, in order to accommodate the units’ conduct of their elections in 2015. CPC’s Long Range Planning Subcommittee is forming a task force to consider whether changes are in order for the calculations and policies, and to implement any recommendations in time for the 2020 election cycle. In its continuing efforts to assist the Society in finding ways to reduce expenses, CPC is considering alternatives to reduce the printing and mailing costs of the Council Agenda. CPC will be conducting surveys to evaluate potential strategies.

Committees (ConC)

All Councilors, including new Councilors, were reminded to complete their online committee preference form for 2015, during the period March 30 - June 5, 2015. Non-Councilors can request a copy of the form from ConC.

Budget and Finance (B&F)

In 2014, ACS generated a net from operations of $17.9 million, which was $4.2 million favorable to budget. Total revenues were $499.0 million, $0.7 million or 0.1 percent higher than budget. Expenses ended the year at $481.1 million, $3.5 million favorable to the budget. This variance was largely attributable to a continued emphasis on expense management across the Society. 

Despite favorable operating results, the Society’s financial position weakened in 2014, with unrestricted net assets declining $62.3 million, from $207 million to $144.7 million at year-end.
Additional information can be found at www.acs.org. At the bottom of the page, click “About ACS” and then “ACS Financial Information.” There you will find several years of the Society’s audited financial statements and IRS 990 filings.

Education (SOCED)

SOCED reported that more than 1,900 individuals have joined the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) which launched last year, 88 percent of whom are K-12 teachers of chemistry. The Dow Chemical Company was announced as the Sole Founding Partner of AACT with a gift of $1 million.

Science (ComSci)

ComSci has collaborated with several ACS committees to develop five public policy statements which were approved by the Board in December 2014. More recently ComSci led the development of a new draft ACS policy statement on hydraulic fracturing, which will be considered by the Board. Current collaborations include revising ACS policy statements on energy, climate change and forensic science.

Committee on Meetings and Expositions (M&E)

M&E recommends that the early member registration fee for 2016 national meetings be $415, per the National Meeting Long-Range Financial Plan. As part of the continuing ACS sustainability effort and to encourage the use of the ACS mobile app and online program, M&E has decided to discontinue free distribution of the hard copy program book starting in 2016. Those who pre-register for the meeting may purchase a copy of the program book for $10 (pick up on site), and copies will be available at the meeting for $20. The PDF version of the national meeting program will be more prominently displayed on the ACS website for those who would like to print portions for themselves.

M&E reported on the attendance at the Denver meeting as of Tuesday evening, March 24, 2015:

Attendees        7,307

Students          5,141

Exhibitors           847

Expo only           360

Guest                 285

Total              13,940

Spring National Meeting attendance since 2004 is as follows:

2004: Anaheim, CA:               14,141

2005:  San Diego, CA:            15,385

2006:  Atlanta, GA:                 12,546

2007:  Chicago. IL:                  14,520

2008:  New Orleans, LA:        13,454

2009:  Salt Lake City, UT:      10,668

2010:  San Francisco, CA:     18,067

2011:  Anaheim, CA:              14,047

2012:  San Diego, CA:            16,758

2013:  New Orleans, LA:        15,473

2014:  Dallas, TX:                   13,498

2015:  Denver, CO:                13,940 (as of Tuesday evening, March 24th)

The last National ACS Meeting in Denver was held in the fall of 2011 and attendance at that meeting totaled 10,453. San Francisco has had the highest attendance for ACS National Meetings, at least since 1997 (1997: 18,042; 2010: 18,067; and 2000: 18,336).

Committee on Divisional Activities (DAC)

DAC voted to fund 10 Innovative Project Grants (IPG) totaling $54,000. The committee will consider another set of IPG proposals during the Boston National Meeting in August, 2015; the deadline for that round of submissions in July 1, 2015. National meeting attendees were recently surveyed for their views on the Society’s policy governing the use of devices to capture and/or disseminate content delivered at our meetings. While expressing support for the policy, the respondents also expressed interest in amending the current policy to permit presenters, at their discretion, to authorize audience members to capture and disseminate content.

Committee on Local Section Activities (LSAC)

LSAC awarded 15 Innovative Project Grants for a total of $38,389, and is continuing to offer a mini-grant to local sections that attended the 2015 Leadership Institute to partner with neighboring sections to host an activity that would bring value to all members in a specific region. The committee is also planning to fund 16 grants totaling $4000 for the Bridging the Gap: Teachers of Chemistry K-12 Nano-Grants.  More information about all LSAC grants, and those of other committees, is available at www.acs.org/getinvolved. It was noted that several Local Sections were celebrating major anniversaries this year:

50th:     Southern Illinois

75th:     Western Maryland

100th:   Ames, Virginia

Committee on Membership Affairs (MAC)

MAC approved a recommendation from staff to ask individuals who have been receiving the 50 percent Graduate Student Discount for four years or more if they are still graduate students so they can receive the correct dues renewal. The current process does not provide an opportunity for graduate students to change their status after graduation except by contacting ACS Member Services. MAC has endorsed President Diane Schmidt’s campaign to invite faculty from PhD granting U.S. institutions to give ACS membership as an award to outstanding students in chemistry. Schmidt will match each gift by paying a student’s membership from her Presidential funds. At the end of 2014, ACS had 158,401 members, a decline of 1.7% from 2013 despite the addition of 24,000 new members.

Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs (CEPA)

CEPA reported the 2014 New Graduate Survey Results which show the unemployment rate for new graduate chemists has dropped from 14.9 percent in the 2013 survey to 12.4 percent as of 2014. The drop is principally due to more new bachelor’s degree chemists finding employment. ACS members experienced three successive years of lowered unemployment, which could hint at a positive outlook for chemists in coming years. While unemployment is down, salaries have been overall stagnant. The ACS Career Fair had 715 seekers, 27 employers, 85 positions, and 10 booths. The Virtual Career Fair had 918 seekers, 6 employers, and 38 positions. Additionally, 368 resume reviews, 218 mock interviews, and 23 Career Pathway workshops were conducted during the meeting.

Committee on Constitution and Bylaws (C&B)

C&B certified 23 bylaws in 2014, the second largest number certified in any year. Additionally, the committee has reviewed bylaws for 10 Local Sections and 5 Divisions since fall 2014. Certified bylaws and a status report are posted on www.acs.org/bulletin5.
New petitions to amend the Constitution or Bylaws must be received by the Executive Director no later than April 29 to be included in the Council Agenda for consideration at the fall meeting in Boston.  Contact C&B with any questions or requests for information at bylaws@acs.org.

Women Chemists (WCC)

WCC celebrated 10 early-to-mid-career women chemists as recipients of the Fourth Annual WCC Rising Star Awards, and eight WCC/Eli Lilly Travel Grant awardees. WCC is also collaborating with Merck to develop a new Research Award that will fund eight women graduate students to present their research at the fall national meeting in Boston. Members of WCC have been involved as contributing authors and editors for the second more diverse and inclusive edition of “Mom, the Chemistry Professor” being published by Springer.

Professional Training (CPT)

At this meeting, CPT reviewed 39 periodic reports from currently approved programs and held conferences with two departments beginning the process of applying for ACS approval. CPT also reviewed four site visit reports and approved three new programs. There are currently 681 colleges and universities offering ACS-approved bachelor’s degree programs in chemistry.  The new 2015 ACS Guidelines for Bachelor’s Degree Programs were approved at CPT’s winter meeting and recently published on the ACS website.

International Activities (IAC)

At this meeting, the committee received, reviewed, and approved annual reports from ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapters in Hong Kong, Hungary, Malaysia, Romania, Saudi Arabia, and Shanghai. Additionally, the committee reviewed and approved new chapter applications initiated by members in Brazil, Nigeria, Peru, and the United Arab Emirates.

Environmental Improvement (CEI)

At this meeting CEI awarded Local Section Sustainability Grants to three Local Sections: Cornell, Kalamazoo, and Midland. The committee has established working relationships with several technical divisions. The committee cosponsored with Division of Chemical Education the symposium featuring the winners of the ACS-CEI Award for Incorporation of Sustainability into Chemical Education. CEI and the Division of Environmental Chemistry have jointly established a project to provide grant support for programming around climate change at regional meetings.  CEI continues to review existing ACS policy statements, and at this meeting approved recommendations to the Board to establish new public policy statements on Hydraulic Fracturing and on Water Treatment and Conservation.

Chemistry and Public Affairs (CCPA)

The committee highlighted the power of ACS member engagement in government affairs by relating the bipartisan effort, despite partisan roadblocks, to secure a resolution for National Chemistry Week in the United States Senate by Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, and Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. The extra effort invested by ACS members in Pennsylvania to ensure that the resolution had bipartisan sponsorship helps to underscore that science is an issue where both parties can come together.

Actions of the Board of Directors

The Board’s Committees

The Board of Directors received and discussed reports from its Committees on Grants and Awards (G&A), Professional and Member Relations (P&MR), Executive Compensation, and Corporation Associates; the Society Committee on Education (SOCED); and the Joint Board-Council Committee on Publications. 

On the recommendation of the Committee on Grants and Awards and of the Committee on Science, the Board voted to approve a Society nominee for the National Medal of Science.

On the recommendation of the Committee on Professional and Member Relations, the Board voted to provide nominal sponsorship, without financial commitment, for the “Frontiers of Science Research and Education in the Middle East: A Bridge to Peace” (Malta VII) to be held in Rabat, Morocco, November, 2015.

The Board received an extensive briefing and approved several recommendations 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 Society Committee on Education, the Board voted to approve a procedure for the establishment of the inaugural Governing Board for the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT).

On the recommendation of the Joint Board-Council Committee on Publications, the Board voted to approve the reappointment of an Editor-in-Chief for an ACS journal.

The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer’s Report

Thomas M. Connelly, Jr., the new Executive Director/CEO of the Society, offered a review of his initial month in the position (he began on February 17, 2015), and his direct reports updated the Board on the activities of Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), the ACS Publications Division, the Society’s Treasurer, and the Society’s General Counsel.

Other Society Business

The Board heard reports from the ACS Presidential Succession on their current and planned activities for 2015. As part of its ongoing commitment to consider the most important strategic issues facing the Society, the Board held a discussion on improving governance agility.

Resolutions

The Board passed two resolutions, one in memory of former ACS Secretary Rodney N. Hader, who died in January 2015, and another for the U.S. Air Force Academy for 31 years of continuous support of the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad.

The Board’s Open Session

The Board held a well-attended open session which featured Bibiana Campos Seijo, Editor-in-Chief, C&EN.  Dr. Campos Seijo’s topic was “Getting Bang for Your Buck in Science Communications.” Prior to the presentation, members of the presidential succession and the new Executive Director and CEO offered brief reports on their activities. The officers provided more extensive reports on their activities and future plans as part of their reports to the Council.

The ACS Council Meeting closed with a resolution in gratitude for the officers and members of the Colorado Local Section, host Section for the 249th National Meeting; the divisional program chairs and symposium organizers; and ACS staff.

Andrea Twiss-Brooks and Bonnie Lawlor, CINF Councilors

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Image credit: http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/meetings.html

Registration and Accommodations for the 250th ACS National Meeting & Exposition in Boston, MA will open mid-May, 2015

Looking back at the history of the ACS national meetings:

The 1st national meeting took place in Newport, RI, August 6-7,1890

Registration: 43. Society Membership: 238

Boston and Cambridge, MA, hosted the 10th national meeting, December 27-28,1894

Registration: 84. Society Membership: 722

Skolnik, H.; Reese, K. A Century of chemistry: the role of chemists and the American Chemical Society; ACS: Washington, DC, 1976, pp 454-456.