Report from the Council Meeting Held on March 16, 2016

The Council of the American Chemical Society met in San Diego, CA, on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, from 8:00am until approximately 11:30am in the Sapphire Ballroom of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. The Council opened with the passing of resolutions in memory of deceased Councilors. Below is a summary of the meeting that followed.

Nominations and Elections

President-Elect: The Committee on Nominations & Elections (N&E) identified four nominees for the office of 2017 ACS President-Elect. They were as follows: Peter K. Dorhout, Thomas R. Gilbert, C. Bradley Moore, and Gregory H. Robinson. The four nominees answered questions at the Town Hall meeting held on Sunday, March 13, and made brief presentations to the Council. Council voted to select Peter K. Dorhout and Thomas R. Gilbert as the final two candidates whose names will appear on the fall ballot, along with any petition candidates who may arise.

Other Elections

The Committee on Nominations and Elections announced the results of the election held prior to the San Diego meeting to select candidates from the list of nominees to serve as Directors from District II and District IV on the Board of Directors for the term 2017-2019. By Internet ballot, the Councilors from these districts selected George M. Bodner and Christina C. Bodurow as District II candidates; and Rigoberto Hernandez and Larry K. Krannich as District IV candidates. Ballots will be distributed on September 29, 2016, to all ACS members in District II and District IV for election of a Director from each District.

N&E also announced the election of Directors-at-Large that will be conducted in the fall. The candidates for a 2017-2019 term are Joseph A. Heppert, Kristin M. Omberg, Dorothy J. Phillips, and Kathleen M. Schulz. Ballots for the election of two Directors-at-Large from among those candidates and any selected via petition will be distributed to the Council on September 29, 2016.

N&E has established the Vote 20/20 Task Force, charged with examining all aspects of nominations and elections for ACS national offices and designing an enhanced process to be in place by the year 2020. The committee welcomes ideas from all members as to how nominations and elections should be handled. Send comments to vote2020@acs.org.

ACS Dues for 2017

Council voted to accept the recommendation from the Committee on Budget and Finance with regard to the 2017 membership dues (an increase of $4.00 - from $162 to $166).

Petitions for Vote

Approval of the “Academic Professional Guidelines”

The Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs (CEPA) presented the revised “Academic Professional Guidelines” for consideration at the Council meeting in Boston on August 13, 2015. After approving an amendment to the proposed revised Academic Professional Guidelines (Council Agenda, pp. 75-89), the Council approved the revised guidelines, subject to approval by the Board of Directors. The guidelines apply to those members of the academic community whose job function impacts directly or indirectly on scientists practicing the profession of chemistry.

Budget and Finance

In 2015, ACS generated a Net from Operations of $16.6 million, which was $3.2 million favorable to budget. Total revenues were $511.7 million, essentially on budget. Expenses ended the year at $495.1 million, which was $3.1 million or 0.6% favorable to budget. This variance was attributable to a continued emphasis on expense management across the Society. The Society’s financial position strengthened in 2015, with Unrestricted Net Assets, or reserves, increasing from $144.7 million at December 31, 2014 to $163.3 million at year-end 2015, although this amount is still below the recommended financial guidelines.

Additional information can be found at www.acs.org, at bottom, click ‘About ACS’, then ‘ACS Financial Information’. There you will find several years of the Society’s audited financial statements and IRS 990 filings.

Meetings and Expositions

The Committee on Meetings and Expositions (M&E) reported that the 2017 registration fee for ACS national meetings will be $440 ($415 will be the early bird rate). The attendance at the San Diego national meeting, as of the morning of the Council meeting, was as follows:

  • Students: 5,979
  • Exhibitors: 1,094
  • Exhibition only: 473
  • Guests: 383
  • Regular: 8,398
  • Total: 16,327

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: 16,864 (as of Tuesday evening, March 27, 2012)
  • 2013: New Orleans, LA: 15,596 (as of Tuesday evening, April 9, 2013)
  • 2014: Dallas, TX: 13,680 (as of Tuesday evening, March 18, 2014)
  • 2015: Denver, CO: 13,930 (as of Tuesday evening, March 24, 2015)
  • 2016: San Diego, CA: 16,327 (as of Tuesday evening, March 16, 2016)

The last National ACS meeting in San Diego was held in the spring of 2012 and attendance at that meeting totaled 16,864 for the same time period noted. 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).

Membership Affairs Committee

The Committee on Membership Affairs (MAC) reported that ACS membership declined 1% in 2015 to slightly under 157,000, despite the fact that 25,000 new members were added. The overall membership retention rate is 84% and there has been a 3.85% growth in foreign new membership.

Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs

The Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs (CEPA) reported that the unemployment rate for newlygraduated chemists has increased from 12.4% to 13%. The overall unemployment rate for all ACS chemists is up from 2.9% to 3.91%. The overall U.S. unemployment rate is 5.5%.

Divisional Activities Committee

The Committee on Divisional Activities (DAC) reported that it will be providing more training for division chairs on member recruitment and retention. It will also be actively encouraging all divisions to develop business plans.

Committee on Constitution and Bylaws

The Committee on Constitution & Bylaws (C&B) certified twenty-nine unit bylaws in 2015. With regard to the Petition to Extend the Unemployment Members’ Dues from two to three years, C&B is concerned with the assumption in the explanation that, without the waiver extension, the Society would lose those members who would benefit from the waiver extension. The financial implications of this petition are still being assessed.

Petitions to Amend Constitution & Bylaws

New petitions to amend the Constitution or Bylaws must be received by the Executive Director no later than May 4 to be included in the Council agenda for consideration at the fall 2016 meeting in Philadelphia. Contact C&B with any questions or requests for information at bylaws@acs.org

Actions of the Board of Directors

The Board’s Executive Session
The ACS Board of Directors met March 11 - 12, 2016, and considered a number of key strategic issues and responded with several actions. These are as follows:

Board Development
ACS is a large, highly complex, global organization, with two major businesses – Chemical Abstracts Service and ACS Publications – and a significant professional membership organization component. The Board sets aside substantial discussion time at each meeting for the most important strategic issues facing the Society.

Strategic Issues and Retreat
The Board held a conversation focused on strengthening the process utilized for strategic issues discussions, and a discussion on timing and topics of a possible facilitated retreat for all Board members during 2016. Also, the Board is committed to development and discussed ways to continuously improve its effectiveness in the service of ACS as individual board members, and as a collective body.

The Board’s Committees
The Board received input and discussed reports from its Committees on Grants and Awards, Executive Compensation; and the Joint Board-Council Committee on Publications. On the recommendation of the Committee on Grants and Awards, the Board voted to approve an endowment to support the E. Bright Wilson Award in Spectroscopy.

Also on the recommendation of the Committee on Grants and Awards, the Board voted to approve language to be included in the guiding documents for the National Awards and Fellows Program to allow for the rescission of national awards and the ACS Fellows designations where reasonable grounds exist.

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 Joint Board-Council Committee on Publications, the Board voted to approve the reappointments of Editors-in-Chief for two ACS journals.

The Executive Director/CEO Report
Executive Director and CEO Thomas M. Connelly, Jr. discussed ACS membership programs, reviewed the information technology area, and offered personal reflections on his first year as Executive Director and CEO. His direct reports updated the Board on the activities of Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), the ACS Publications Division, the Office of the Treasurer and CFO, and the Society’s Secretary and General Counsel.

Presidential Succession
The members of the presidential succession briefed the Board on their current and planned activities for 2016. President Donna Nelson highlighted presidential programming at the San Diego meeting on employment and diversity in the chemical sciences and on organic chemistry education. Also, a special discussion topic on the U.S. employment of chemists will be conducted at the Council meeting.

The Board’s Open Session
The Board held a well-attended open session which featured Amy Harmon, a reporter for the New York Times, who covers the social implications of science and technology. Ms. Harmon’s topic was “Telling Science Stories: Dispatch from the Conflict Zone.”

Prior to the presentation, members of the presidential succession and the Executive Director and CEO offered brief reports on their activities. The officers provided more extensive reports on their activities and/or future plans as part of their written and oral reports to the Council.

Contact the Board
Your Board of Directors is elected by and acts in the best interests of the members of our Society. Please contact them with your comments, concerns, ideas, and suggestions at secretary@acs.org.

Additional Information

The following is a list of URLs or email addresses presented in reports or on slides at the Council meeting

Respectfully submitted March 28, 2016

CINF Councilors

Bonnie Lawlor
Andrea Twiss-Brooks
Svetlana Korolev

Note: The Council Agenda Book can be accessed at: http://www.acs.org/content/dam/acsorg/about/governance/councilors/council-agenda-3.16.pdf.