Issue Date: September 8, 2008
Candidates' Election Statements and Backgrounds
Two candidates will vie for the office of president-elect of the American Chemical Society for 2009 in this fall's election. They are Joseph S. Francisco, the William E. Moore Distinguished Professor at Purdue University, and Josef Michl, a professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The successful candidate will serve as ACS president in 2010 and as a member of the ACS Board of Directors from 2009 to 2011.
Candidates for director of District III . . .
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Everything flows, nothing stands still.
—Heraclitus (c. 535–475 B.C.)
Societal and financial drivers are pushing U.S. chemical enterprises to go global. But what does globalization mean for the domestic employee in terms of job security and early retirement? The solution to a number of global issues—such as clean water, global climate change, and sustainable energy—requires skilled scientists working together. Do we have that new workforce that is capable of working with and across different cultures to tackle these global societal challenges? The U.S. has been a leader in the fields of chemistry and chemical engineering because of its commitment to and strength in research and innovation. However, declining funds for basic research are compromising our leadership in discovery and innovation.
To adapt, we need to:
- Prepare our students to thrive in the global economy.
- Attract a broader pool of students into our profession.
- Promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the chemical sciences.
EDUCATION. The skill sets sought by companies are also changing as a result of increased competition in the global marketplace. Recruits who have experiences that allow them to work across different cultures and who have international experience have a distinct advantage. The bottom line is: Global skills are important in getting the job, keeping the job, and getting ahead in the job. ACS must take a strong leadership role in the education system that prepares our future chemists and chemical engineers to compete globally.
In addition, our talent pool is decreasing. Fewer international students trained in the U.S. are remaining in this country, and fewer domestic students are entering into the chemical profession.
As your president, I will start a dialogue with the community, educators, and members to address the question of what can we do to better prepare our students for a chemical enterprise that requires global skills. Engaging recruiters and leaders of global chemical businesses in this dialogue is central to developing strategies and policies to guide our educational institutions. As your president, I will work to support those programs in ACS, such as Project SEED and ACS Scholars, which strive to broaden the pool of domestic students into our profession.
PROMOTING INNOVATION. Today, more than ever, research is international. A program to encourage international experience by Americans would increase our awareness of advancements being made in other countries. We need a mechanism to support U.S. talent to go abroad to learn about innovations in the chemical enterprise and transfer that knowledge into the U.S. marketplace. We need a mechanism to maintain the influx of new innovations and ideas.
As your president, I will initiate the creation of an international center with the objective of generating an international network of cooperation to generate and share new ideas in the chemical field. A goal is to sponsor U.S. talent to work abroad and to sponsor topflight international talent to come to the U.S. This center will advocate collaboration with other international chemical societies. The center will bring industry, government, and academia to work together to direct our talent pool in emerging science areas relating to world and national economic challenges. This moves ACS into a leadership role for fostering both national and international collaborations.
PROMOTING NEW EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES. New chemical technologies create products and drive economic growth. An American core competency has traditionally been entrepreneurship. Small companies provide employment opportunities and generate new ideas and technologies.
As your president, I will promote innovation and entrepreneurship by:
- Creation and implementation of new workshops for fresh academic graduates on how to start a company.
- Creation of a network of our experienced and retired chemical industrial leaders as advisers for new entrepreneurs.
- Promotion of entrepreneurial contests that require student teams to develop innovative products and create successful business plans for production and marketing.
PARTNERSHIPS. The chemical world is evolving, and we need to take action. You know many of the challenges that we face in our everyday jobs and have ideas on how we can address them. These ideas need to be championed by universities, government, and industry. The ACS Board and past-presidents have started the process of building trust and nurturing relationships with our stakeholders to support the society's mission.
As your president, I will listen to you and be a powerful voice for ACS and its members before Congress, private industry, federal funding agencies, and international assemblies.
Remember, YOUR PRESIDENT SERVES YOU. Please visit: http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~francisc.
I am deeply honored to run for president-elect of the American Chemical Society and welcome this opportunity to contribute to advancing the chemistry profession. A president is effective when acting in concert with predecessors and successors, supporting the society's strategic plan, and encouraging enthusiastic participation by the membership.
We are witnessing the beginning of an exciting transformation from dependence on fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. This change is inevitable, and it makes sense to go into high gear now while we still have what will soon be remembered as cheap oil. Chemists will be at the heart of this enterprise. Only chemists and chemical engineers can create the new catalysts and other new materials that will be required. The world expects America to lead in an effort in which we cannot afford to fail. See WHEN IF NOT NOW? WHO IF NOT WE? on my Web page.
ACS has a central role in this increasingly urgent endeavor, the objectives of which are not new but deserve greater emphasis. I am eager to participate. I would emphasize the following:
??? Education of an abundant supply of fresh minds for the profession to flourish, starting with K–12 and on through undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral years and beyond to continuing education. At all of these levels, ACS is already very active. We can try harder to attract more of our own talented youth, especially from underrepresented groups, as the number of gifted immigrant scientists and engineers declines. I would support efforts to fully implement the K–12 funding and teacher training aspects of the America Competes Act, to use the expertise of retired industrial ACS members, and to facilitate visa issuance for study and work.
??? Education of the general public and the media to improve the image of chemistry. We can help them appreciate how much the health and comfort of the country depend on chemists and recognize that it is only through further advances in our academic institutions, national laboratories, and industry that our civilization will progress and, indeed, survive. Being an ambassador for chemistry is one of the chief attractions of ACS membership.
??? Education of our politicians to ensure that chemistry is adequately funded. Both practical applications and, more importantly, fundamental science need funding; without fundamental science there will be no new practical applications after awhile. It is easy to catch a lawmaker's attention with magnetic resonance imaging of brain tumors. It is harder to excite a politician about fundamental matters without earning a Golden Fleece Award. Yet basic advances have to come first. I would urge ACS members to join the Legislative Action Network. I would work with industrialists, go to congressional hearings, and support chemistry advocacy groups at the state level. Only a small part of important chemistry is known. As Vannevar Bush's report stated over half a century ago, the possibilities are endless. Let us convince the people whom we have elected to hold the purse strings that funding curiosity-driven science is important.
??? Education of ourselves about the international nature of science. Today's global markets enhance the value of contacts and collaboration abroad and tie them to pressures on domestic employment. The new frontier of science is in Asia. The ACS president must work with chemical societies abroad.
I have been privileged to give invited scientific lectures in 35 countries in six languages. I have given public lectures in schools, on radio, and on television. I have sent nearly all of my graduate and some undergraduate students, as well as many students from other universities, for research stays abroad. I have organized workshops and conferences in Europe and South America in which numerous U.S. students participated.
My wife of nearly 40 years jokes that I have only one virtue, and she cannot remember what it is. Perhaps it is my enthusiasm for chemistry, both in teaching and research. I am proud of all of the listings in my vita but especially of the international aspects of my work and of my quarter-century service to ACS as an editor of Chemical Reviews, the highest impact-factor journal in chemistry. ACS publications are the society's crown jewel and open access to them needs to be ensured in a fiscally responsible way.
ACS has done well in the past and will do well in the future if we adapt efficiently to the changing world. The president must listen to and support the membership as we actively address the challenges of our time, in cost-effective programs, both member related and outward directed. Maintaining healthy local sections is particularly important. I welcome your support and ask for your vote. Please visit http://michlforacspresident.colorado.edu.
The mission of the American Chemical Society is "to advance the profession of chemistry and the careers of its practitioners." With this charter in mind, I plan to focus on the following priorities if elected to the board of directors:
American Competitiveness and Innovation. The new millennium began as the second "American Century." I am concerned that it will not end that way. Action must be taken now to ensure that the innovative, entrepreneurial drivers of science and technology continue to flourish in the face of global challenges. The chemical enterprise is a critical component of innovation and competitiveness, offering ACS a central leadership role in deployment of these resources. The science gap of the Sputnik era has been replaced by a "quiet crisis" of education, workforce, and, yes, ambition shortfalls. The century clock is ticking and progress is unacceptably slow.
Industrial Membership Issues. ACS must be more responsive to the turmoil that continues to engulf the industrial sector, impacting the majority of our membership. A host of mergers and acquisitions, downsizings, reorganizations, outsourcing, offshoring, and other realities have made job security the number one issue. The contract of lifetime employment has been forever broken; we need to ensure that it is replaced by lifetime employability. ACS must take the lead in providing solutions for retraining, networking, outplacement services, continuing education, portable pensions, and other services designed for total career management for all members.
Science and Math Education. The U.S. ranks very low among comparator countries in science and math competencies. Our educational system has long ignored the critical importance of science curricula in favor of less demanding alternatives. The economic superpowers of the future will boast an ambitious, energetic, and highly skilled technical workforce and populace. ACS must continue to play a leadership role in all aspects of science education, from K–12 through undergraduate and graduate programs. Competitive innovation can only arise from a foundation of knowledge.
Open Innovation: Academic/Industrial Collaborations. Although highly beneficial to all, these potentially rewarding activities usually fail to be implemented. ACS needs to take an enhanced leadership role with key members of academia and industry to ensure that such collaborations are enabled. Barriers such as ownership of patents and publications must be overcome and new models developed to reward successful collaborators.
Federal R&D Funding. The government funding of R&D is critical, and the five-year doubling of the National Institutes of Health budget is an excellent example of a significant impact upon basic research in the health sciences. We must ensure that this level of support flows into the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, and other agencies where basic research in the chemical and physical sciences creates advances beyond medicinal applications. My many interactions with academic faculty over the years have deepened my understanding of the critical importance of R&D funding and the disastrous effects of budget cuts. Our efforts in government affairs, sponsorship of ACS fellows, and frequent congressional visits will continue to establish this as a top priority in the face of increasing budget pressures and misaligned agendas.
Science and Government Policy. Unfortunately, scientific expertise in Congress and the executive branch is woefully inadequate. As the largest professional society, unallied with any trade groups, ACS has substantial credibility in bringing perspective to science-based policy issues. ACS must be perceived and used by government officials as a major resource regarding complex scientific issues to ensure no policy is enacted based on bad science.
Environmental Stewardship. Building upon the green chemistry initiative, ACS must encourage R&D focused on protection and remediation of the environment. The chemical sciences need to demonstrate effective leadership in this arena to counter the negative perception of chemistry's environmental impacts and to bring the full capability of our science to bear on these critical 21st-century challenges.
Throughout my career, I have accepted academic invitations to chemistry departments, giving seminars and meeting with faculty and students. I have consulted for and worked with start-up companies and appreciate the entrepreneurial challenges they face. I have chaired the Organic Division Executive Committee and the Committee on Chemistry & Public Affairs. I believe that my 36 years of experience leading large R&D groups in industry, enjoying adjunct professorships, and contributing to many ACS activities have provided the management and leadership skills that are critical to meeting the challenges outlined above. Thank you.
I feel very fortunate to have been an active ACS volunteer at the local, regional, and national levels for the past 15 years, as well as serving as a councilor representing the North Jersey Section for the past 11 years. From cochairing the very successful 2005 Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting (MARM), chairing the North Jersey Section and the section's Organic Topical Group to serving nationally on both Divisional Activities (DAC) and Local Section Activities (LSAC) Committees, I have come to realize that ACS can make a difference. As the largest professional society in the world, ACS has a responsibility to serve the society at large, our local communities, our members, our nation, and our profession. I am now asking for your vote so that I may continue my service by representing you as District III director.
If elected, I will focus on several aspects:
Employment. Although we can be proud of the services that ACS provides to its members, the current global employment environment for chemists requires more diligence in addressing members' needs. We must provide more career management workshops at all meeting levels and make them available on the Internet. We must reach out to undergraduate and graduate students to provide them with the tools they will need as they enter an ever-changing workforce. More members and students need to know that ACS meetings at the national, regional, and local level are excellent venues for networking and learning about job opportunities.
Public Image of Chemistry. The public image of chemistry needs improvement. To the lay public, the word "chemistry" often conjures up negative images. Average people do not understand or appreciate the role chemistry plays in their daily lives and the tremendous contributions that chemists have made and are making to improve their lives. As a volunteer in National Chemistry Week efforts for 15 years, I know that ACS can make a difference. I will work hard to expand ACS efforts to educate the public and our legislators on the importance of chemistry, chemists, and the need for supporting science education.
Multidisciplinarity. Chemistry is, indeed, at the "crossroads of science." This was the theme of the very successful Middle Atlantic Regional meeting that I cochaired in 2005. At the national level, ACS has already taken steps to incorporate multidisciplinarity in its programming. We must make sure that ACS provides accessible and competitive multidisciplinary programming not only at the national level but also at regional and local meetings. For individuals who cannot attend meetings, efforts should be made to have the programs accessible electronically. We must also expand access to multidisciplinary interactive meetings and online courses. Graduate students need encouragement to become involved in research efforts involving individuals from multiple disciplines.
Globalization. Globalization of the chemical enterprise has changed the way we work in industry and has affected employment in the U.S. It is the wave of the future. To address the challenges of globalization, ACS must provide data, information on job openings in other countries, and advice to its members so that they can make informed career choices. ACS must find ways to take advantage of globalization and encourage our members to do the same. ACS should also be open to working with other professional societies, both in the U.S. and worldwide, to provide programming and opportunities for its members.
Education. The chemical profession is dependent upon a continuous influx of highly educated students to fill the ever-increasing demand for chemistry professionals. ACS must continue to improve its programs to attract students to chemistry and the sciences at an early age. I will work to support the K–12 teachers who must have the necessary educational tools to encourage students to enter the field of chemistry and the sciences.
So why should you vote for me? I am passionate about ACS as well as the chemical industry and chemistry education. I have been a dedicated ACS volunteer at the local, regional, and national level for 15 years and have a proven track record in leadership positions within ACS. The North Jersey Section was awarded the ChemLuminary Outstanding Performance Award for the year that I chaired the section, and more than 2,000 people attended the Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting that I cochaired in 2005. I offer my candidacy to you as a dedicated, energetic, and diversely experienced member who will continue to work hard to ensure that ACS functions at the highest level and serves its members well.
Why am I running?
Three years ago, I asked for your vote for director of District VI. In my statement, I outlined areas where I believed positive change was needed. To be accountable to you, this statement addresses the same areas and provides a brief update of what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done. I have greatly appreciated the opportunities I've had on the board, especially the chance to meet and work with so many amazing volunteers. Work is still needed in many areas, and I have the energy and passion to continue.
Transparency. The board must play a fundamental role in continuing to push for openness, ensure that decisions include appropriate input, and respond to member needs. As a board member, I have reported to and sought input at all Western District Councilor Caucuses and at all regional meetings in the district. Your input is a valuable voice in directing the society, and I am grateful to members who have posed questions, given critiques, or offered suggestions. I believe the board should be accessible and open in communications.
Financial responsibility. This is always a primary function of the board but is particularly critical in difficult economic times. There is not space here to discuss all of the financial challenges currently facing ACS, but please know that in my service on the Committee on Budget & Finance (currently as vice chair), I work to put members' needs first, ensure the financial well-being of the society, and seek to cut needless expenses. To that end, I pledge to question expenses incurred for consultants to ensure they are necessary and appropriate.
Efficiency/Quickness. Thanks to diligent efforts by many members on the Governance Review Task Force and in a committee structure summit, substantive recommendations have been made for clarifying responsibilities, simplifying governing documents, and addressing redundancies. I am pleased that the board is simplifying its own committee structure. We still have a way to go to remove bureaucratic frustrations for our volunteers; I would welcome the opportunity to continue this work.
Communication. I have met with members at national meetings and at all of the regional meetings held in our district during my term, and I participated in leadership conferences and local section, regional meeting, and committee structure summits. As chair of the Board Committee on Public Affairs & Public Relations (PA&PR), I have worked to increase communication with other committees with responsibilities in similar areas through committee breakfasts, shared meetings, and other communications I have also chaired the Board Oversight Committee for the communications strategic plan. It is critical that we improve our communications, particularly our use of electronic communications.
Outreach/Education. I have particular passion for these areas—chemistry advocacy in public policy, support for education, and outreach to the public. My responsibilities with PA&PR have given me the chance to contribute, for example, by establishing and prioritizing ACS policy statements (C&EN, Dec. 10, 2007, page 38) and working with the Office of Legislative & Government Affairs to support our legislative outreach. I am excited that we have established a pilot program to expand our advocacy programs at the state level, focusing on science education support.
I have continued working in public outreach and education, including participation in National Chemistry Week events, continuing support of a chemistry workshop for teachers (now in its 12th year), and teaching student interview workshops at several universities. I took particular delight in coorganizing "Chemists in the Community," a project at the ACS national meeting in San Francisco in which board members joined with other member volunteers in service projects, providing not only a positive image to the public but also giving us a chance to interact and get to know each other while working for a worthy cause.
Summary. I consider it a great honor to be director of District VI and thank you for the opportunity to serve this extraordinary district. I've worked hard on the board, and in doing so have called on all of my previous experience, both academic and industrial, and in particular my experience in organizing projects and managing budgets. The best part of this job is interacting with members to hear their concerns and ideas and being able to take action in response. I continue to marvel at the energy and dedication of our volunteers in local sections, divisions, and governance. I would welcome the opportunity to continue working with you to improve our society and to bring to every decision the perspective that ACS is the members. I ask for your vote to continue my efforts.
I am honored to be selected to run for District VI director. I believe my varied experiences in American Chemical Society activities and offices, in education, and in administration qualify me to participate in this important governance of our society, should you choose me as your director.
We chemists all know the centrality of chemistry to the lives of this country's citizens, its businesses, and its economy. We understand chemistry's importance in improving lives worldwide—by creating new materials and products that enhance our lives and by tackling and solving global problems of energy, food, safe water, health, and myriad other issues. And it is important that the general populace be aware of the importance of chemistry in their lives. ACS, representing over 160,000 members, has many excellent programs, committees, and task forces to educate and influence decisionmakers in the wise use of our national resources to ensure the continued leadership of the U.S. in science and technology.
ACS President Bruce Bursten has wisely identified communication and education as priorities of his presidency in order to convey our message of the importance of chemistry and to make sure we have the future scientific talent to keep the U.S. strong. I applaud President Bursten's emphasis and would welcome the opportunity to apply my experience to these goals.
What else can we emphasize? How do we strengthen the already good ACS programs and benefit the ACS membership? One of my interests is in strengthening international ties. For example, I recently arranged a workshop of U.S. and Thai analytical scientists to help establish collaborations and student and faculty exchanges in broad areas of biosciences, neurosciences, bioinformatics, and nanoscience (Anal. Chem. 2007, 79, 794 (PDF)). Given the global nature of the issues facing us, we can do more to take advantage of worldwide expertise, to give our students exposure to other cultures, and to establish academic and industrial ties with international colleagues in advancing chemistry for the good of all. Utilizing my experience in this area, I would engage our district members in a dialogue on how to strengthen such beneficial ties and on how to identify additional ACS issues judged most important to the district members.
ACS can play an increased role in encouraging K–12 students to become engaged in chemistry, to understand its role in their daily lives, and to consider chemistry as a career. Local sections can have a tremendous impact by interacting with and supporting their local schoolteachers, and this should be a priority for ACS. I will focus on developing improved methods for implementing these goals to draw more students into chemistry.
Advances in basic and applied research that will provide answers to the world's challenging problems are dependent on the creativity of individuals. Although it is important to have interdisciplinary, collaborative, and focused areas of funded research in which chemists play a key role, we must also encourage and not forget the entrepreneurship of the individual investigator. I believe ACS should advocate apportioning sufficient funds from agency budgets to creative individual investigators to ensure that basic chemistry as a discipline remains central and strong.
The ACS Vision Statement is, "Improving people's lives through the transforming power of chemistry." We can, with continued effort by ACS and its members, ensure a bright future, a strengthened economy, international cooperation, and a better life.
The future of the American Chemical Society depends upon innovation and leadership related to science, the people of science, and advocacy for both. I hope to use my enthusiasm and continuing commitment to ACS to advance these three areas during a term as director-at-large.
SCIENCE. Our founders knew—and surveyed members still report—that chemists value the society first as a source of scientific information. They know and appreciate that ACS produces the highest quality journals, the best tools for searching the literature, and robust regional and national meetings.
The way scientific information is gathered, published, indexed, distributed, and paid for is changing, and more challenges are ahead. ACS is a huge source of scientific content that, in the future, can and will be delivered in new ways beyond traditional journals and meetings.
As a board member, I will have no higher priority than to maintain our commitment to excellence in organizing and communicating science by all these means. If we manage the enterprise well, we can innovate and thrive no matter what new models become the standard.
PEOPLE. ACS was founded not just to archive written information but also to provide a forum for scientists to share their work person-to-person. In the next decade, members will come to rely on the society's strength as an expanding network, connecting scientists in the U.S. and in other countries. We will help each other make discoveries and advance careers. We will meet, value, and have dialogue with diverse, interesting peers, as we always have. And through technology we will do it differently, more broadly, and better.
By extending each chemist's personal reach, connectivity has the potential to become the value proposition for tomorrow's professional society, whether ACS or any other. As a board member, I will foster and promote the new Member Network and the development of other tools and initiatives that help us identify, meet, and collaborate more closely with those who share our passion for chemistry here and around the world.
Awards honor the greatest among us. Society membership and the opportunities afforded by our network help us develop the greatness in each of us.
ADVOCACY. Each ACS member—on the board or otherwise—has a most important duty: to advocate for the future of chemists, chemistry, and science. We most often think of advocacy in terms of speaking to legislators about important issues, especially through the ACS Legislative Action Network. However, there are more common and equally important opportunities for each of us.
Consider the times when we excite middle school students about the benefits of science and careers that bring those benefits to society, or when we clarify complex technical policy issues for our neighbors who vote, or when we stand as candidates for public office (and we do this far too seldom). In each of these cases, we advocate for science; more importantly, we enable a better tomorrow. Each of us can elevate the visibility and perception of chemistry and in so doing, elevate the visibility and perception of chemists, as well. And if not us, who?
As a board member, I will continue to advocate for science and scientists, and I will enable and encourage others to do so, as well.
LEADERSHIP. People say, and I agree: You can tell what people value not by what they say but by how they invest their time. I value science, people, and advocacy. Over the past seven years, I have participated at ACS events in more than 100 local sections. I have spoken to nearly as many high school classes and student affiliate chapters. I have met and corresponded with thousands of ACS members, government officials, and members of the general public. My fondest memories are of the dialogue and the people.
Leadership as one voice on a 16-member board is quite different from leadership as an officer with a title. It requires the skill to listen, to formulate proposals, to find consensus, and to commit to moving the organization beyond one's own ideas. I believe my experience on panels of diverse stakeholders for the United Nations, various states, and even ACS has taught me the importance of diplomacy, respect, and collaboration, which I will bring to the board. Governance is a team sport.
And to that end, I ask for your support. In return, I promise you the energy, the care, the vision, and the good humor you have come to expect. Thank you for your consideration.
It is a great honor to be able to stand for election to the American Chemical Society Board of Directors as director-at-large. The rather unique role of the director-at-large comes about because only councilors vote to select two individuals each year to serve on the board for three-year terms. Those elected must not only represent the voting constituency of councilors, but they must also represent the "membership at large" in their decision-making and leadership because of the broad implications of the board's actions for all segments of the society.
I feel that my governance and professional experience, as well as my deep commitment to the goals and vision of ACS, qualify me to serve with vigor and imagination to help the society meet the challenges of managing such a complex organization. My experience includes 21 years as a councilor from Orange County, Calif.; two terms each on three committees—Publications, Committee on Committees (one year as chair), and Nominations & Elections—regional meeting chair (twice); local section chair; and participation in local, regional, and national activities. I have been active in research and education, including international programs at the university level, and I have worked in the chemical industry as a consultant for many years. As an active member working on ACS programs and issues over the years, I have developed an appreciation of the society's great value to its members and to society in general.
I am ready to contribute even more to the society by being a director-at-large so I can bring new ideas, along with my experience, to work on the challenges and opportunities that face ACS in a rapidly changing world. Of high priority to me are maintaining the continued financial health of the society; ensuring member participation and involvement at national, regional, and local levels; supporting educational efforts and outreach programs to enhance scientific achievement; providing strong career-enhancing experiences for our members; encouraging more support for research programs in industry and academia; maintaining preeminence in the field of scientific information and publications; and recognizing the importance of international collaborations in a global economy.
Not having served on the board before, I do not propose an agenda of specific actions, but I will work hard to research issues by evaluating information from many sources and utilizing my experience and judgment to do what I feel is best for ACS and its membership. Thank you for taking time to read this statement, and I hope that you will support me for director-at-large.
I welcome this opportunity to present my administrative credentials and to describe what I would try to accomplish if elected director-at-large.
Past service. Standard American Chemical Society biographical sketches indicate what we were elected to do; they usually don't describe what we have accomplished. Let me add a few details to mine. As chair of the Council Committee on Meetings & Expositions, I led the effort to eliminate the chronic operating deficits of national meetings. Through cost controls and revenue-generating measures approved by council, the finances for national meetings and expositions are now on an even keel.
During my time on the Committee on Nominations & Elections, I chaired the Task Force on Election Procedures and presented to council constitution and bylaw changes that give ACS members the option of casting their ballots electronically in national, divisional, and local section elections. I'm pleased that those changes were adopted and that the national balloting process has run smoothly ever since. Now most of the votes in national elections are cast electronically.
As the vice chair of the Council Policy Committee (CPC) and the chair of its Long-Range Planning Subcommittee, I have led the effort to engage more councilors and ACS members in implementing the 2008 Strategic Plan. The table at the Philadelphia council meeting with the "Think Strategically" banner illustrates CPC's effort to tap the experience and wisdom of fellow councilors in moving our strategic agenda forward and making ACS more responsive to our members' needs and more valuable to all chemical scientists.
Membership services. Members of council and the board of directors know about the spectrum of services available to all ACS members. Most members do not. If elected, I would expand the membership network that went live Aug. 1 of this year to include communications from sections, divisions, and national ACS based on members' individual professional profiles. These messages might update members on recent publications in their research areas that have just been published in ACS journals; notify them of presentations of interest at upcoming national, divisional, or regional meetings; warn them of pending abstract submission deadlines for their divisions; or gently remind them they have not yet voted in a current election. I'm sure that many other ideas will evolve from the members themselves as their participation in the new network grows.
Education and public outreach. As the world's largest professional scientific society, ACS is well positioned to reach out to the American public about the importance of chemistry to their lives. Indeed, ACS already has many successful outreach programs, such as National Chemistry Week. Still, these efforts will have only limited impact as long as a majority of the public knows so little about science that they, for example, cannot distinguish between astronomy and astrology. ACS should join with AAAS and sister scientific societies in a vigorous frontal assault on science illiteracy in America. Only when the general public understands the process of science and appreciates its transformational power can they understand the central role that chemistry plays in remarkable advances in the biological and physical sciences.
Education and the workforce. If the American chemical enterprise is to grow and prosper, more bright American students need to be turned on to science and chemistry. ACS should play a key role in making that happen. An important way of accomplishing this is to help teachers present the wonders of scientific discovery to their students, and to give them the tools to teach science by doing science. Bright students need to experience the dynamism of science and so gain an appreciation of how we scientists know what we know, not just what we know. ACS used this approach to learning when it developed several excellent textbooks for high school and general chemistry. Now ACS should be the catalyst for implementing guided-inquiry learning in upper level elementary and middle school science courses and rigorous college-prep high school chemistry courses. These courses would be content rich while sharing the sense of discovery and investigation that scientists find so rewarding.
CATALYST FOR POSITIVE CHANGE
I am honored to run for re-election as director-at-large. After serving on the ACS Board for two years, my passion is stronger than ever to continue to do my best to serve our members and profession.
Global competition, underemployment, eroding science and engineering enrollment, multidisciplinarity issues, and public misperceptions continue as challenges. ACS certainly cannot overcome these challenges alone. Together, as a society and as individual members, with strategic partners, we must tackle such challenges with fresh ideas. I have the courage and commitment to serve as a much needed catalyst for positive change.
Diversity. For over 30 years, I have forged partnerships between industry, education, government, and the community. I gained technical, managerial, and entrepreneurial experience working at a large chemical company, a small company, and at start-ups. Coming from a family of professors, I appreciate the concerns of academia. I understand, respect, and value diversity of all kinds. My multicultural background, diverse experiences, and extensive world travels equip me well to help ACS value the benefits of diversity.
Change Agent. I have always had a desire to be a catalyst for positive change. I founded Science is Fun! to engage young children in the excitement of science. I actively work in public outreach to increase public awareness and improve science education for K–12 and beyond. My ACS Comment (C&EN, June 7, 2004, page 40) on "How Should ACS Treat Global Outsourcing?" highlights the need for ACS to adapt. As ACS councilor and chair at local and national levels, I have always advocated collaboration between local sections, divisions, and other organizations.
Extensive ACS Experience. An ACS member for 38 years, I have made it a priority to contribute at local, regional, and national levels. I am "Proud to be a Chemist." For details, visit http://marindawu.googlepages.com.
Support Lifelong Career and Professional Development. Audiences for the ACS Career Workshops I have presented for years at national, regional, and local meetings are increasingly gray-haired. Downsizings and layoffs continue. Our members must be prepared because there is little job security today. I advocate developing innovative ways to better equip members for today's global work environment.
Members are living longer and continuing to work in the same or different careers. I believe in lifelong learning and development. Whether for recent graduates or retirees, ACS must continually support our members' professional growth.
Improve Science Literacy and Education. To improve public perception of chemistry and maintain competitiveness in innovation, I work tirelessly to increase awareness among legislators and the general public of the importance of science literacy and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. I support increased public outreach, such as science cafés, to connect the general public with scientists. Our local section science cafés attract positive interest from both the public and the media.
This spring, I visited Capitol Hill twice: First I traveled with ACS teams, joining sister societies in SETWG (Science-Engineering-Technology Work Group) to advocate funding science and later with the ACS Board for the Legislative Summit. As local Government Affairs Committee chair, I collaborate with other GACs in our state government affairs advocacy pilot. I recently met Congressman George Miller, chair of the House Committee on Education & Labor, and led a team of scientists to discuss STEM education and related issues with his district director. Visit www.act4chemistry.org/ca.
I encourage more members to join LAN (Legislative Action Network) and local section GACs. Our collective effort to increase funding for research and education is critical to driving our economy and maintaining global competitiveness.
Collaborate on Global Challenges. My ACS Comment this year (C&EN, Feb. 18, page 41) on "Global Collaboration and Challenges" describes successful first steps toward collaboration with major universities in China. I was privileged to represent ACS when a Chinese delegation visited the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University as part of their U.S. tour. As the first Asian-American elected to the ACS Board, I have worked to make connections and hope to help ACS in its international endeavors. Exciting possibilities lie ahead for collaborations to address global challenges.
Enhance Effectiveness of Board and Council. Directors-at-large serve as vital links between council and the board. Communication and collaboration are essential. I welcome input and will do my best to represent diverse member interests. Fiscal responsibility, increased efficiency, and prudent actions are my goals.
MY PLEDGE TO YOU
I have the experience, capability, and determination to help ACS achieve our vision for the future. If re-elected, I pledge to work with you, continue to speak up for our members' interests, and act as a catalyst for positive change.
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