Issue Date: September 7, 2009
For District V Director: Judith L. Benham
Judith L. Benham
Minnesota Section. 3M Co., St. Paul, Minn. (retired)
Academic record: University of Rochester, B.A., 1969; University of Wisconsin, Madison, Ph.D., 1976
Honors: ACS Division of Polymer Chemistry Special Service Award, 1990; Business Month, "Managers: 100 Women to Watch in Corporate America," April 1989; Sigma Xi; Bausch & Lomb Science Scholarship, University of Rochester, 1965–69
Professional positions (for past 10 years): Retired, 2003 to date; 3M Co., Industrial Services & Solutions . . .
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CHALLENGE AND OPPORTUNITY
I am privileged to have served you on the ACS Board of Directors, as both a member and chair of the board, and am honored to have the opportunity to continue. ACS is an outstanding professional society, deriving its strengths from extraordinary volunteer members. We are facing change—economic, political, technological, environmental, and social—on an unprecedented global scale, providing challenge and opportunity. As the world's largest scientific society, we must lead change to benefit our members, our profession, and overall society. If I were reelected to the ACS Board, my energies would be devoted to four key areas: implementing the ACS Strategic Plan, the public image of chemistry, society finances, and communication.
Implementing the ACS Strategic Plan is our top opportunity. We have, with your input, created a vibrant "ACS Strategic Plan for 2009 and Beyond." The next few years are pivotal, and we must work together to achieve our plan and transform our society for the future.
- National competitiveness and innovation govern the future strength of the U.S. economy and employment health for our profession. ACS must sponsor creativity and collaboration across the chemical enterprise. We must support expanded funding of basic and applied research to address areas such as energy policy, human health, and environmental sustainability. Success will lead to commercial growth, which will provide stronger scientific employment.
- Education must address science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competitiveness. At all levels (K–12, postsecondary), we must ensure that students appreciate chemistry's importance to society. We must engage students in STEM education. K–12 must provide a foundation to pursue scientific careers. Postsecondary education must develop core skills to practice evolving sciences. We must increase dialogues between industry and academia to ensure that we are providing education that meets the needs of students and employers. ACS must take prominent and public leadership in these efforts.
- Multidisciplinarity in science research is expanding, creating exciting opportunities that can be applied to address global challenges. ACS must provide leadership in programming, enhanced interactions with other professional societies, and new initiatives to support the scientific community. Through our focus on sustainability—in areas such as energy, food, water, and health—we can influence constructive change.
- Local sections and divisions are the foundation of ACS, with their volunteer membership an indispensable asset to the society. They provide technical programming, education, outreach, and interactions with communities, schools, and governments. These two groups must receive financial and operational support to foster collaboration and to allow each local section and division to develop and manage creative initiatives to expand impact.
The public image of chemistry must be strengthened. We must promote visibility of the chemical sciences, emphasizing the connection of basic and applied research in outcomes that improve our quality of life. We must create positive change at national, state, and local levels, building legislative impact through advocacy. We seek your support and participation with the ACS Legislative Action Network and Office of Public Affairs to influence needed change.
Financial sustainability is essential to our future success. The ACS Board and management are carefully managing expenses and seeking savings to preserve resources for key initiatives. The Program Review Advisory Group assesses the value and impact of society programs, ensuring that resources are used wisely to fulfill ACS's vision, mission, and goals. The Budget & Finance Committee monitors new program funding requests to recommend investments with strong benefit to ACS members for board approval.
Chemical Abstracts Service and the Publications Division—our revenue engines—are operating very efficiently in highly competitive market conditions. However, society programs are overly dependent on their financial contributions. ACS has identified growth opportunities to diversify our revenue portfolio, and we must encourage new initiatives to preserve our future financial strength while maintaining our focus on a balanced budget.
Communication is the enabling force for ACS. Our revenues, services, and membership revolve around information exchange and shared experiences. We must expand communication to reach all of our constituents; to build expanded relationships within ACS; and to foster interactions among ACS, other societies, and external organizations. Our strategic focus on Internet connectivity is vital and enables our international outreach.
TOGETHER WE BUILD THE FUTURE
My experiences—as a chemist, in technical/business management, and as a participant in ACS at local, divisional, and national levels—provide a basis for my contributions and allow me to represent your interests as we work together to build the future of ACS. I offer my commitment to serve and strengthen ACS and would be honored to receive your continued support for the position of director for District V.
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