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Comment: Advancing the ACS Strategic Plan

by Will Lynch, Chair, ACS Committee on Strategic Planning
June 24, 2024 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 102, Issue 19


Will Lynch.
Credit: Courtesy of Will Lynch
Will Lynch

When I look at the calendar, I am reminded that we are days away from the start of July, which marks the midpoint of the year. As chair of the American Chemical Society’s Committee on Strategic Planning, I’m approaching this milestone with an eye for all ACS has accomplished toward realizing its strategic plan. This year is particularly important as we are evaluating the current ACS Strategic Plan and determining what changes, if any, are needed to guide the organization for the future. This review represents the fifth year of the 5-year planning cycle we follow to ensure that ACS continues to provide excellent service to its membership.

The ACS Strategic Plan focuses on five goals: providing information solutions, empowering members and member communities, supporting excellence in education, communicating the value of chemistry, and embracing and advancing inclusivity in chemistry. These goals are important, and we are working hard to advance them. Let me share a few of the accomplishments that come to mind as I reflect on these areas.

Toward providing information solutions, CAS announced its expansion into the life sciences and the commercially released CAS BioFinder Discovery Platform. Through these efforts, CAS is providing expanded data and knowledge management capabilities for those working in life sciences to help accelerate their innovation workflows. Last year, to enhance the publication experience for researchers, ACS acquired ChronosHub—an open-access management platform—as an independent subsidiary. Together with ChronosHub, the ACS Publications Division is developing a new state-of-the-art, open-access publishing experience that will simplify the scientific publishing environment.

ACS is also working to empower its members and member communities. We ended 2023 with more than 200,000 individuals from 177 countries in our global membership community. Our community includes more than 200 US local sections and international chemical sciences chapters. The board will also welcome its first international member in 2025—all part of expanding the global reach of ACS. Efforts continue toward ensuring our membership community remains supported with resources, training, and networking opportunities.

Our progress, however, comes only through the work and insights of you, our members.

ACS Spring and Fall meetings are important events that bring our membership community together. The most recent gathering in New Orleans brought together more than 14,300 attendees from 77 countries. The meeting marked the introduction of the Global Virtual Symposia to support scientists and early career researchers from around the world. I am looking forward to ACS Fall 2024 for even more programming enhancements.

ACS also works to bring scientists together on specific issues. The 2nd Annual ACS Sustainability Summit is one such example. The hybrid gathering held this past December in collaboration with Beyond Benign brought together more than 325 educators, industry leaders, and influencers to discuss how to incorporate green chemistry and sustainability concepts into curricula and expand educational opportunities for students and professionals.

The Society’s efforts to support education go beyond convening meetings. In 2023 and 2024, we released a revised set of guidelines that communicate and establish standards for training chemists in 2-year and bachelor’s degree programs. Thanks to the work of staff and governance committees, the 2023 ACS Guidelines for Bachelor’s Degree Programs reflects changes in the higher education landscape and introduces formal requirements regarding diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect and enhanced guidance in sustainability and safety—all foundational values of ACS. And the 2024 ACS Guidelines for Chemistry in Two-Year College Programs provides a comprehensive framework for reviewing chemistry programs, identifying areas of strength, and incorporating DEIR initiatives.

In April, ACS members and chemistry enthusiasts promoted and celebrated Chemists Celebrate Earth Week. This outreach event, which highlighted batteries this year, communicated the value of chemistry through various events and activities. It was great to see so many of our members sharing their love of chemistry and helping others appreciate how important chemistry is to their everyday lives.

Underpinning our efforts is a drive to advance inclusivity in chemistry. At the start of the year, we released an addition to the ACS Inclusivity Style Guide to help improve the accessibility of ACS products, programs, and services for all users. The expansion of the guide was made possible by a $30,000 donation from the Bath & Body Works Foundation.

These examples are just a few of the efforts that occur throughout the organization toward achieving our strategic goals. Our progress, however, comes only through the work and insights of you, our members. Thank you for your continued service and dedication to ACS.

As you also reflect on the work related to the ACS Strategic Plan, I welcome your input on how the plan has guided your own efforts and ways we can enhance the plan to provide even better direction. Insights can be sent to me at This input will be an important part of our assessment of the current plan. Together, we can ensure that we develop the right strategic goals to carry us into the future. I look forward to sharing an updated strategic plan with you once it’s complete!

Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of C&EN or ACS.


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