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Division memberships add value to your ACS membership

by James M. Takacs, chair, ACS Committee on Divisional Activities
April 30, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 16


Photo of James M. Takacs.
Credit: Univeristy of Nebraska–Lincoln
James M. Takacs

The mission of the American Chemical Society’s Committee on Divisional Activities (DAC) is to provide guidance, support, and resources to enable the 32 ACS technical divisions to accomplish their goals. As the 2021 chair of DAC, I marvel at the creative ways each division serves its members. The outstanding technical programing at the recent ACS Spring 2021 meeting is but one example, and an especially important one. You have to appreciate the countless hours of planning—and replanning—involving multiple divisions that went into developing programming around the pandemic-delayed theme, “Macromolecular Chemistry: The Second Century.” Congratulations and heartfelt thanks to the participating divisions and the Multidisciplinary Program Planning Group.

Outstanding technical programming at regional, national, and international meetings is the aspect of division activities that is perhaps most visible to ACS members and the primary reason why many society members join one or multiple divisions. Many meeting attendees also indicate that networking opportunities are among the main reasons they participate in ACS meetings. Perhaps you noticed that divisions provided a host of networking opportunities with global outreach at the ACS spring meeting. Indeed, all divisions participating in the meeting were supplied with accounts to run networking activities and have them listed in the meeting program. During the meeting, divisions held more than 260 networking events to supplement the technical program talks. These included coffee hours, happy hours, discussion rooms for technical sessions, panel discussions, question-and-answer sessions with division leaders, a “Let’s Talk” series, career advice, student-oriented networking, poster sessions, and short talks known as lightning talks. In fact, as I write this piece during the meeting, I am listening to a terrific band playing live virtual music while I chat online with a large group of participants at a Music and Mixology networking session hosted by one of the divisions. It was amazing to see the energy and commitment of the division leaders who ran these networking sessions.

Election to one of the division officer positions is one important way that divisions provide an opportunity to develop leadership skills.

Networking and professional development opportunities are not limited to the meetings. Over the past year, divisions were offered, and many accepted, a free ACS Zoom account for division networking activities. Many divisions now regularly provide free access to virtual seminars and online symposia for their members, run active social media platforms, or hold virtual happy hours to support interactions among their global membership. Divisions also afford other opportunities for professional development. Election to one of the division officer positions is one important way that divisions provide an opportunity to develop leadership skills. Perhaps less obvious to some are the opportunities that divisions offer volunteers to impact the scientific community. Their service on a division committee might, for example, focus on education or outreach.

The 32 divisions provide comprehensive coverage of the chemistry discipline. And some divisions offer members opportunities to join subdivisions that focus on important topical areas, such as archaeological chemistry, astrochemistry, bioinorganic chemistry, biophysical chemistry, biotechnology, cannabis chemistry, flavor chemistry, food safety, green chemistry and engineering, nanoscience, soil chemistry, organometallic chemistry, solid-state chemistry, and sustainable energy. Other subdivision engagement opportunities focus on member interest groups, such as chemists with disabilities, LGBTQ+ chemists, chemists of color, women chemists, and younger chemists.

For those who belong to one or multiple divisions, in what ways does your division membership add value to your society membership? Your division officers and DAC want to know. Your creative ideas are needed too. The DAC Innovative Project Grant (IPG) program funds innovative ideas that arise from divisions and that are intended to enhance their members’ experience. Perhaps you have ideas on how your division can further the goals of diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect; better integrate interactions with another division working toward a common goal; better serve unmet needs of your division’s industrial or student members; or help achieve sustainability goals. Now is the time to suggest your ideas for an IPG application to your division leadership. The next deadline for IPG applications is July 15.

Division annual dues are modest, averaging around $20 per year. Your membership in a division can add much value to and enhance your experience as an ACS member. If you are not a member of at least one ACS division, please consider getting involved today. With our 32 divisions, many with specialty subdivisions, ACS has a community for everyone.

Divisions are ready to help you find the best fit for your interests. Please check out the division website pages at, or email

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



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